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Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind Paperback – May 12, 2009
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Psychotherapist Buzzell and psychology professor Chalquist (Terrapsychologist) gather 29 contributors to explore traditional psychotherapy at the intersection of the human and the environment. This next-generation update of the Sierra Club's 1995 Ecopsychology finds one of the editors of that volume, Theodore Rosak, comparing society's "relentless pursuit of money" with Aztec "blood sacrifice," and urging all psychologists to challenge the prevailing ethos. Mary E. Gomes, another editor of Ecopsychology, considers an extention of the community circle to "all that lives and all that has left this world," treating lost species "as we would a friend, a family member, a beloved." Buzzell explores the precepts of ecotherapy (probing "human-nature" as well as "human-human" relationships) and its questions ("Are there animals in your life? Special environments where your heart opens and life feels right?"). Chalquist provides an overview of ecotherapy research while exploring the idea that a missing "psychology of homecoming" is the result of an artificial divide between "scientific knowledge" and "indigenous wisdom." Other sections explore ecotherapy in practice, helping couples bond to nature, treating animal trauma, and the healing methods of wilderness therapy.
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That my friends is how ecotherapy is a healing source.
Finally a bridge has emerged to fuse the two seemingly separate worlds of psychology and ecology. Yes indeed a breakthrough. Psychology needs to get out of its head and navel gazing and move into the world AND the world of NATURE where we are intricately interconnected. And ecology (and environmentalism, per se) needs to get out of complaining about our woes and forgo the many guilt trips to discover a way for humans can actually feel and comprehend and act in the world from a centered place of our earth-natured human-ness.
The contributors of this excellent anthology are not merely academic in that stodgy sense but intellectuals who have heart AND are active in their communities. Just to give you some contributor names of outstanding people doing excellent work in real personal and social change (and who are preparing the foundation for whats coming down the pike) include deep ecologist Joanna Macy, peak oil activist Richard Heinberg, Transition Town leader Linda Buzzell, Robert Greenway, Transition Town activist Sarah Edwards, former mayor of Sebastopol Larry Robinson, Bill McKibben, famed Simplicity activist Cecile Andrews, farmer and Vet activist Shepherd Bliss, eco-spiritual publisher Lauren deBoer... and of course the famed one who started it all almost 20 years ago, Theodore Roszak, who initially got my attention decades ago with his excellent Makings of a Counter Culture, as well as the FIRST and seminal work titled Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind.
If you sense that either of these main structures (psychology or ecology) are ill equipped to take us on a journey of a life time, trust that intuition and then take a look at these pioneers who feel nature running in their "soil"ed veins who are courageously offering their new interpretations and stories that use BOTH to give us something different.
It reminds me of when I was at Bioneers a decade ago. I heard a speaker say that we are living here as if we dont need an Earth. That simple statement was an epiphany for me. It radically altered and restructured my direction. The ecopsychologists appeared around the same time and their work has created a movement, a foundation to keep that epiphany alive for myself and many others.
What also blows me away is that many of these contributors of this anthology have been included in the pages of HopeDance (w[...] I must be an ecopsychologist!
Bob Banner, publisher of HopeDance: Radical Solutions Inspiring Hope and the new edibleSanLuisObispo.
I have just recently discovered that it is a growing niche within the field, and that there are others who share my conviction of the importance of reconnecting people to the natural world. I very much needed this book, and the articulate voices here-in,
to nurture my practice (praxis) and find others with whom to build a network.