The Wild Mind Training Program

Designed for human development guides from a variety of fields (see below), the WMTP is a professional training in the use of the Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche to support others to cultivate their innate wholeness and to acquire the skills of Self-healing. The Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche is, among other things, a comprehensive inventory of what can be right about a person, a “shadow” version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), mainstream psychology’s list of what can go wrong with people.

Since 1980, Bill Plotkin and colleagues at Animas Valley Institute have been developing nature-based models and practices for cultivating full human potential. Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. The Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche (NBMHP) identifies these resources — which we call the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, the NBMHP describes how to cultivate the four facets of the Self and discover the gifts of our subpersonalities.

The key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not to suppress psychological symptoms, to merely recover from addictions and trauma, or to simply manage stress but rather to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-aligned story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.

The NBMHP offers numerous practices for cultivating the four facets of our human wholeness, which together constitute the Self. We call this cultivation “wholing.” Once we have sufficiently developed the Self, we’re able to embrace, using our facets of wholeness, the wounded and fragmented elements of our psyches, a process we call “Self-healing.” Bill’s book, Wild Mind: Field Guide to the Human Psyche, presents a full description of wholing and Self-healing.

In the best of traditional psychotherapy, the therapist employs his or her own wholeness to support the healing of the client’s psyche. In wholistic healing, in contrast, the therapist (or coach, mentor, teacher, parent, or clergy) first supports the individual to cultivate the Self, and then coaches the individual to self-heal using the resources of the Self.

The development of the Self also enables the cultivation of the four windows of knowing: heart-centered thinking, full-bodied feeling, full-presence sensing, and deep imagination.

The cultivation of these and other innate human capacities engenders mature humans capable of embodying their human wholeness rather than living through the fragments of psyche elicited by our mainstream Western modes of parenting, education, religion, and entertainment.

Rather than supporting people to function more effectively in a dysfunctional culture, the NBMHP enables individuals to develop their nature-given wild minds and in that way enhance their personal fulfillment as well as their capacity to serve the world from their wholeness, thereby transforming contemporary culture. Cultivating wholeness also prepares individuals for the mystical descent to soul and, in that way, the uncovering of deepest life purpose.

If you apply to the Wild Mind Training Program, it could be with any one or more of several intentions, including the desire to guide nature-based wholing and Self-healing programs, to develop a strong foundation in wholing and Self-healing work to blend into your current professional path, and to further cultivate your own wholeness and capacities for Self-healing. The objectives of the Wild Mind Training Program are to:

  •  Provide training in the NBMHP model and in the skills of facilitating nature-based wholing and Self-healing
  •  Support trainees in their personal cultivation of wholeness and Self-healing
  •  Support the career development of professionals called to guide others toward wholeness.

(Note #1)The WMTP is not a training in underworld guiding. Learning to facilitate the descent to soul is the mission of Animas’ Soulcraft Apprenticeship and Initiation Program — SAIP

(Note #2) The Wild Mind Training Program is not a program that provides training in group facilitation skills. If you plan on delivering the gifts of the Nature Based Map of the Human Psyche as a group offering and do not currently have these skills, you are highly encouraged to take the Council Training and seek other (non-Animas group facilitation skill training.

Who Can Apply:                                                                                                                   

The WMTP is designed for professional human development guides (PHDGs) or advanced students or trainees in a human development graduate school or training program. PHDGs might work in fields such as psychotherapy, psychiatry, clinical psychology, professional counseling, ministry, life coaching, ecotherapy, rites of passage, education, and certain realms of mentoring and outdoor education. In most cases, we would expect you to be professionally licensed, certified, or eligible for certification if your discipline and state require.


Applicants must complete the following prior to applying

1)       A Wild Mind Intensive
2)       One of the following:


1)       A Wild Mind Intensive
2)       Two of the following:


Recommended Programs Before Applying (Not Required):  

Applicants who have completed the following Animas programs prior to applying will have stronger applications, other things being equal:

1)         Council and Mirroring Intensive
2)         Soulcentric Developmental Wheel Intensive (aka Nature and the Human Soul Intensive)

Required Program Components to Complete WMTP Certificate Program:                                           

1)         Wild Mind Intensive (WMI)
2)         Council and Mirroring Intensive (C&M)
3)         Wild Mind Mirror Training (WMMT)
4)         Soulcentric Developmental Wheel Intensive aka Nature and the Human Soul (NATHS)
5)         Wild Mind Training Residential (5 days) (WMTR)

Note: It is optimal, but not required, that you complete WMI, C&M, WMMT, and NATHS prior to the WMTR.

We ask that you read Wild Mind before applying to the WMTP, and that you read Nature and the Human Soul before attending the NATHS Intensive.

Practicum Requirement: (One of the following, after completing all Program Components)

  1. Use of the NBMOHP in your setting with individuals, but not in a group format, and designed in conjunction and supervised by an Animas guide. For example, therapy, coaching, counseling, mentoring, or other PHDG activity, either in a non-nature-based setting or preferably, in a nature-based setting, and recording and reviewing the sessions with an Animas guide.
  2.  Co-create and co-guide, with an Animas guide, your own Wild Mind-based group intensive in your own community and for your own “people”.  Note: this should only be undertaken if you already have group facilitation skills as well promotional skills to ensure that a program will occur.
  3. Your own idea – surprise us- and supervised by an Animas guide.
  4. Participate as an assistant clan leader (ACL) (if you have group facilitation skills and space is available) at an Animas Wild Mind Intensive. These opportunities are rare and depend upon the trainee’s completion of the entire training series, available space for ACLs, guide availability, number of participants, location, and other logistics. For reference, we typically offer 2-3 Wild Mind Intensives per year. If you believe you could promote and fill a Wild Mind Intensive in your watershed, please contact us and let’s discuss. If approved, you would be creating your own ACL opportunity on an Animas Wild Mind Intensive.

A certificate of completion is awarded upon completion of the core components and the practicum.

We are seeking partners for undergraduate and graduate academic credit. Please inquire, if interested.

Optional Tracks:                                                                                       

You are invited, but not required, to develop additional skill sets relevant to your background, setting, professional context, or calling.

  • Deep Imagination Track: Deep Imagination Intensive, Deep Imagination Training and DI Mentorship
  • Rewilding Track: Romancing the World, Coming Home to an Animate World, A Psyche the Size of Earth
  • Developmental Wheel Track: Yearlong Wheel Training, OR: SDW Intensive plus Wheel Mentorship
  • Shadow Track: Wild Mind Shadow Intensive, Wild Mind Shadow Training, Shadow Mentorship
  • Dream Track: Wild Mind Dream Intensive, Wild Mind Dream Training, Dream Mentorship
  • Artistry Track: Courting the Muse and Writing the Wild Soul or Art & Soul


    1. WMTP Application Fee: $50 (non-refundable, one-time fee)
    2. For current program fees, please see the specific program listings on the website.

How To Apply:                                                                                                           

If you’ve met the minimum eligibility requirements and are ready to apply, please download the WMTP Application

Questions? Please contact us at 800-451-6327 (in U.S. only) or 970-259-0585, or at


Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,

to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,

the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver

running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants

cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.

This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;

you can never be dispossessed.

— Derek Walcott