Nature Therapy (Ecopsychology)
How does being in nature make you feel?
Think about a time when you're were outside and you felt a sense of happiness?
Can you remember why?
Was it the cool breeze on your face? Perhaps the warm sun on your skin? Maybe be the feel of sand between your toes? Or the sound of birdsong through the rustling trees?
Ecopsychology is about honouring our natural connections and attractions to nature, connections many of us have forgotten
- Ecopsychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The term Ecopsychology was first coined by Theodore Roszak in his book called "The Voice of the Earth" and his idea was to take psychology outside. The human mind is used to thinking in a modern way, but it is still adapted to function best in the natural world.
When we separate ourselves from our natural community we begin to feel
A natural emotional connection
We are connected emotionally with nature whether we are aware of it or not.
When we spend time in a natural environment we are more likely to take a wider perspective or holistic view, and we begin to understand how the universe interconnects. This can lead to a new way of thinking which can teach us once again how to live with sustainability in mind.
Save our children from nature deficit
(out of 131 reviews, 89 people gave this book 5 stars!)
Young children feel an attraction to nature
There are some people who believe that the increased incidence of childhood mental health issues like ADHD is related to lack of exposure to the natural environment. When I was a child we played outside for hours and no-one ever worried about us...we came home at dinner time.
Small children taken outside have a natural attraction to insects, worms and dirt etc. It's only as they get older and learn how 'dangerous' nature is supposed to be...with all those germs and goodness knows what wild animals...that they shy away from it. This robs them of the opportunity to make their own explorations of the world. They are unable to gain confidence in their own strengths and abilities outside of a structured setting.
Richard Low has written a great book about the consequences of not allowing our children to explore outside any more, and how this can be remedied even in the city. It's called Last Child in the Woods.
Children with the opportunity to go wild!
Walking meditation is an option for reconnecting in a natural environment even if it's just in a local green-space. It adds in some mindfulness to your daily routine. Do you ever go out for a walk and forget to appreciate the beauty around you because you're too busy thinking about all the things you have to do?
Take time, breathe deeply and enjoy!
You'll soon find that life doesn't seem so overwhelming.
A simple walking meditation
Don't be afraid to touch
Much of nature is about texture and heat perception. Different types of plants, with thorns or without. Soft and downy seeds. Furry animals. Cool running water. Warm still pools. All these things waken something inside of us that is often missing when we become increasingly isolated from the natural world and sometimes even from other people.
Ecopsychology education online
Mike Cohen has been educating people in the outdoors for several decades and has slept outdoors every day for 35 years. He is now 80!
He found that when people with addictions and disorders worked together as a community outdoors many of their symptoms started to disappear.
See the video below if you would like to learn more about Dr.Cohen's previous work.
He now has several online education programs that you can enrol in if you would like to explore this further. I've tried one of the courses and it was great. There are many exercises for you to complete on your own, taken from Mike's workbook, and then you have chance to discuss your experiences online with your group.
If you would like to read more about this program you can do so at the link below:
Reconnectng with nature
- Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature: Ecopsychology In Action
Online grant funded courses degrees include life experience; alternative organic therapy coaching holistic health; teacher career training; Reiki outdoor environmental ecology, wellness, integral psychology, ecotherapy books
Natural systems thinking process (Mike Cohen)
I hope you have been inspired to take some time in the great outdoors!