Friday, November 13, 2009


Not too long ago I read, “Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind” and wanted to share the following points made by the various authors of this very thought provoking text.

  • Ecotherapy is a psychotherapy modality that recognizes the deep connection between humans and the rest of the natural world.

  • A significant problem today is an ‘inner deadening’ – a defense against the stressors of living in an industrialized society overrun by advertising, toxic chemicals, unethical business practices, consumerism, unhealthy food, overwork, propaganda, and perpetual war.

  • Psychotherapists should be addressing the cultural issues that create so much pain and suffering today. Instead, most mainstream therapy ignores these issues.

  • During this time of environmental crisis, it is irresponsible for so many mental health clinicians to fail to connect epidemic rates of depression and anxiety with the suicidal destruction of our home- the earth.

  • Many clients fail to recognize that their grief and fear may be connected to “the death of so many living beings and the ongoing distress of Earth, air, and ocean life all around us. Because we’re not being informed about links between mental health symptoms caused by the way we live and the accelerating inner and outer devastation, we remain mystified about why we feel so much pain.”

  • Most people living in our culture have been treated like objects for all of their lives. “This is the source of the wound to the soul underlying most of human misery that therapists encounter. Because people have come to experience themselves as objects, they in turn objectify other people and commodify the world. They feel alienated , isolated, and empty, believing their lives hold no meaning.”

  • In the absence of soul and connection, we are confronted with a profound emptiness and loneliness. This emptiness leads to cultural distress that in turn manifests through social and economic inequities, violence, dysfunction in individuals, families, organizations, and entire communities, as well as a host of societal and psychological disorders.

  • Our connection to the very source of life has been severed, consequently we are possessed by an unrelenting hunger that we attempt to satisfy by consuming more and more goods, and in the process we continue to destroy our environment.

  • Ecopsychology attempts to respond to the sources of our cultural illness and to repair the lost connection “with the more-than human world. Its intention is to re-animate the world, to restore its soul.”

  • Ecotherapy is soul work and involves an awakening to beauty.

  • The unrelenting pursuit of money is one of the most pervasive and accepted forms of psychopathology (craziness) in our culture.

  • Bill McKibben points out that the consequences of the ethos of looking out for number one that permeates our culture is apparent on so many fronts. For instance, the United States used to be the healthiest nation in the world, now its rank is twenty-seventh.

  • Community is the key to both physical survival and human satisfaction. In fact, if you don’t currently belong to any group or club of some kind, by joining one, you reduce the risk that you will die within the next year by half. We truly do serve as healers for one another.

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