I envision ecotherapy as a method of enhancing the daily interactions between people and the natural environment.
Its benefits include improved self-esteem and self-image; reduction of stress and increased ability to relax; improved ability to focus, concentrate, and maintain mental clarity; enhanced sensory awareness; strengthening of natural intelligence; a deepened awareness of the interconnectedness of all living forms; and facilitation of spiritual awareness.
As these qualities increase, problems and difficulties which lead to psychological diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive thinking tend to decrease and recede.
An important aspect of this work is its mutuality. That is, while we are healing ourselves, we are also bringing a healing process to the natural environment. It is believed by many that our reverential presence in nature heals the planet as it heals us.
Ecotherapy is a branch of ecopsychology which applies knowledge and concerns about the environment in a way that helps us connect more fully to the web of life in which we live.
In developing my approach to eco-therapy, I have incorporated concepts from environmental philosophy, cosmology, and the contributions of indigenous cultures.
I believe there is no end to the extent to which we can develop our sensory awareness in ways that benefit us and all beings around us. This work can be done in urban parks as well as natural settings such as mountain,desert, and coastal areas.
The larger discipline of ecopsychology addresses the interaction between the psychological well-being of humans and the environment at large. Ecopsychology as an academic discipline looks at the overall aspects of how we treat the environment and how it affects us. Issues such as global warming, population trends, and the use of natural resources are discussed in the larger context of the directions of the planet and the human race.
Ecotherapy, as a branch of ecopsychology, is a practical discipline which endeavors to apply the concepts of ecopsychology in people’s lives.
Benefits of Nature on Mental Health
The benefit of nature on our mental health is enormous. The natural world directly affects positive changes in the brain and entire nervous system. Spending even brief amounts of time in nature, doing something that you find pleasant, can substantially reduce anxiety, stress, and depression and improve total well-being.
Newspaper Article on Ecotherapy
Ecopsychology emerged in the 1960s in response to the isolation and malaise infecting modern life by addressing the primal bond between man and nature.