Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy

Susan Jefts, Center for Distance Learning, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“Ecotherapy and ecopsychology are fields that developed from the same concept, which is that our well-being is inextricably tied to nature. While Ecopsychology is the study of the psychological processes that tie us to the world, or separate us from it, Ecotherapy is applied ecopsychology.  Ecopsychology uses principles of psychology and ecology to explore humans and how we relate to the natural world; Ecotherapy is where the potential for healing lies. It is where therapists and psychologists work with individuals and groups to help them explore their felt connection to the natural world, and how their separation from this world may be related to the distress, depression, and despair they experience in their lives.”

“According to Buzzell and Chalquist, editors of Ecotherapy: Healing With Nature In Mind, “ecotherapy 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.” Words such as ground, being, cycles, and landscape arise often in the vocabulary of both therapists and ecologists. John Davis of the Naropa Institute describes ecopsychology as “encompassing a seamless unity in which nature and psyche flow as expressions of the same ground or source.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site: Follow Sustainability’s board Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy on Pinterest.


Your Brain On Nature, Eva M. Selhub, Alan C. Logan

Biophilia, Edward O. Wilson

Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, Bill Plotkin

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, Daniel Quinn

Learning for Sustainable Living, Werner J. Sattman-Frese

Learning Toward an Ecological Consciousness: Selected Transformative Practices, Edmund O’Sullivan

Environment and Society: Human Perspectives on Environmental Issues, 5th Edition, Charles L. Harper

Nature Guided Therapy: Brief Integrative Strategies for Health and Well Being, George W. Burns

The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology, Theodore Roszak

Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind, Linda Buzzell

Web Resources

Standord Encyclopedia of Philosophy section on environmental ethics:

The Environmental Justice site from the EPA.