© 2021 Linda Buzzell

Ecotherapy can be practiced a number of different ways:

1)     Within the scope of an existing clinical mental health license (ecopsychotherapy is one term for this).

2)     As part of a recognized, credentialed field like medicine, public health, social work, education, etc.

3)     As a stand-alone ecotherapy practice.

And ALL ecotherapies need to have social justice integrated into them.

Any nature-connection practice can offer a healing result, with or without the guidance of a trained ecotherapist. But many healers, educators and guides, credentialed and otherwise, are now focused on the following ecotherapies. The list continues to grow.

1)     Cognitive. Helping people transition conceptually from industrial culture’s planet-destructive Big Lie that humans are separate from and superior to the rest of nature (so we can use and abuse it) to the Deep Truth of interconnection and interbeing with all Life and Nature.

2)     Animal-facilitated ecotherapy, including equine-assisted ecotherapy

3)     Horticultural ecotherapy, focused on healing the human-plant relationship. This can also include plant-based medicine, regenerative agriculture, care farms, nutrition, etc.

4)     Lifestyle ecotherapies. Keeping a Time Diary to track time spent each week indoors vs. outdoors, interacting with screens vs. living beings. Sustainable lifestyle changes are prescribed and supported.

5)     Ecotrauma to Ecoresilience treatment for eco-anxiety, climate trauma, eco-grief, eco-shame, eco-despair, activist burnout, etc.

6)     Nature-immersion outdoor ecotherapy, including forest walks (shinrin yoku), wilderness work, water-based ecotherapies, nearby nature practices.

7)     Somatic ecotherapies, focused on healing the relationship between the wild nature within our bodies and all that lives in and around us. Nutritional therapies and sound therapy can be part of this. Can includes fields like yoga, aromatherapy, sacred movement, dance, sexuality if they take a nature-focused approach.

8)     Meditation outdoors

9)     Ecodreamwork (Earth Dreaming) focused on the conscious ego listening to “wild psyche” within us and throughout Nature.

10)  Music and sound ecotherapies with a nature or outdoor focus

11)  Arts therapies with a nature or outdoor focus.

12)  Terrapsychology. This can include a focus on healing our relationship with place, whether we’re Indigenous to that place or a Settler. Understanding the history, biology and geology wherever we live. Also ancestral, genealogical and even genetic exploration focused on the search for a right relationship with Earth where we live.

13)  Ecospirituality. Earth-based ritual, ceremony, understandings, reverent practices.

All of these ecotherapies can be practiced individually, in small groups or in whole communities. They can also be practiced at Level 1 (simply “using” nature for our own healing) or Level 2 (a reciprocal healing with Nature that focuses on Earth’s wellbeing as well as our own). And as emphasized above, ALL ecotherapies need to have social justice integrated into them, with a focus on environmental justice, access, and active healing from past and present harms.

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