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Nature Therapy (Ecopsychology)

Updated on August 28, 2011
Pathway through the Alpine Meadow. Manning Park, BC Canada
Pathway through the Alpine Meadow. Manning Park, BC Canada | Source

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

Can you imagine this little bird singing?
Can you imagine this little bird singing? | Source

Theodore Roszak

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.

How does this image make you feel?
How does this image make you feel? | Source

Save our children from nature deficit

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

(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 are fascinated by insects
Children are fascinated by insects | Source

Children with the opportunity to go wild!

Walking meditations

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.

Take time to explore different natural textures
Take time to explore different natural textures | Source

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:

Natural systems thinking process (Mike Cohen)

I hope you have been inspired to take some time in the great outdoors!


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    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 5 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      I'm glad you're enjoying nature ignugent17...we are so lucky to have this beautiful world to live in :-)

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 5 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Thanks tammyswallow! It is sad that as a society we can become disconnected from nature. Our Grandmother's would just have called this "common sense"!

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Yes this is really informative. I really love to walk under the trees and listen to the sound of diferent creatures.

      Ecopsychology is new to me and I think it is interesting.

      Voted up and more!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I learned a lot reading this. I did not realize there was an official term for this or that it was an actual treatment. This is a very unique hub!

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      It's perfect that you resonate with this Happyboomernurse. Thanks for your comment, it really verifies the fact that this is something we instinctively understand :)

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Welcome to HubPages, Catsimmons.

      I never heard of the term ecopsychology, but resonate with this on an instinctive level because I've always felt better when spending time in nature. I remember absolutely craving nature as a teenager when my family moved from a beautiful tree lined suburb to a city that was in social upheaval (during the turbulent 1960's). The new high school was in a high crime area and literally had bars on the windows. It felt like being in prison. The walk to the bus stop after school was tense and when I got home afterschool I immediately went indoors and stayed there. Oh how I longed for nature walks and when we moved to the suburbs again a few years later we rented an apt. in an old house with a pond, natural spring and wooded mountain behind it. Oh how wonderful it was to spend time outdoors again, even if it was to just sit under a tree and do homework. I never again took spending time in nature for granted. In my adult years, I've made it a habit to take meditative walks in parks, beaches and mountains.

      Voted this hub up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Hi again Flora.

      Even if you've not got a good view of nature it's always an option to keep a plant in your office that can cheer you up. If you have a very dark room or office you can get a lamp with a natural light bulb so that the plant is sill able to grow. This also help to improve the inside air.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      People who have a window where they can view nature vs. a building have a much happier healthier life-I can't remember the names of the researchers but they were looking at work space. Some people have offices with no windows. They do their best compensating by putting up artwork depicting nature. When I first moved into my condo I had a gorgeous view from two balconies. now I can just see the mountains from the over the tops of the buildings. Something I am able to do because I'm on the top floor and her isn't allowed to be more than 4 stories downtown anymore unless it is a hotel-not that there weren't some buildings built before this with more floors. There is a particularly ugly cement building where the balaconies might has well not be there if you are sitting down. There is a little square of bars in it to see through but the walls are very tall and cement so you cannot see the street without standing up.