Ecotherapy is a union between the ideas of ecopsychology and psychotherapy. Fundamental to ecotherapy is our connection to the natural world and the environment we live within. Ecotherapy uses a range of practices in order to help us connect with nature and ultimately with our ‘inner’ nature. Personal distress can be alleviated by developing the mutual connection between inside and outside. Through learning to care for the natural environment we learn to care for and nurture ourselves. Ecotherapy is about personal healing and healing for the earth.
Ecopsychology focuses on our connection with the natural environment. In traditional psychology, the ‘psyche’ is considered in isolation from its natural environment. Ecopsychologists see this split between mind and nature as being at the heart of our current ecological crisis.
“Understanding one’s existence as such is always an understanding of the world”
Psychotherapy aims to help individuals understand and create meaning from emotional and psychological difficulties they are experiencing. Ecotherapy, utilising psychotherapeutic principles, forms a relationship to the natural world in order to enable us to make sense of our inner emotions and life experiences. Spending time in nature provides the space for inward reflection and the potential for transformation as we become conscious of our interconnectivity with the world around us. How we encounter and interpret the natural world creates a personal narrative that gives meaning to our experiences and emotions. We may feel depressed, anxious, lost and alone, overwhelmed by our thoughts and feelings and unable to draw upon previous ways of coping. Psychotherapy in combination with the natural environment allows us to develop new ways of understanding ourselves and feel integrated in our lives.