Bringing the Outside in with GroundPDX
We have a wonderful guest blogger for this piece. Recently, we asked Pacific Yurt owner Mitch Bacon to share the story of how he came to learn about us, and how his yurt has impacted his life, and the life of others. We hope you enjoy reading his story!
Pacific Yurts & GroundPDX
A little over two years ago I moved my mental health therapy practice from a hip, urban office into a Pacific Yurt and named it GroundPDX. I’m a former wilderness therapy guide who spent years in Idaho teaching “troubled teens” how to make fires out of sticks to become more in touch with who they were. Using nature in the therapeutic work proved to be a powerful tool and one that has shaped my career.
Fast forward 5 years after my last days as a nomadic field guide, I had moved to Portland Oregon to go to graduate school and study ecopsychology. After graduation, despite my roots in nature based therapy, I tried to conform to the standard way of doing therapy: get an office, a couch, and have people come in to talk about their feelings. It didn’t take long to realize that was not going to work for me. So, I started my path of trying to find a way to create a nature inspired therapy practice within a city.
Office Setting in Nature
“Where do urban and nature exist together?” was the concept that wove through my journey of how to pull off what I was craving. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to have an office in a garden. Gardens feel like small oases that survive within the city. The only problem now for me was how to get an office into a garden.
During my time working in Idaho, our program had several yurts spread across the land that we used along our treks. It was also the first time I was introduced to the soothing qualities a yurt had to offer inside of their space. Over the subsequent years of backcountry skiing yurt trips and jaunts to the Oregon coast, I increasingly became fonder of these simple, functional shelters. The “aha moment” for getting an office to the garden came when it occurred that a yurt would be the ideal fit.
Thus, started the “Mitch Bacon TherapYurt, not a Portlandia episode” crowdfund campaign to help transform my practice into a yurt. My mission was to create a service that expanded the way mental health is provided. I wanted to get my clients (and me!) out of the traditional box office and into a place that felt safe, inviting, and healing, while also a touch closer to nature. But I also wanted the office to be tasteful, stylish, and an embodiment of an urban/nature coexistence. The yurt has been perfect for this cause.
The Final Product
Two and a half years later, my practice is thriving and I continually have clients who are struck by the beauty of the space within the yurt as they first walk in. Hearing the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and seeing the trees above through the dome are just a few of the unique benefits that the yurt offers.
Pacific Yurts has been integral in helping me pull off this ambitious project. Whether it was at the beginning when I would call almost daily to ask different questions as I was figuring out which yurt was for me, to the first winter when I need help troubleshooting how to keep it warm enough inside, they have been phenomenal.
Mitch Bacon, MA, LMFT