Ecotherapy is a type of therapy that promotes the connection between your inner world and outer world. The theory behind Ecotherapy stems from the fact that we are evolutionarily wired to exist with nature, and that we each have an â€œecological selfâ€ that feels deprived when we donâ€™t allow nature to be a part of our every day lives.
Communing with nature as a way of reconnecting with the self is an ancient practice, and now in our modern day culture we have research validating those benefits.
The outer and inner worlds reflect and support one another, which means that a healthy ecosystem is inseparable from a healthy psyche.
Another layer of Ecotherapy involves the relationship between mental health and the environmental crisis. The National Wildlife Foundation and the American Psychological Association have both released reports in the last few years calling on mental health professionals to seek training in preparation for what will be a â€œmental health crisisâ€ as we try to cope with the traumatic events we witness regularly.
As a culture we are truly disconnected from the natural world and it is causing us great distress and even illness. There is an epidemic of nature deficit disorders happening today, but research has shown us that a good dose of outdoor time can do wonders to repair what ails us. Whether itâ€™s hiking, gardening, walking or sitting in a park, the natural environment shifts mood and enhances wellbeing in a variety of ways. Ecotherapy works because the deep affiliations we have with other life forms and nature as a whole are rooted in our biology. This stems from the Biophilia hypothesis, which proposes that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. When we honor that natural need, we are aligned, healthy and whole.
In my practice nature is always present. I donâ€™t think I could do what I do for a living without being able to consider nature as my co-therapist on some level. She adorns my personal space, slips into session through metaphor, and my own connection to nature is always alive in my life and work. When appropriate, and if desired, I will prescribe some form of outdoor therapy between sessionsÂ toÂ bridge your inner landscape with the outer landscape. Â If geographical location allows IÂ may suggest doing an outdoor Ecotherapy session together to open up the opportunity for a deeper connection with the self.
Take this quick quiz to assess your current relationship with nature. If you answer yes to these questions then youâ€™re relationship with nature is flourishing. If you answered no to most of the questions you may want to explore how to nourish your nature relationship for better health.
If you are interested in learning more about Ecotherapy and how it works in my practice, please donâ€™t hesitate to contact me for more information.