~ “psychology as if the whole earth mattered.”
Ecopsychology is based on the fundamental notion that some of our anxiety and ills come from living a lifestyle that has drifted away from its foundation in nature connection, and being in a culture that has lost its way no longer respectful of planet and ecology.
Connection with Earth: Core of Ecotherapy
Connection with earth and its systems are at the core of eco-therapy. Eco-therapists believe that the earth has a self-righting capacity through complex systems of integrated balance, and that
if we can harmonize ourselves with those systems, we will experience mental health. Personal well-being and planetary well-being are not separate from each other, and each must consider the needs of the other. In taking care of the earth, we care for ourselves. People’s lives are therefore seen as part of a greater system of relationship that includes both non-humans as well as human beings.
"Doherty says one of the unifying ideas in ecopsychology is its attempt to integrate a different set of questions into clinical practice. What, for example, does it mean to live as part of the web of life, but to behave as if we didn’t?" Utne Reader
An eco-therapist understands that people are part of the web of life, and approaches clients from the perspective that our psyches are not isolated or separate from our environment. Some may even consider the natural world to have its own psyche.
"According to Pulitzer-Prize winning sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, Ph.D., of Harvard, people have an inherent biological need to be in contact with the out-of-doors. He calls it "biophilia", and believes that nature may hold the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction. Wilson has found much evidence for our basic affinity for nature and its instructive and healing properties. " ~ Michael Cohen, Project Nature Connect
"Have you ever sat near a roaring brook and felt refreshed, been cheered by the vibrant song of a thrush or renewed by a sea breeze? Does a wildflower's fragrance bring you joy, a whale or snow-capped peak charge your senses?"
This is Dr. Michael Cohen's response to an interviewer's question as to how connecting with nature can heal and uplift the human psyche.
For clients who are interested, Eco-therapy and the practice of nature connection techniques can restore a sense of balance and lower tension & anxiety, as well as increase a strong sense of well being. Feel free to ask me about this type of therapy if it interests you ~
Ecopsychology: Whole Earth Mental Health