So, what is ecotherapy? "According to Howard Clinebell, who wrote a 1996 book on the topic, ecotherapy refers to healing and growth nurtured by healthy interaction with the earth. He also called it 'green therapy,' and 'earth-centered' therapy."
Linda Buzzell and Craig Chalquist write, "As an umbrella term for nature-based methods of physical and psychological healing, ecotherapy represents a new form of psychotherapy that acknowledges the vital role of nature and addresses the human-nature relationship. It takes into account the latest scientific understandings of our universe and the deepest indigenous wisdom. This perspective addresses the critical fact that people are intimately connected with, embedded in, and inseparable from the rest of nature. Grasping this fact shifts our understanding of how to heal the human psyche and the currently dysfunctional, even lethal, human-nature relationship."
In the foreword to the book, David W. Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont, writes:
"...The promise of ecotherapy lies in the possibility that such work can initiate healing rooted in our affinity with the natural world and can sponsor sanity in a world gone mad. In time it might restore our rootedness in particular places, based not on intellectual abstractions of religion, philosophy, or ideology but on the tug of something already deep inside us. By any name it is a homecoming of sorts to the sights, sounds, smells, sensations, and tastes of the only world we will ever know. It represents a saner kind of sanity and a more rational rationality.I realize that these descriptions may not enable you to understand what ecotherapy actually encompasses, but perhaps this final quote from Buzzell and Chalquist will help.
"Ecotherapy begins with the fact that we indeed live in the lap of a great intelligence, as Emerson once said. It is a practical acknowledgment that health, healing, wholeness, and holy are related not just by linguistic accident but by the fact that they are one and inseparable."
"The contributors to this anthology envision ecotherapeutic healing on many levels and in many contexts. Together they represent a community of practitioners called to write about what they sense so sharply in themselves and in their surroundings: how to begin healing the pain of a world under siege by manic industry and lucrative tehnologized indifference. Having moved beyond psychic numbing into an awareness of the intricate connections between planetary health and human well-being, they have crafted and practiced approaches for reawakening our natural psychological connection to the world."Tomorrow, I'll write about what I've learned that is going to help me deal with the seasonal aspect of my depressions. Stay tuned!