What is Eco-Therapy?
Most of us relate to the natural world as if we're separate, as if it's something thats "out" there. We walk past flowering trees, singing birds, rushing water, changing clouds without noticing them, unaware of what's around us, absorbed in our devices or in our own thoughts. This separation and detachment from our natural environments can make us feel isolated, alienated and depressed. Eco-psychology recognizes that humans have an innate need to be in relationship to the earth and to each other and we suffer in our current artificial and disconnected societies.
Eco-therapy aims to relieve suffering, reduce stress and provide emotional regulation through moving into greater connection to their natural world. It provides a context to understand personal suffering as a response to environmental/community destruction and the artificial systems of modern human life.
Does it really help?
We don't need new programming, we need to return to a naturally responsive state. We need to be treating ourselves more like plants than computers. We need fresh air, water, sunshine, rest, healthy food and safety to grow to our highest potential.
"If we are to heal as a collective, we must listen to the scorched land, dialog with the remains of the clear cut forest, speak to the rising ocean. We must also pay attention to how these live inside of us. The great gift of this world is that we can have access to a fruitful, vibrant, verdant landscape within our psyches."
-Jan Edl Stein, MFT Holos Institute
What does it look like?
Taking a mindful walk
Guided meditations with an eco-therapist
Collecting rocks or other symbols of nature to use at home or in art
Opening yourself up to a dialogue with an other- than-human life, like an animal, tree or plant.
Spending dedicated time in a forest, near an ocean or in a rainstorm and focusing on the breath, sensations and emotions
Identifying ways in which you've become disconnected from what brings you joy and freedom
Increasing opportunities to learn about the world around, like taking a bird identification class or going to a national park
Learning how to regulate your nervous system through ecological practices
Joining groups engaged in environmental activism or rewilding projects