Eco-Psychotherapy: Synthesising Ecology and Psychotherapy in Practice and TheoryWith Module Speakers:
Guy Dargert, Caroline Frizell, Jo Hamilton, Dr Adrian Harris, Professor Paul Hoggett, Dr Chris Johnstone, Emma Palmer, Paul Maiteny, George Marshall, Hayley Marshall, Rosemary Randall, Professor Christopher Rapley, Mary-Jayne Rust, Nick Totton, Dr Maggie Turp, Sally Weintrobe, Joanna Wise, ,
- This online resource provides a unique package of lectures and presentations by the speakers below, supported by notes, captions and diagrams
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- The package offers 9 hours of video, accredited as 16 hours CPD including study of module papers
- The literature has been studied in order to offer a reliably researched, hyperlinked bibliography
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So much psychotherapy takes place within the confines of a consulting room. But what happens when therapy takes place in a natural setting – or when the natural world is invited into the narrative of self and other? This module brings together the practices of ecology and psychotherapy to illustrate how engagement with nature, which includes ourselves, is a powerful transformative tool, both in itself and – potentially – when integrated into any therapeutic approach.
This module rests on the principle that by seeing ourselves as part of the biosphere, rather than above or beyond it, we can begin to return to a relationship with the natural conditions that once provided us with the core of our psychological, spiritual and cultural sustenance. We suggest that our rapid withdrawal from nature is the source of damaging alienation from a part of ourselves and the inherent context of our lives. The 16 presenters propose that the biological and ecological field of being is always somewhere present in the relationship and, when embraced through ecologically-aware therapeutic modalities, profound transformation of emotional states can occur.
Guy DargertHealing Emerges from Below
The rod and serpent of Asklepios – the Greek god of healing – serves as the emblem of scientific medicine. Yet it reminds us of the ancient underlying idea that healing emerges from below. It is the earth that brings us wholeness or health. To truly heal we must attend to that which presents itself to us in the form of our symptoms. These manifest both in our personal body/mind and in the greater planetary body/mind of which we are a part. The imagination is a key to admitting these chthonic energies which promote the healing of both self and planet.
Video lecture with slides – 37 minsRead More About The Speaker
Caroline FrizellComing to our Senses
This presentation explores how body-based interventions, such as mirroring and attunement, can reawaken our connection to the Earth as a life-sustaining system. We come to know ourselves through the body and the key to our eco-sensibility lies in the dance between the sensing, feeling animal body and the life force of the physical world around us. This talk was aptly located at the London Wetlands, arguably one of those areas essential for life itself. This is an opportunity to practice reciprocity, as we connect to the delicate balance of our ecology and explore the place of eco-sensibility in our work.
Video lecture with slides – 35 minsRead More About The Speaker
Jo HamiltonCreative processes for climate engagement
We are saturated with expert knowledge of energy problems and solutions. This presentation suggest that moving to a deeper engagement with climate action involves combining the external landscapes of science and politics with people’s emotional worlds and inner narratives. Drawing on research with a community based arts and climate change project in South Wales, we will explore the roles played by creative processes in achieving pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour change, and offer suggestions for how creative processes can be incorporated into energy engagement at a community level.
Video lecture with slides – 23 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr Adrian HarrisMindfulness in Nature
With the therapeutic value of mindfulness and outdoor therapy now well established, mindfulness in nature retreats are increasingly available. These retreats, usually framed as a spiritual practice rather than a therapeutic intervention, are typically facilitated in some remote location and last several days. This presentation offers practical techniques for teaching mindfulness in nature as an element of outdoor therapy with groups or individual clients. These techniques don’t depend on ‘wilderness’ and can easily be integrated into an hour long therapy session. Although there is some discussion of the theoretical context, the talk is primarily concerned with practice.
Video lecture with slides – 27 minsRead More About The Speaker
Professor Paul HoggettClimate change: cultural transformation is possible
We have left action so late there is now no way of avoiding dangerous climate change which does not also require a major transformation in the way in which we live. But surely to say that a cultural transformation is required is to be unrealistic, it is to ask too much of us? The danger is that, overcome by feelings of hopelessness, the self withdraws anxiously into a psychic retreat from where facts are accepted but meanings and implications are denied. But there is another way. In our lifetime positive cultural transformations, for example in relation to sexism and homophobia, have been set in motion. What can we learn from these processes of change which might inform the collective action we now require around climate change?
Video lecture with slides – 25 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr Chris JohnstoneInspiring Active Hope
Active Hope is different from being hopeful. It involves starting where we are, identifying what we hope for and then taking action to move that way. Drawing on evidence-based approaches to behaviour change and community carbon reduction, this talk describes practices to inspire Active Hope in ourselves, in the communities we belong to and in the larger society of which we’re part.
Video lecture with slides – 24 minsRead More About The Speaker
Emma PalmerThe Practice of the Wild: starting from where we are
Emma explores how – borrowing the words of Gary Snyder – our ‘practice of the wild’ can be the foundation of our nascent or established practise of ecopsychology and ecotherapy. She invites us to explore a therapy practice of the wild – practice which can take place both indoors and out, potentially taking us to the heart of our own connection and disconnection with ourselves, one another, and other-than-human and more-than-human life.
Video lecture with slides – 42 minsRead More About The Speaker
Paul MaitenyPerson + Planet: basic choices for meaningful healing
Humans seek meaningfulness, satisfaction and quelling of anxiety through two basic, psycho-culturally rooted, choices. The most prevalent is consuming from outside, as if attempting to fill up an emptiness or lack. The cumulative behavioural effects of this are generating eco-systemic degeneration everywhere on planet Earth. Emphasising that humans are, collectively and personally, participants in (or members of) planet Earth’s ecosystem, the contextualising orientation seeks to discern a meaningful sense of contribution or role within it. Contextualising orientation and seems to generate longer term, personally systemic meaningfulness and satisfaction than consuming orientation which requires addictive replenishment. Contextualising is also more sustaining eco-systemically. Both orientations and their implications have long been presaged in the deeper understandings of transpersonal-religious traditions.
