Many Western psychologists focus therapy on the individual/family pathology, without tuning in to the larger context of interconnected beings. Lab and clinical investigations have found that within five minutes of viewing a nature setting positive changes in blood pressure, heart activity, muscle tension, and brain electrical activity occur. The disconnect between humans and nature has caused us to lay waste to our planet but also to ourselves; mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ecotherapy is a call to address the consumerist society that is destroying our earth and ourselves.
The Earthbody Institute’s ‘Online Introduction to Ecotherapy’ helped me engage with the topic of ecotherapy. This course was developed by psychotherapist Ariana Candell, a dance/movement therapist and pioneer in the emerging field of Somatic Ecotherapy. Candell is passionate about transforming the field of psychotherapy to include connecting to the natural world as an essential part of healing. More than ever, people are able to access techniques and guides to apply ecotherapy to their own lives.
I recognized that I had been engaging in ecotherapy throughout my whole life, but I didn’t use the term. Ecotherapy is the healing and nourishing sensations that stem from being out in nature and appreciating nature through walks, food, song, dance, art, and meditation.