Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ecopsychology – is Mother Earth in your Family of Origin?

I learned about the concept of ecopsychology at the first Bioneers Conference I attended (see post about Bioneers), and I found it to be very compelling.

Ecopsychology addresses ideas such as: a person's overall health and well-being is related to the health of the environment beyond just their physical health and well-being (i.e. polluted air, water, or food makes you physically sick). In other words, the destruction of the environment would affect a person's mental/emotional health as well. Conversely, living in a healthy ecosystem would increase a person's mental/emotional health as well as their physical health.

This line of thinking leads to considering that say, restoring a wilderness area would not only be 'healing' for the environment, but therapeutic for people as well. Another example could be children's overall well-being could be increased by participating in an urban garden, thinking of it as beyond just a learning experience or a chance to perhaps grow some healthy food.

This may all sound obvious, but such a ingrained part of 'Western civilization' includes ideas about 'taming the wilderness' and controlling nature, that this kind of thinking really goes against the way much of how society is structured. And that includes everything from city planning to the medical system - as well as psychology.

To me all these are connected, and make me think of such things as the 'study' that showed that mothers who lived in housing projects with green areas hit their children less than mothers in housing projects with no green areas, or that hospital patients with a view of trees healed faster than those with a view of a brick wall.

What I think is how healing it can be for both humans and the environment to heal the relationship between humans and nature. Indeed, our survival as a species (as well as the survival of many other species) depends on it.

Here is a wiki page on ecopsychology that has more info plus links:

No comments: