This unique program, offered online over the course of 13 weeks, has the distinct advantage of combining three perspectives from three internationally renowned authors, educators, and transformational leaders in the fields of Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy. Ecopsychology brings ecology and psychology together to create novel and exciting approaches to the urgent needs of our times. Its most visible face is the practice of Ecotherapy, which emphasizes the synergy between human well-being and the health of the planet. A number of other avenues have been developed, however, including those involving depth psychological engagement with the places where we live, thereby cultivating personal and cultural transformation. In this program, we will also explore Ecopsychology considered as a socially radical project that integrates psychology and ecology by questioning much of the conventional thought and practice currently found in these two arenas. Because the practices and ideas of Ecopsychology are open to everyone, this Certificate neither requires nor confers a license or degree. It is designed to offer a range of concepts, techniques, and strategies by surveying a number of key approaches to Ecopsychology. It will be of interest to anyone—clinicians, coaches, activists, and curious others—looking for a more holistic and engaged way forward.
Each week you will learn from: an audio or video Presentation by Andy, Linda, or Craig; a list of required or recommended Readings/Videos/Resources; online Discussion with the other participants and instructors, based on the responses you post each week to that week’s assignment; and a Live session with one of the instructors. Live sessions will be scheduled at varying times in order to maximize participation, and will be recorded for those who cannot attend a given week. Assignments include indoor and outdoor exercises designed to deepen learning and enrich nature connection.
Required text for Part Two of the course: Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life, 2nd ed. (SUNY Press, 2013). Also recommended for this certificate: Linda Buzzell & Craig Chalquist, Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind (Sierra Club Books, 2009); and Craig Chalquist, Terrapsychology: Re-engaging the Soul of Place. (Spring Journal Books, 2007).
Individual Session Descriptions:
Part One: Setting the Stage: The History of Ecopsychology
This certificate program presents three different perspectives on ecopsychology. As a way to provide a common context for the program and to set the stage for thinking about ecopsychology, we begin by providing a brief history of the field.
Week 1. When did ecopsychology begin? What are its antecedents? In this first session, we will track the rise of ecopsychology as a field. First named as such in the early 1990s, it has “first generation” and “second generation” camps, among others. Where is it going next?
Part Two: Radical Ecopsychology: Meeting at the Crossroads of Psyche, Nature, and Society
This portion of the program is an introduction to Radical Ecopsychology, its five modules progressively building up a whole image of ecopsychology from a radical perspective. To be radical means to go to the roots; it means focusing on deep causes, seeing the big picture, being wide awake. In this spirit, the emphasis of these five weeks is on how a radical, coherent image of ecopsychology allows us to see deeply into the current historical moment and to discern the precise tasks and opportunities the field may best self-organize around. This section of the program also stresses how the numerous intersecting social issues of our times—the unfinished business of history—are unavoidably at the center of the ecopsychological project. A final goal is to help participants build a sense of confidence with the difficult conversations and unconventional methods necessary for transforming psychology into ecopsychology.
Week 2. Radical ecopsychology views ecopsychology as a radical ecological transformation of psychology. This session, then, is about reconstructing psychology in light of an ecological view of reality. This makes ecopsychology something very different than psychology as we have come to know it.
Week 3. Ecopsychology is about remembering the deep interconnection between psyche and nature. Radical ecopsychology frames this as the recollective dimension or side of ecopsychology. What difference does this make?
Week 4.Critical ecopsychology is the other main side of Radical Ecopsychology. It integrates critical psychology and radical ecology in order to produce a unique and powerful critical perspective on our historical moment.
Week 5. An ecopsychological philosophical anthropology is at the heart of Radical Ecopsychology. This means developing a deep, ecopsychological interpretation of human nature—one that provides not only a powerful way to make sense of the crisis of our times but also guidance for how to bear the emotional challenges of living in these times.
Week 6.Ecopsychology as integrative praxis, the final topic, is about finding novel or emergent ways to interconnect psychological, social, and ecological concerns, as well as the recollective and critical sides of ecopsychology. We will focus, in particular, on decolonization as an integrative term.
