Ecotherapy & Nature-Based Articles

Volume II


Naure and Soul: Reflections from an Ecopsychology Perspective

by Jan Edl Stein, MFT

"Ecopsychology is an emerging field of psychological exploration that invites us to consider the interplay of nature and psyche and the broader systemic contexts of our complex lives. Thomas Doherty, a psychologist at the forefront of bringing ecopsychology into academic light, states, “Psychology, as part of the Western tradition, is a Cartesian enterprise. It consciously tries to separate humans from the rest of nature” (Rowland). A nature-based psychology offers the dissolution of separations that have dug themselves deeply into our psyches and have, as a result, created a multitude of suffering. “This bifurcating tendency doesn’t preserve civilization from savagery, but rather is at the murky core of modern pathologies, like anxiety, substance abuse, and compulsive shopping” (Rowland). A possible cure to this bifurcating habit might be to consider the relational condition of any two objects or beings. To describe and even perceive ourselves purely in a relational context to the world, intricately interdependent upon all that surrounds and contains us, offers a healing to the wounds of separation. Imagine a psychology that embraces the soul of an individual within the context of the ensouled environment in which that being exists. By ensouled, I suggest that all things hold an enlivened, spirited presence and are, as such, endowed by soul. Such an imagining offers a shift from an ego- centric or narcissistic based viewpoint to a broad reaching appreciation of the potential we each have for experiencing a deep sense of belonging within the vast interconnected system of nature."


Volume I


Permaculture and the Expansion of Consciousness 

by Nancy Orr, MFA 

"Our gardens are similarly dysfunctional and immature, and are looking for their own integration or hero’s journey. “Viewed ecologically, the standard suburban yard just wants to grow up” (Hemenway, 2000, p. 20). In the same way an immature person always needs things to feel secure, an immature garden also needs constant attention from the gardener to survive. “…one of the biggest contrasts between most gardens and the natural landscape is that if left untended, a garden falls apart, while nature doesn’t” (Hemenway, p. 25)."