My counselling & coaching, my teaching, and my research are informed and inspired by ecopsychological ideas.
Ecopsychologists are individuals who study the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. Ecotherapists are mental health professionals who draw on ecopsychological ideas to cultivate their clients’ wholeness and healing.
Central to ecopsychology is the idea that intimate human-nature relations are vital to personal, social, and planetary well-being. Without meaningful nature connection(s), humans (and the wider natural world) wither.
When I use the term nature I refer not only to “outer” nature (i.e., animals, plants, water), but also to “inner” nature (i.e., each person’s unique, true Self or soul or spirit). Ecopsychology practice (sometimes called ecotherapy) aims to connect people to both natures to facilitate healing and growth.
Interestingly, establishing a healthy relationship with one nature cultivates a healthy relationship to the other nature.
The research base
A growing body of research supports ecopsychology theory. For example, connecting with “outer” nature has been shown to benefit mental health in a variety of ways: reducing stress, restoring attention, improving cognition, promoting self-reflection, boosting happiness, and encouraging pro-social behaviour, to name several.
Moreover, the importance of “inner” nature connection is central to much psychotherapeutic theory. For example, depth psychotherapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and internal family systems therapy (IFS) each aim to connect individuals with their “inner natures” (or true self or soul, or spirit) in order to facilitate healing and growth.