ECOPSYCHOLOGY — The Integration of Body, Mind, Soul & Nature
By Shanti Mayberry HHP, Ph.D.
Ecopsychology is a new interdisciplinary field that combines ecological awareness with depth psychology and views personal and planetary well-being as inseparable. The fundamental fact that humans are embedded within and dependent upon the Earth’s vast web of life for survival is the foundation of ecopsychology’s practices and principles.
Traditional psychology, which arose in the urban industrial age, studies humans in relation to their family, behavior, internal beliefs, emotions, memories, dreams and the world of other people and society, but does not consider Nature. Ecopsychology also addresses these myriad realms of human concern, but from an Earth-centered perspective and thereby can provide a deeper healing for our human ills and a therapeutic bridge to a new sustainable lifestyle. It is both the green psychology and spirituality of the environmental movement.
Ecopsychology seeks to reconnect people and Nature through eco-therapies, natural healthcare, Indigenous wisdom, feminine values and the restoration of reverence for the sacred Earth. Our current patriarchal materialistic worldview and its global extractive, exploitive economy are destroying the Earth’s atmosphere and ecosystems. This archaic paradigm assumes humans are separate from Nature and can, therefore, control and exploit all natural resources, regardless of consequences. This assumption is false and is seen as a primary cause of human and planetary suffering by eco-therapists.
We are inhabitants of a larger non-human Earth community that includes animals, birds, rocks and trees. When we learn to deeply bond with the living Earth, we know that we are a part of something much greater than just the human, social world. It then becomes easier to shift into a gentler, slower more humble way of life that is in harmony with the Earth’s laws, cycles and rhythms. From this foundation, we can create a life of greater contentment and meaning, in which we honor Nature as healer, teacher, friend and guide.
“It is time for us to kiss the Earth again It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies, And let the rich life run to the roots again.” Robinson Jeffers