What is Ecopsychology?
Ecopsychology is a hybrid of ecological and psychological theory. What makes it different to conventional psychology? It does something really unusual, for instance, it adopts a transpersonal (spiritual) approach, importantly, that means it recognises the relationship between humans and the planet. As a theory it focuses on a simple truth, that is to say, everything is connected. Our own health as a species is inseparable from the health of our environment, therefore, we ignore it at our peril. When we destroy our own habitat, we experience the emotional fallout of that destruction.
“The Earth is what we all have in common.”
Theodore Roszak is often credited with creating the term ‘ecopsychology’, however, the roots of ecopsychology reach further back in time than the 1990s. What may surprise you, for example, is the extraordinary link between ecopsychology and shamanism. For millennia, indigenous societies have recognised the connection between humans and the environment that we exist in. As a result of agriculture, industrialisation and modern life we’ve become separated.
That disconnect has a psychological impact on us. Ignoring it is a form of cultural madness. Ecopsychology examines that, along with our profound interconnection with the natural world. It asks big questions, like how can we reconnect? What do we really need to thrive and flourish and nourish our souls? How does that disconnection affect our consciousness?
Philosopher David Abrahm, says this separation is man-made. Believing instead, that we belong to a more than-human world. Our modern way of life blinds us to our place in nature. Consequently, that’s where ecopsychology comes in. It attempts to re-establish our deep connection with nature. Rozak describes this as tapping into and opening up our ‘ecological unconscious’.
The Benefits of Ecopsychology
Studies consistently demonstrate the huge benefits of connecting with nature.
- Increased mindfulness
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Greater self awareness
- Improved social awareness
- Increased wellbeing
We’re more connected globally in terms of communication and commerce than ever before as a species, however, we remain profoundly disconnected from the natural world. Our survival depends on reconnecting. This for example, means moving towards unity with the earth and each other. Ecopsychology is constantly looking at ways to do that. For instance, it explores ways to create a meaningful connection with the world surrounding us. Creating time to simply be, for example, to pause. Time spent in nature, as a result, often acts as a catalyst for action. Why? Because all change begins with ourselves.
Could ecopsychology benefit you? Visit our sister sites www.mindfulrewilding.co.uk and shamanicearthwisdom.com to discover more about ecopsychology