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Journey Through Life With the Wisdom of the Forest

Guiding without Leading: The Interplay of Expectations in Forest Bathing

Influencing Perceptions Guides have essential roles in facilitating and shaping the forest bathing experience. However, their expectations, conscious or unconscious, might shape participants’ views and experiences. Here’s how:

  1. Creating a Bias: If a guide conveys strong expectations for certain outcomes or experiences, participants may feel a bias towards these areas, potentially overshadowing other personal discoveries or connections they might have made.

  2. Influencing Satisfaction: Research on expectation and experience indicates that when expectations are set too high, they may lead to dissatisfaction if those expectations aren’t met, even if the experience is positive (Oliver, 1980). A guide’s strong expectations can create a framework that may not align with every participant’s experience, potentially leading to dissatisfaction.

Limiting Authenticity The presence of strong expectations from the guide may limit the authenticity of the participant’s experience:

  1. Pressure to Conform: A participant may feel subtle or overt pressure to conform to the guide’s expressed or implied expectations. This pressure might hinder a genuine connection with nature, as the participant may be more focused on meeting those expectations rather than engaging with their feelings, thoughts, or the environment.

  2. Restricting Individual Exploration: Every individual has unique ways of connecting with nature. A guide’s specific expectations may unintentionally restrict this individual exploration, limiting opportunities for personal growth or understanding.

  3. Affecting Mindfulness Practice: Part of Shinrin Yoku involves mindfulness and personal intention. If a participant feels aligned with a guide’s expectations rather than their personal intention, it may affect their mindfulness practice, limiting the benefits associated with it (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

Conclusion The relationship between a Shinrin Yoku guide and participant is delicate and complex. While the guide’s expertise and guidance are essential, it’s crucial to approach each session with openness and a flexible framework that allows participants to explore, connect, and engage with nature in ways that are meaningful to them. By fostering an environment that emphasizes individual intention over rigid expectations, guides can enhance the authentic, healing, and transformative power of forest bathing.


  • Oliver, R. L. (1980). A Cognitive Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Satisfaction Decisions. Journal of Marketing Research, 17(4), 460-469.
  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Context: Past, Present, and Future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156.


Venture on a memorable path with our 10-week Shinrin Yoku Guide Training program accredited by Shinrin Yoku Association . This journey merges the accessibility of online learning with an enriching immersion in the serene forests of Japan. 🌳🇯🇵

Embark on your online adventure with flexible scheduling (GMT-3, Argentina Time) 🖥️🌐:
🌱 July 21 (Fri), 12 PM
🌱 July 28 (Fri), 2 PM
🌱 August 4 (Fri), 8 AM
(More dates available online!)

Continue your transformative journey with a 5-day retreat nestled in the peaceful woodlands of Nara, Japan 🏞️🎑:
🍂 October 2-6, 2023
🍂 October 9-13, 2023


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