Part Three: Ecotherapy: Nature-based Healing Practices for Physical, Psychological, and Cultural Well-being
This portion of the program provides an introduction to the growing field of ecotherapy (or as some call it, applied or clinical ecopsychology). We’ll explore the many different ways that a deep green perspective is transforming psychological, social, cultural, and medical healing practices to treat a wide variety of populations and conditions. Students will become aware of the research that supports this transformative evolution and learn about the many increasingly popular nature-based treatment modalities so they can choose those that feel most relevant to their personal or professional goals.
Week 7. Ecotherapy as Evidence-Based Healing Work. Overview of the research and an introduction to the many populations, settings, and conditions that ecotherapy can treat.
Week 8. We’ll explore many modalities that are now emerging into mainstream healing and education, including “wild nature within” practices like nature meditation and guided visualization; garden and farm therapies; animal-facilitated therapies; wilderness and forest experiences; nature-based art therapies.
Week 9. Cultural and Community Ecotherapies; personal and collective eco-resilience. Facilitating the transition to the just and caring nature-compatible world we want to live in. Environmental justice issues. Ecotherapy’s role in treating cultural and climate trauma, cultural and environmental collapse, eco-anxiety and eco-grief.
Week 10. Praxis issues: exploring how to customize ecotherapy treatment to the specific situation; advancing from Level 1 to Level 2 ecotherapy practice; how to avoid cultural appropriation; dealing with legal and ethical concerns; discovering practical ways we can bring our unique healing gifts and understandings of ecopsychology and ecotherapy into our professional careers.
Learning Objectives for CEC Attendees (12 Hours):
Understand ecotherapy as an evidence-based ecopsychological healing practice with many levels and applications.
Cite critical research supporting nature-based interventions, including which populations, settings and conditions they can treat.
Understand the similarities and differences between a wide range of ecotherapies, including horticultural, animal-facilitated, wilderness therapies, forest therapy and art therapies.
Explore the latest thinking on community and cultural ecotherapies.
Address eco-anxiety, eco-grief and climate trauma in climate disaster situations.
Discuss some of the complex legal and ethical issues related to ecotherapy treatments.
Part Four: Earth Dreaming: Ecopsychology as Personal and Cultural Transformative Practice
Welcome to Earthdreaming! In this session, we will learn a number of practices and ideas for delving into what is always present but seldom accessed: our ongoing conversation with our animate surroundings, whether built or natural. Earth dreaming refers to an Ecopsychology rooted in imagination, folkloric storytelling, everyday nature practices, work with dreams, exploration of inner linkages between place and self, and eco-spirituality, all in service to deepening our relations with nature, place, Earth, and of course ourselves and one another.
Week 11. Introduction to Earthdreaming. In this session, we will learn about and practice ways to reconnect with the natural world, including hosting its plant, animal, element, and landscape presences in our dreams.
Week 12. Terrapsychology: Working with the Soul of Place. We will learn about the profound influences exerted on mind and body by the places where we live, influences mostly unconscious but accessible through work with local images and motifs.
Week 13. Enchantivism and Earthrise: Moving into a Bigger Picture. In this session we will find out about and practice methods for linking deep reflection with action in the world via telling stories larger than the cultural problems we face. We will dream together in the mythic light of Earthrise, which Joseph Campbell referred to as a mythic image of our time.
Perspectives on Ecopsychology from the Program Instructors:
Since the mid-1990s, my mission has been to help ecopsychology come to a truer understanding or expression of itself as a field. The defining gesture of ecopsychology—linking human well-being to earthly or planetary well-being—has radical implications that in my view need to be comprehensively developed if the field is to enjoy a unique significance and identity. (By the term “radical,” I refer most simply to a recognition that the big problems of our day are deeper or more thoroughgoing than conventional views are inclined to recognize.) I call my approach Radical Ecopsychology in order to emphasize this inherent radicalness of the field. Adopting a radical approach opens the door to an exciting interdisciplinary adventure that I have found orients our lives in a richly alive and meaningful way as we live through these profoundly uncertain times.
