What is Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy?
What is Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy? Ecopsychology is a relatively new area of study for the field of psychology, though it deals with a topic that has been fundamental to the human condition since the inception of the species: our relationship with nature. For most of human history, our species has lived with a much more intimate connection with the natural world than we do today. This dynamic relationship with plants, animals, and the Earth itself helped shape the human species into what it is today. In our modern society, we have largely been cut off from the natural world. Many people spend the majority of their lives in a concrete jungle, or going from the inside of a house to the inside of a car, train, or bus, to the inside of an office building and back again day after day. This disconnection with the very roots of our being has a profound impact on our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Ecotherapy (a.k.a. Nature Therapy) encompasses a broad range of interventions that utilize our innate connection with plants, animals, and the Earth to treat psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Wilderness therapy and Equine therapy are both forms of Ecotherapy. However, there are many other ways to incorporate ecotherapy into your daily life. These include going for a walk in the park, planting a garden, getting a house plant, bird watching, or playing with your pet. The most obvious benefit of ecotherapy for most people is stress reduction; however, it has also been demonstrated to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and more. Upcoming blog articles will provide additional information about the ways being disconnected from the nature world may be impacting you, and what you can do to restore this imbalance to live a happier and healthier life.