Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy

ecopsychologyIn my work as a healer, teacher and mentor (important elopements of being a therapist), I interweave the healing value of the natural world into my therapy when it seems it will be helpful to you. Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy, like somatic experiencing, help 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. Many of us live in an overstressed, overworked environment where our nervous systems are frequently 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 can help you see where this may be true for you and guide you to recuperate from these ills in order to feel more fully alive and well.

Recently, I read an article in Spirituality and Health magazine describing a “new” kind of therapy in Japan. It is called “foresting”.  I read it with a wide grin. Special nature guides who know the trials take small groups of urban weary people into the woods for a day or more and help them learn to contemplate their surroundings and just hang out there. 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 areas of the city. The study revealed that in the neighborhoods where there were many old trees surrounding the homes and in parks had markedly better air quality. Children in the “treed” neighborhoods had less asthma and older people had fewer respiratory infections. Overall their was a much less hospitalization for respiratory ills in these parts of the city. The people in theses neighborhoods valued the trees for shade and beauty as well. A simple thing like having a lot of trees around us can have profound affects on us.  As a person who lived in the woods and who knows others who have lived in nature as well, I know the profound beauty, magic and soothing affects of being in nature. I believe this power to heal and inspire has been somewhat buried under our love of technology and our busyness. We need nature for our bodies, minds and souls in our cities and in wild places.

In our sessions, I won’t literally lead you into the forest but I will encourage you to mindfully integrate natural experiences into your life. Now and then I do lead retreats which incorporate connecting with nature 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 in order to help us re-member the gifts of life.