Episode 114: The Therapeutic Power of Hiking for Therapists with Dr. Dawn Brukenhoefer


Welcome to the Soul Care for Therapist podcast, a space for mental health professionals seeking sustainability in their business and lifestyle. In today’s episode, we explore the unique practice of therapeutic hiking with Dr. Dawn Brukenhoefer. This blog post will delve into the transformative power of nature, the importance of self-care for therapists, and the profound impact of engaging in challenging experiences. Dr. Dawn Brunkenhoefer has taken her years of experience opening mental health facilities, running (and growing) her private practice along with her passion for helping others to create The Practice Class an innovative alternative for therapists seeking “out of the office” experiences in all things continuing education, training, resources and support.

Therapeutic Hiking: A Journey Overcoming Challenges

Therapeutic hiking is a powerful way to cultivate personal growth and healing. Dr. Dawn Brukenhoefer, a counselor educator and experienced hiking guide, understands how blending nature, physical challenges, and authentic human connection can transform lives. Through her hiking retreats, she offers therapists a chance to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the unknown as they embark on beautiful hiking trails in breathtaking destinations.

The Power of Retreats: Connecting Mind, Body, and Spirit

Retreats provide therapists with an opportunity to disconnect from everyday routines and reconnect with themselves on a deeper level. Dr. Brukenhoefer’s retreats and hiking tours offer a unique blend of physical exertion, introspection, and spiritual growth. By immersing ourselves in nature, we tap into a wellspring of divine beauty that facilitates self-reflection, connection, and personal transformation. Through hiking, we learn to let go of control, experience vulnerability, and overcome the challenges that life presents.

The Impact of Therapeutic Hiking on Mental Health Professionals

Therapeutic hiking retreats create a safe space for therapists to address their own needs and challenges. Dr. Brukenhoefer describes how therapists often struggle with compassion fatigue and the secondary trauma they carry. By engaging in hiking tours, therapists can unburden themselves, release stored emotions, and reconnect with the natural world. These retreats offer an environment that allows therapists to safely process their feelings and experiences while being supported by a community of like-minded individuals.

The Stages of Change and Grief in Therapeutic Hiking

Dr. Brukenhoefer highlights the stages of change and grief that therapists may experience during hiking retreats. The physical challenges of hiking mirror the emotional journey therapists undergo as they confront resistance, blame, and eventually learn to accept their own limitations. As therapists progress through these stages, they experience personal growth, self-compassion, and a sense of interdependence with their fellow hikers. By witnessing this transformative process, Dr. Brukenhoefer helps therapists recognize their inner strength and capabilities.

Applying the Lessons of Therapeutic Hiking to Life

The resilience, perseverance, and acceptance learned on the hiking trail can be applied to real-life challenges. By embracing the experience of hiking and the early stages of grief and change, therapists discover newfound inner strength to navigate personal hardships. In her own life, Dr. Brukenhoefer draws upon her hiking experiences to overcome obstacles, trust the process, and fully appreciate the power of pushing oneself to do hard things.


Dr. Dawn Brukenhoefer’s therapeutic hiking retreats offer mental health professionals an opportunity for personal growth, rejuvenation, and spiritual connection. Through immersive experiences in nature, therapists learn to embrace challenges, release emotional burdens, and find solace in the beauty of the outdoors. These transformative journeys pave the way for sustainable self-care practices, preventing burnout, and fostering a fulfilling life both personally and professionally.

Whether you embark on an intense hiking tour or join an easy retreat, the therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature are undeniable. Embracing the journey of therapeutic hiking allows therapists to heal the wounded healer within, find peace amidst life’s challenges, and cultivate the resilience needed to thrive in their profession.

If you’re a mental health professional seeking growth, healing, and authentic community, consider exploring therapeutic hiking as a profound outlet for self-discovery and self-care. Connect with Dr. Dawn Brukenhoefer at The Practice Class to learn more about upcoming retreats and hiking tours.

Website: www.thepracticeclass.com

Remember, you’re deserving of care and rejuvenation. Step out of the therapist matrix, connect with nature, and embrace the transformative power of therapeutic hiking. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

Links and Resources

  • Social Media Handles: @thepacticeclass
  • The Practice Class: Innovative counselor education trainings and retreats for therapists of all levels wanting more
  • Sacred Space Community Groups – with Dawn
  • Soul Care Retreats: Exclusively for therapists who want to recharge in a deep and fulfilling way. You will engage in your own spiritual journey, find some release from the work you do, as well as connect with other therapists all while enjoying the beauty of Colorado at a secluded and peaceful retreat center. Limited to 6-8 therapists.

Show Notes and Podcast Production by Course Creation Studio.