Ben Marchman

Lead Counselor

“To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.”
–David Whyte

What do you do at Northwoods?

I am a Lead Counselor at Northwoods Blue RidgeI oversee the work of Residential Counselors; help make sure that the day-to-day operations are going smoothly; mentor and provide guidance; and create a structure that allows counseling sessions to merge into the everyday learning of life skills.

I also integrate different perspectives through Spiritual Life Coaching, somatic based therapy, and nature-based counseling in order to bring more connection to our bodies, the natural world, spirit, and community. This allows for a deeper processing with students so that they have open minds and hearts as they move through difficult life transitions.

What is your experience?

I have had many different careers and experiences that have molded me into who I am today. A licensed Habitat Restoration Ecologist; Arborist; School teacher; Wilderness Counselor; and even have lived in Africa and worked as a wildlife rehabilitator with Lions and large mammals. For the past 10 years I have focused my work in Nature Based Counseling and Wilderness Based Ceremonial Rites of Passage Guiding to help create immersed transformational work with teens to adults, families, and groups. I have experience in working with the approaches of transpersonal and somatic therapy while specializing in trauma, grief, depression, spiritual identity, & addiction.

My passion is working somatically and holistically with individuals and groups to help them go deeper into their processing and understanding of their full self (body, mind, spirit, & soul), the natural world, and their community.

When not at Northwoods I run my own business (NatureLink, LLC) where I use the modalities of rites of passage guiding, counseling, and mentoring to help people prepare for their next life stage so that they live more full and connected lives.


• BA in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education / Environmental Studies
• MS in Environmental Education
• Currently pursuing a MS in Clinical Health & Counseling


• Certified Counselor (currently working towards professional certification)
• Eco-Therapy – (Earth Body Institute)
• Wilderness Ceremonial Rites of Passage Guide – (Rites of Passage Council)
• Spiritual Life Coach – (Life Purpose Institute)
• Professional Life Coach – (International Coaching Federation)
• Nature Connected Coach – (Earth Based Institute)

Why do you work at Northwoods?

I truly believe that healing and sustainable change comes when an individual remembers her/his identity. That remembering is a part of the set of instructions/inherent gifts that guide us toward our highest purpose. We can’t remember these unless we have others to support us and witness us in the journey. Northwoods provides a loving and sustainable way to support individuals and  their families as they transition through hard times as they search for purpose and a deeper meaning.

I’m honored to be a part of this and of the Northwoods family! The family environment is especially important to me, as I’m a family man myself; I’m married to my beautiful wife, Ashley, and we have two amazing children, Flora and Wiley.

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