I believe that for humans to survive and thrive on our mother planet into the future, it’s urgent that we come to a deep understanding of the simple fact that humans are part of nature, not separate from or superior to the rest of nature. What happens to the rest of nature happens to us as well–and vice versa. Ultimately there can be no human health on a sick planet. The good news is that research is now proving that conscious, embodied reconnection with the rest of nature is one of the most powerful healing practices we know of for promoting both physical and mental health. As a psychotherapist, it’s my dream that many more people will become aware of and skilled at applying these understandings to the healing of all beings.
Reflecting the biodiversity of the natural world of which we are a part, ecopsychology spreads a large clearing that hosts many important emphases: on ecological science, on social and environmental justice, on therapy and healing, and others, too. My approach focuses on how we relate to the more-than-human world in relations deeper than thought or speech, showing up in the form of symbols, dreams, and other expressions not only of the human unconscious but of its foundations in the natural realm. Here we move beyond psychology onto what some would call a philosophical or spiritual path, but one in close touch with human experience as it relearns its earthly roots.
Andy Fisher, Ph.D., is a major figure in ecopsychology, having tracked and reflected on the development of the field for the last three decades. Author of one of the field’s primary texts, Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (2nd Ed.), he is best known for his critical scholarship and holistic vision of the ecopsychological project. Andy keeps up an active schedule of teaching and writing, while also practicing as a rite of passage guide, mentor, and psychotherapist in private practice. www.andyfisher.ca
Linda Buzzell, LMFT, has been a psychotherapist for more than 40 years and has specialized in ecopsychology and ecotherapy since 2000. She and Craig Chalquist edited the Sierra Club Books anthology Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind, a core text in clinical ecopsychology. She is a member of the editorial board of Ecopsychology, the peer-reviewed journal of the field. Linda is Adjunct Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she taught Pacifica’s Ecotherapy Certificate program in 2015. She was a featured presenter with Joanna Macy at Holos Institute’s 2017 Ecopsychology Conference in Petaluma, CA and at the 2014 Ecotherapy Symposium at the University of Brighton in the UK. In 2002 she founded The International Association for Ecotherapy and edited its journal Ecotherapy News for many years. She blogged on ecopsychology and ecotherapy for 7 years at Huffington Post and is an Admin on the 7500+ Facebook group “Ecopsychology.” She is co-host with Carol Koziol of the Canadian Ecopsychology Network’s Vimeo interview series “Ecopsychology Voices,” featuring conversations with a variety of ecopsychology luminaries from many countries, including UK Jungian ecotherapist Mary-Jayne Rust, Canadian Andy Fisher, Norwegian Per Espen Stoknes plus Americans Craig Chalquist, Carolyn Finney, Lori Pye, Susan Griffin, Jerome Bernstein, Betsy Perluss and many others. In 2006 she received her Permaculture Design Certificate and with her husband Larry Saltzman has created a 1/3 acre backyard food forest around her home that serves as her ecotherapy office.
Craig Chalquist, Ph.D., earned his Ph.D. in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and also holds a Master Gardener certificate and another in permaculture design. He is the author of Terrapsychology: Reengaging the Soul of Place (Spring Journal Books, 2007) and co-editor with Linda Buzzell, MFT, of Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind (Sierra Club Books, 2009). Craig is core faculty in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and former core faculty at John F. Kennedy University, where he served as acting department chair (Consciousness & Transformative Studies), designing and launching the world’s first ecotherapy certificate.
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Disability Service On Campus:
It is the Institute’s goal is to make facilities, programs, and experiences accessible to all members of the community. The Institute works individually with those who are disabled to determine how individual needs can best be met. For additional information regarding Disability Services, please visit https://www.pacifica.edu/student-services/disability-services/.
Continuing Education Credit:
This program meets qualifications for 12 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.
This course meets the qualifications for 12 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.
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