What is Ecopsychology

The awareness of how important nature is on the mental and spiritual balance of the individual, is as old as the world itself and has been developed in all continents through philosophy, culture, religion and science.

In the modern science of the soul, top psychoanalysts have reported the influence of nature on human psychology in their writings, such as Fromm and Jung. In particular, the German Erich Fromm, in his work “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness” (1973) introduces the term “Biophilia” describing it as “passionate love of life and what is alive”. The term was later used by the american biologist Edward O. Wilson in his book “Biophilia” (1984), in which he suggested that peoples’ tendency to focus and relate to nature and other forms of life has, in part, a genetic basis. There is a suspicion that the increasing dependency of human species on technology has led to the weakening of human movement towards the connection with  nature.

For many years, interdisciplinary studies have explored how people respond to open green fields, scattered trees, pastures, waters and elevated landscapes, resulting in positive outcomes, and these approaches have varied terms that still apply today: green psychology, green therapy, global therapy, ecology, shamanic counseling, eco-therapy etc. Ecopsychology is an approach that emerged through interdisciplinarity and is the result of the proposed dialogue between Psychology and Ecology, since the central focus of Ecopsychology is human relationships with the web of life.

The term “Ecopsychology” was born in 1989 in a group of Berkeley academics – Robert Greenway, Elan Shapiro, Alan Kanner and Mary Gomes – who met to discuss the contribution that psychology can have to managing the modern ecological crisis. Theodore Roszak has formalized the term “Ecopsychology” in his book  “The voice of the Earth” (1992)- term that has  already been used in some cases to describe the work of other psychologists and environmentalists in Berkeley. Theodore Roszak, who pioneered the understanding of anti-culture, was interested in exploring the implication of global health and human well-being.

“The goal of Ecopsychology  is to overcome the historical and persistent gap between Psychology and Ecology, to see the needs of the Planet and those of the individual as a continuation.”

Theodore Roszak

 

Ecopsychology – derived from the Greek words Ecology and Psychology – as a new direction to the science of Psychology, was created through the need to include the natural environment as a key factor in the development of human mental health and balance-a  factor  omitted in previous years by psychotherapeutic faculties. Ecopsychology has derived from the need to investigate how much mutual assistance these two new sciences can provide to solve the most up-to-date problems faced by both.

In this context, Ecopsychology has not only gained academic interest but is also practiced in large therapeutic centers abroad, making the wisdom of nature, a co-therapist in the mental balance of people.

How does it work?

Applied Ecopsychology is a theoretical and practical approach to balance the human soul through the achievement of a planetary equilibrium , which in turn will also benefit the human balance.

The awakening of the awareness of a broader earthly identity allows us to approach the environment with spontaneous respect, feeling an active part of ecosystems that are wider and more complex. In addition, it promotes the ability to work in teams with creative and constructive synergies, essential to the future of the human species.

On a theoretical level, awakening follows consciousness and consciousness is cultivated with knowledge through education in the form of seminars, conferences and study.

Practically, this is achieved through experiential workshops that use psychotherapy tools from different directions in a holistic approach. It includes the direct experience with the elements of nature, relaxation and awakening techniques, projection and transfer that we encounter as techniques in psychoanalysis, as well as exercises of expressing feelings and deepening of experiences.

“Just as it was the goal of previous therapies for recovering the oppressed contents of the unconscious, so the aim of Ecopsychology is to awaken the inherent sense of environmental reciprocity within the ecologically unconscious. Other therapies seek to cure alienation between the person and the person, person and family, person and society. Ecopsychology  seeks to cure the most fundamental alienation between the individual and the natural environment.”

Theodore Roszak