Video lecture with slides – 36 minsRead More About The Speaker
George MarshallWhy our brains are wired to ignore climate change
Why, when so many people express concern about climate change, do they find it so hard to talk about or even remember? Drawing on his recent acclaimed book Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, and his expertise on climate communications, George Marshall explains that climate change speaks poorly to our sense of threat and can only be felt is through the medium socially constructed narratives. These may shape disinterest and denial but, if they speak to people’s core values and identity, can be also be a source of strength and hope. We will examine why and how.
Video lecture with slides – 30 minsRead More About The Speaker
Hayley MarshallTaking therapy outside - Reaching for a vital connection
This presentation will sound some of the keynotes and associated elements involved in moving psychotherapy out into natural environments. Referring to personal experience and case material, we will take a metaphorical walk through an outdoor therapeutic space, engaging with the significant considerations that arise through working in this vital setting. Along the way, attention will be given to matters such as relational vitality, expansive relating, and embodied process, all of which can promote a deeper internal connection with personal traumas and ways-of-being in the world. In exploring this unique therapeutic process we will also visit the concordant potential for profound attachment to the places that sustain us, and the implications for both their future and our own.
Video lecture with slides – 48 minsRead More About The Speaker
Rosemary RandallListening to each other: the contribution of Carbon Conversations to collective action
As well as political campaigning, we also need community-based action to encourage and support carbon reduction and the shift to a low-carbon society. Carbon Conversations project, with its system of small groups, draws on and adapts a variety of therapeutic approaches to achieve significant carbon reductions in the lives of participants and develops their capacity to influence others, dealing with issues of loss, anxiety, guilt, self-efficacy and the process of change. This talk will also compare the different experiences of Carbon Conversations groups in England and Scotland which have seen divergent government engagement with climate change since 2010 and discuss the psychological impact of this.
Video lecture with slides – 15 minsRead More About The Speaker
Professor Christopher RapleyHow do we engage people with creating a greener more ethical world?
Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Change at UCL and Director of the Science Museum argues that the ultimate solution to climate change lies in developing a society that does not identify human happiness with material growth.
Video lecture with slides – 36 minsRead More About The Speaker
Mary-Jayne RustBeing in relationship with the earth: A spiritual path?
If climate change is a symptom of our dysfunctional relationship with the earth, a step towards healing includes spending time on the land, listening to, and communing with, the other-than-human world. This opens the door to a different order of reality, an experience of living inside a conscious, sacred matrix; an ancient way of being. Along the way there may be many difficult and painful encounters with the shadow of our dominant culture; when this is honoured our ecological crisis can then become an extraordinary portal of modern times. I will give some examples of how these issues come into sessions with clients and how I might enable clients to make a relationship with Nature. This includes working outdoors.
Video lecture with slides – 46 mins
Follow-up Q & A
Audio with slides – 5 minsRead More About The Speaker
Nick TottonWild Therapy
The Wild Therapy project is about bringing therapy into the wild, but equally about bringing wildness into therapy. Working outdoors in comparatively undomesticated settings encourages us to bring the other-than-human and more-than human – animals, birds, plants, trees, hills, rivers, winds, dreams, ghosts, spirits – into the therapeutic process. Spending time ‘in nature’, as we say, can help us appreciate that we are never anywhere else, always inhabiting and encountering our own nature. In living, working and creating community together, and meeting other species in the outdoors, we may come to a stronger recognition of the interdependence of all beings: moving from a more hardened, human-centric view to a softer recognition of the value of all that lives. Bringing these experiences back indoors, we discover how they change our therapeutic work, moving us to work in a less constrained and habit-bound style when we are in the therapy room, as much as when we are outside.
Video lecture with slides – 32 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr Maggie TurpThe Elusive Global 'We'
Climate change has no colour, no odour and no audible tone. Its effects – measurable and well evidenced as they are – are unpredictable with regard to specifics of where, when and how events will unfold. This situation, along with the absence of an identifiable ‘enemy’, militates against the development of a global ‘we’. This talk will explore the particular nature of such difficulties and identify existing situations where common humanity takes precedence over individual, group and national interests. What can we learn from such examples? And how can we further the development of a concept of oneness as a global community as a basis for acting together in response to the challenges that lie ahead?
Video lecture with slides – 27 mins
Sally WeintrobeThe New Imagination
A vibrant new imagination is currently emerging of a different, sustainable future. Fighting for this future means repairing environmental and social damage, and also repairing our hearts and minds damaged by our current culture of uncare. Understanding the toxic effects of this culture is crucial for change, as without this understanding we are in danger of imagining the future with blind, disaffected or despairing eyes.
Video lecture with slides – 19 minsRead More About The Speaker
Joanna WiseWorking with nature to inspire post-traumatic growth
The seeds of complex trauma are often rooted in early attachment difficulties, emerge from overwhelming traumatic events, and are maintained through continuing nervous system dysregulation. What elements of nature are actively therapeutic, and how can we harness them to help us to regulate a dysregulated nervous system, and – through the use of metaphor and meaning, connection and containment – to establish recovery on solid ground and foster post-traumatic growth and resilience? Recent ideas from a variety of disciplines – for example, affective neuroscience research, sensorimotor psychotherapy, and evidence-based therapeutic site design – as well as hands-on personal experience, will be explored to offer some insights and inspiration as to how we might incorporate the natural world more effectively and confidently into our healing work.
Video lecture with slides – 50 minsRead More About The Speaker