It is at the intersection of the therapeutic relationship and the human-nature relationship that all sorts of interesting and profound things start to happen. This is the terrain of eco-psychotherapy.
In one way, eco-psychology is the result of psychology trying to grapple with this “belated concern for the fate of the planet”. As we shall see, until recently, Western psychology has been strangely silent about the natural world that gave rise to it.
So what is eco-psychology? We might say that it is an ecologically informed psychology. As a field, it asks the question, “What would psychology look like if it were grounded in an ecological perspective?”
I’m convinced that through our lack of courage we are undermining our children. In 21st century Australia, “safety is everything”. No running, no touching, no climbing. There it is, we’re all safe, but are we slowly dying on the inside? Is the absolute emphasis on safety actually keeping us safe from harm? I doubt it.
The question at the heart of this inquiry is: What happens when a person spends time alone with nature? The inquiry was born out of a longstanding personal interest in the experience of being alone with nature, and a sense that a deeper experiential understanding of the human-nature connection might contribute to a healthier relationship between humanity and its home planet. The inquiry was conducted over three years between 2014 and 2017.
An article I wrote on the relationship between ayahuasca and therapy recently appeared on psychotherapy.net. You can view the whole article here: Ayahuasca is my therapist - or is it?
"It was about 4am, and the ceremony had concluded. People were making their way from the jungle marquee towards the “temple” and kitchen where hot soup was waiting. Some walked in silence, while others began to talk of their experience. I sat in the circle longer than most, taking in the scene. I had drunk 4 times in total. Each drink taken in an effort to catalyze some sort of non-ordinary experience. The Peruvian curandero chuckling mischievously each time I returned, tapping his head and saying “stubborn, like a donkey,” before offering me another cup of the sacred brew. Despite my four cups, I had sat through the night fairly uneventfully, watching as people sat in silence, moaned, sang, cried, and laughed their way though 6 hours of “medicine” journey."