TMT Code of Ethics describes the core values of The Mindful Tourist, ethical principles and standards of behavior for all TMT Professionals (guides and instructors). Meeting these TMT ethical standards of behavior is the first of the TMT core guide competencies (TMT Core Competencies).
TMT Code of Ethics serves to uphold the integrity of TMT global Shinrin Yoku profession by:
a) Setting standards of conduct consistent with TMT core values and ethical principles.
b) Guiding ethical reflection, education, and decision-making.
c) Providing the basis for TMT ethics training in TMT-accredited programs.
TMT Code of Ethics applies when TMT Professionals represent themselves as such, in any kind of Shinrin Yoku-related interaction.
This Code articulates the ethical obligations of TMT Professionals who are acting in their different roles as guide and instructor coach, guide-in-training or instructor-in-training.
The challenge of working ethically means that members will inevitably encounter situations that require responses to unexpected issues, resolution of dilemmas and solutions to problems.
TMT Professionals who accept the Code of Ethics strive to be ethical, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions or acting courageously.
The Mindful Tourist sets standards of professionalism, and promotes ethical behaviour, attitudes and judgments on the part of TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides. This is the most recent version.
This Code is the guidance document for all TMT certified Shinrin Yoku Guides and members; specific additional guidance is provided in the TMT Practice Guidelines.
The Code contains professional standards that TMT members should uphold. The aim of the Code is to provide a framework for guiding the decision‐making. The framework allows sufficient flexibility for a variety of approaches, contexts and methods and reflects the ethical standards that apply to all. TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides need to familiarise themselves with any legal frameworks, regulatory, requirements and other guidance relevant to the particular context in which they work including any specific guidance in TMT Practice Guidelines.
TMT ShinrinYoku Guides may need to make decisions in difficult, changing and unclear situations. TMT expects that the Code will be used to form a basis for consideration of ethical questions, together with the needs of people and organisations in the specific circumstances in which the decision is to be made.
The Code serves primarily as guidelines for thinking about the decisions individuals need to make. Accordingly, a shared collective duty for the welfare of human and non-human beings and environment, both within the societies in which TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides live and work, and beyond them, is acknowledged.
Behaving ethically requires ethical awareness – noticing what ethical issues are raised by a course of action makes it more likely that ethical practice will follow.
Acting ethically can be affected by a number of individual and group influences as well as context, so even though an individual may be aware of ethical issues and has worked through the decision-making process, their motivation or ability to act ethically may be compromised.
TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides should consider it good practice to record their decision processes when confronted with a particularly challenging ethical issue so that it is available for future reference if that decision is revisited.
Acting ethically depends on many skills including a capacity for leadership, effective prioritisation and risk management.
This Code encourages TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides to be mindful of their strengths and weaknesses in order that they are able to behave in the most ethical way possible.
Respect for the dignity of people is one of the most fundamental and universal ethical principles across geographical and cultural boundaries, and across professional disciplines.
Respect for dignity recognises the inherent worth of all human beings, regardless of perceived or real differences in social status, ethnic origin, gender, capacities, or any other such group.
This inherent worth means that all human beings are worthy of equal moral consideration.
Statement of values: TMT ShinrinYoku Guides value the dignity and worth of all persons with particular regard to people’s rights and freedom of choice.
In applying these values, the following should be considered:
• Privacy and confidentiality;
• Respect of choice
• Communities and shared values within them;
• Impacts on the broader environment – living or otherwise;
• The importance of compassionate care, including, empathy, sympathy, generosity, openness, distress, tolerance, commitment and courage.
TMT ShinrinYoku Guides enjoy professional autonomy; responsibility thus is an essential element of autonomy.
Guides must accept appropriate responsibility for what is within their power, control or management.
Awareness of responsibility ensures that the trust of others is not abused and that duty towards others is always paramount.
Statement of values: TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides value their responsibilities to the participants of Shinrin Yoku Sessions and general public, including the avoidance of harm and the prevention of misuse or abuse of their contribution to society (direct or indirect).
In applying these values, the following should be considered:
• Professional accountability;
• Responsible use of their knowledge and skills;
• Respect for the welfare of human, non-humans and the living world;
• Site risk assessment;
• Transparency and direct communication.
TMT way of Shinrin Yoku is to embrace the physiological and psychological benefits of spending time in forest in combination with the active role of TMT Shinrin Yoku Guides and participants in a Shinrin Yoku session. Whether guided or self-guided, forest bathing cannot happen without a receiver of the benefits, let it be the nature or participants. Shinrin Yoku and forest bathing are used exchangeably. A TMT Shinrin Yoku Guide is a person who facilitates the experience of mindful immersion through senses, mindful-based and nature-based activities.
Whilst TMT recognises that the most benefits to human health spring from the forest environment, we are also aware that not everyone is fortunate to live in the proximity of the forest. Thus, the way of TMT is to embrace the present moment – the present physical location. Instead of focusing on “this location is not good enough for a Shinrin Yoku session”, we ask ourselves “what is possible with where I live?”. TMT recognises the role individual differences play in the praxis of life and the reciprocal relationship between humans and environments. Thus, the way of TMT to Shinrin Yoku is to embrace diversity in any form at present moment: the present mental location and the present skills and knowledge. Instead of focusing on “I am not good enough”, we ask ourselves “how can I utilise my existing skills, potential and interests I already have in combination with Shinrin Yoku?”.
Is used exchangeably with forest bathing or forest therapy, however the etymology of Japanese words Shinrin Yoku indicates the following meaning: bathing in forest. The word therapy is often used as a result of scientific evidence relating to psychological and physiological benefits of spending time in the forest – therapeutical effect.
Not to be mistaken with Nature Therapy, that involves other elements of nature than forest (e.g., blue prescriptions) and with psychotherapy, during which nature-based innervations may or may not be used.
Is a person who is trained by TMT to facilitate an immersive Shinrin Yoku experience through senses and other nature- and mindful-based invitations/activities in the forest or other green spaces.
Other green spaces are also suitable, but we have to address then the difference between Shinrin Yoku and Nature Connectedness.
Shinrin Yoku can also be understood in a broader context of nature connectedness. Nature connectedness relates to the extent we feel part of the nature/natural world. We can connect with it via various pathways such as nature visualisation, looking at a picture depicting forest, listening to natural sound recordings, plants at home, poetry, etc.
Familiarity with TMT Code of Ethics and its application is required for both guide and instructor level. Successful TMT instructor candidates will demonstrate that their actions are aligned with TMT Code of Ethics.
2.1: Guide introduces him/herself and welcomes participants to do the same and by asking them how things are. Guide invites them to a brief bonding activity (please adapt where required).
2.2: Guide confirms what the session will entail and share potential risks associated with spending time in nature with participants.
2.3: Guide introduces/explore the topic of Shinrin Yoku concerning its significance and meaning, in addition to exploring session outcomes.
3.1: Guide acknowledges and respects the choice of participants, by initiating participants to join activities.
3.2: Guide recognises a situation where permission is needed and asks for it.
3.3: Guide encourages and allows participants to express themselves through invitations.
4.1: Guide acts in response to the whole person of the participants (acknowledges individual differences) and surroundings.
4.2: Guide is observant, empathetic, and responsive and act accordingly to what is coming his/her way.
4.3: Guide does not force but invites, and adapt when needed.
4.4: Guide creates opportunities for human-nature connections.
4.5: Guide creates opportunities for human-human connections.
4.6: Guide keeps track of time and direction of the session.
4.7: Guide creates an opportunity for participants to take away something useful from the session back home.
4.8: Guide creates a structure of a session that suitable to him/her by keeping the core elements of TMT Shinrin Yoku Session.
5.1: Guide demonstrate knowledge in the field of Shinrin Yoku/Nature Connectedness/Wellness fields when is needed.
5.2: Guide understands the core components of TMT Shinrin Yoku Session.
5.3: Guide draws from her/his own experience as a Shinrin Yoku Guide/human/ and use this knowledge when is needed.
6.1: Guide shares observations, intuitions, comments and thoughts to serve participants’ the best possible experience.
6.2: Guide’s language is generally clear and concise.
7.1: Guide’s invitations and shared observations have the potential to build awareness.
7.2: Guide creates learning opportunities for participants by encouraging them to formulate their own reflections.