EcoTherapy: Hope for the World!

“Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.”
~D.H. Lawrence

Nature or Meditation?
Study after study has indicated the therapeutic value of meditation. Research tells us with sustained effort of a year or more, a dedicated novice meditator may learn to sustain an alpha brain wave state for a few hours and gain the benefits thereof. And yet, in a study conducted at Tom Brown's Tracker School by a neuroscientist found that people who had never meditated in their lives could sustain deep alpha states for hours after only forty-eight hours simply being in the wilderness. 

Why EcoTherapy
Our extreme alienation from the natural world, often leading to an alienation from the divine worlds, is a root cause of many of our personal, relational and social dysfunctions. Recent studies show that regular immersion in nature activates the love and altruism centers in the brain.

Neuropsychology tells us that the human brain and nervous system develops solely through relationships with its environment. Ecopsychology tells us that the average modern human spends over 95% of their lives in an indoor environment.  After millions of years evolving in relationship with the natural environment humans now are evolving and developing in a way never before seen, Indoors, in relationship only to themselves and human artifacts.

Separated and isolated from nature we seem to have mutated as a species. As Lawrence states above we have lost our roots and we are dying. And we are killing the planet as we go, driving thousands upon thousands of species extinct every year, an astonishingly perilous situation. Our self-absorbed indoor lives, now exacerbated by screen addictions, has resulted in a type of species wide narcissism and autism, as our own extinction "grins in."

“The ecological crisis may be the result of a recent and collective 
perceptual disorder in our species, a unique form of myopia 
which it now forces us to correct.
~David Abrams

A Cultural Therapy
Cultural historian Thomas Berry, who claims the reinvention of the human species is the central mission of our times, suggests that we need a planetary wide culture therapy. EcoTherapy is that therapy and it begins with the correction of the "collective perceptual disorder" Abrams speaks of. Even while hopeless futurists devise their planetary evacuation plans, we can wish them well, as we refocus our way of living back in relationship with Sacred Mother Earth and her Family of All Things. 

"Anything will speak to us if we love it enough."
~Dr. George Washington Carver

This need not be a romanticized return to a former indigenous way of being in the world, it's too late for that now, the arrow of evolution moves us into the future. However, the most essential element to reinventing the human is a rekindling of animism, a post-rational animism,* and reacquiring the lost capacity to communicate across species boundaries common to indigenous people. A capacity lost because of our nervous systems have developed in an indoor environment. 

"The future can only exist when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited."
~ Thomas Berry


At the Heart of the Matter
World renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Jung came to America in 1925 troubled by what industrial civilization was doing to the planet to see what the indigenous people of America thought about the white euro-americans. When he met with Taos Pueblo leader Chief Mountain Lake he asked him what he thought of the white people. He replied, "We think whites are mad...they always want something, they are always uneasy and restless." Jung asked, "Why do you think the whites are all mad?" The Chief replied, "They say they think with their heads." Jung a bit bewildered by this statement asked, "Why, of course, what do you think with?" The Chief said, "We think here," pointing to his heart.  

"The heart has reason that reason knows not of."
Blaise Pascal in 1623



*Developmental studies indicate at the advanced stage of human development called Integral in the Gebser/Wilber Model, the capacity for interspecies communications can "come back online." A stage common to most sages and mystics. 


What is EcoTherapy

"Ecotherapy: The green method for mental health should become
a treatment option for people..."
National Association of Mental Health, UK

Described as an umbrella term for nature-based methods of physical and psychological healing, Ecotherapy represents a new form of psychotherapy that acknowledges the vital role of nature and addresses the human-nature relationship (Buzzel & Chalquist 2009).


Ecotherapy is the practical application of the academic discipline of Ecopsychology. Of which Jane Goodall writes, "... of enormous interest for everyone concerned with the future of our species - environmentalists and legislators, industrialists and educators, you and me. Its message should become part of Western thought." 

Engendering the deepest understanding of the claim, "We are all in this together," Ecotherapy is a relational modality which facilitates the discovery and fostering of a deeper understanding of self and others, of culture, nature and Spirit. Ecotherapy is an antidote to the malaise that has entranced our culture, the insatiable desire to "have more" and fulfills a deeper truth, the desire to "become more."

Contact U of Earth for more EcoTherapy practices or our courses.