Ecopsychology explores the relationship between personal health and well-being and the health and well-being of our home, the Earth. When the focus is on healing ourselves in nature, it is usually called ecotherapy. When the emphasis is on healing the earth, it is often described as deep ecology. At its best, as in Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects,” ecopsychology works both ways. The Earth cares for us and we need to care for the Earth.
The word “ecopsychology” was coined by historian Theodore Roszak in his 1993 book, Voice of the Earth. He was building on the foundation laid by his own earlier book Person/Planet and the work of environmental educators and therapists such as Michael J. Cohen and Robert Greenway and deep ecologists such as Paul Sheppard and Gary Snyder. Ecopsychology has even deeper roots in the writings of Wordsworth and the other romantic poets, Henry David Thoreau and the transcendentalists, and pioneering naturalists including John Muir and Aldo Leopold.
In recent years ecopsychology has become more mainstream with the publication of Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, the Japanese concept of “forest bathing,” a growing awareness among mental health professionals, urban planners, and educators about the importance of our connection with nature, and increasing concern about the need to care for the natural environment.
The Connecting with Nature sessions led by John Scull provide simple guided meditations which enable individuals to be mindful of their connection with the natural world and to share their insights with others. The activities are based on the work of outdoor educator and ecopsychologist Michael J. Cohen. For each activity, John gives a brief introduction about an aspect of ecopsychology and instructions on the meditation. Participants spend some time alone in nature and then gather together to share their experiences and insights.
Dr. John Scull will once again be leading peaceful nature meditations in Duncan on Saturdays this February. These free sessions are for anyone who might enjoy an hour connecting with nature and sharing the connection with others.
The outings are held in McAdam park along the Cowichan River. The park has level paths so it is accessible to wheelchairs and walkers. At each meeting, John gives a brief talk about ecopsychology that sets the context for the meditation and then brief instructions on the day’s activity. Individuals commune with nature for about 20 minutes, then gather back together and share their experiences. Participants are encouraged to repeat the meditations on their own or with a partner and to apply the results of what they experience in their day-to-day lives.
John’s nature meditations are based on the work of Michael J. Cohen’s Project Nature Connect and on John’s belief that mindful contact with nature can help us find balance and wholeness in our lives.
The free one-hour sessions begin promptly at 1:30 on Saturdays beginning February 3. Meet by the tennis courts on McKinstry Road in Duncan.
Call John at 250-715-5261 or email john@ ecopsychology.org for more information or just show up a few minutes early in sturdy shoes and dressed for the weather.
John is a retired psychologist and university professor.