Ecotherapy, Ecowisdom and Ecopsychology

ecopsychologyThe Earth is the greatest healer.

As a healer, teacher, and mentor, I interweave the healing value of the natural world into our transformative journey. Ecopsychology, like somatic experiencing, helps me understand you and offer a wider perspective on healing.  Eco means home. So, Ecopsychology is the study of our home, and Ecotherapy is healing for our home. Most of us live in an overstressed, overworked environment where our nervous systems are overloaded. It seems normal, but it is not natural.

Many of our psychological ills, such as anxiety and loneliness, are related to a disconnect from the natural rhythms, relationships, and context of our lives. I will guide you in recuperation from these ills to feel more alive and well.

Recently, I read an article in Spirituality and Health magazine describing a “newer” kind of therapy in Japan. It is called “foresting.”  I read it with a wide grin. Exceptional nature guides who know the trials take small groups of weary urban people into the woods for a day or more and help them learn to contemplate their surroundings and be open to the therapeutic wonders of the earth. The research on this “new” therapy revealed dramatic health improvements, such as lowered blood pressure and reduced stress hormones. The people described greater serenity, creativity, and happiness as an outcome. It has become very popular. Another study in Portland, Oregon, measured the air quality in various city areas. The study revealed that the neighborhoods with many old trees surrounding the homes and parks had markedly better air quality. Children in the “treed” neighborhoods had less asthma, and older people had fewer respiratory infections. Overall there was much less hospitalization for respiratory ills in these parts of the city. The people in these neighborhoods also valued the trees for shade and beauty. A simple thing like having many trees around us can profoundly affect us.  As a person who lived in the woods and knew others who have lived in nature, I know the profound beauty, magic, and soothing effects of being in nature. This power to heal and inspire has been buried under our love of technology and busyness. We need nature for our bodies, minds, and souls in our cities and wild places.

As my Indigenous teacher/friend says, “the earth is the greatest healer.” Now and then, I lead retreats to incorporate ancient eco-wisdom,  and naturebathing in the healing process.  Mind, body, spirit, and nature are inseparable. We rely on the air from the trees and plants. We share the air we breathe. We are all in this together. The pioneering fields of Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy explore our human experience and the human psyche in relationship to the natural world to help us re-member the gifts of life.