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Judith Crop discusses the role of nature in therapy

Photo Credit: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Psychotherapist Judith Crop offers a tour of the Hidden Lake Retreat grounds in Eagle Creek.When you think of psychotherapy, do you picture lying on a leather couch in a somber office while a Freud look-alike takes notes?

The psychotherapy offered by Judith Crop at the Hidden Lake Retreat of Eagle Creek is about as far away from that vision as you can get.

While there may be a couch or two, views of a partially frozen lake, trees and vines are visible from the room where Crop usually sees her clients.

Before coming to the Eagle Creek location, Crop had a private practice in Hillsboro for about 10 years.

Crop, along with Lauri Shainsky, a shamanic sound healer and reiki master, had wanted to find a place they could turn into a “healing bed and breakfast.”

Hidden Lake Retreat was perfect for their purposes.

Photo Credit: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Crop offers counseling sessions from her home in the Hidden Lake Retreat lodge.In 2005, the two renovated and expanded the original 1912 lodge and made it their home.

The property now has 12 beds for those who wish to come for healing retreats.

The guest rooms are elegantly furnished and have scenic views.

Crop and Shainsky prepare gourmet meals for healing retreat guests, specific to their dietary needs.

Upper Deep Creek feeds the lake on the property, and if you follow the creek down you’ll pass a fish ladder built in the 1940s.

Sometimes salmon gather in the pool below the ladder, and if a guest is very lucky, they may see a fish leap up the ladder.

On a tour around the retreat, Crop points to well-kept trails through the woods, a yurt, a studio and a lakeside cabin.

Photo Credit: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - The original lodge was built in 1912. Crop and shamanic healer and reiki master Lauri Shainsky remodeled and expanded the building in 2005.The property hosts a variety of birds. Herons, ospreys and eagles are frequent visitors.

Healing retreats are popular with people going through major life transitions.

Perhaps there has been a death in the family or the person is changing careers.

Prior to coming for a stay, the person will meet with Crop and Shainsky to come up with a schedule for their stay.

They’ll decide on what healing services will be most helpful or whether the person would simply like to have time to experience the retreat.

“I think it’s really important that people are surrounded by beauty,” Crop said.

Crop also offers regular psychotherapy sessions separately from the retreats.

She explained that the setting plays a big role in her therapy sessions.

Sometimes, Crop said, a patient will be saying something significant, and a bird will fly over the lake.

“I think nature is always talking back to us,” she said.

As far as practicing psychotherapy in a rural setting, Crop said it wasn’t a huge change from her practice in Hillsboro.

“I think people’s issues are pretty common across the board,” she said.

Although most of her patients still come from the Portland area, she said the biggest difference between her urban and rural patients is lifestyle.

Photo Credit: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Most of the guest rooms offer views of the lake.Regardless of where they live, Crop’s patients are often seeking skills to cope with romantic relationships, health issues and stress in general.

When asked if she has observed any issues “characteristic of the age,” Crop said she has noticed young people being strongly affected by the Internet “and the excessive doing of many things simultaneously and how that breaks a person’s attention.”

“My sense is addictions in general are on the rise as a way of coping with these stresses,” she said.

Crop suspects many of her patients have sought her out because of her background in spirituality.

“For me, there is a greater source that is available to all of us, particularly in the realm of healing,” she said.

Spirituality, Crop said, brings a sense of hope and security in the world.

She explained that when she speaks of spirituality, she is not speaking of it in terms of religion.

“It’s personal,” she said. “Everyone has their own personal orientation. I’m very open to all religions and experiences.”

For more information on Crop’s and Shainsky’s healing services or the retreat, visit hiddenlakeretreat.org.

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