2025DQ RESP 1

Readings and Discussion Post: Ecopsychology Theory and Therapy

Chalquist, C. (2009); see recommend readings on Ecopsychology,

Pope and Wedding, pp 570 – 600

Discussion Post:

What is Eco-psychology and what is involved in the practice of Eco-therapy



According to Chalquist (2009) Ecotherapy is an umbrella term that encompasses horticultural therapy, wilderness excursions, stress management and some animal-assisted therapy.  These therapies, although potentially outside the norm, connects people psychologically to the world in which they live.  There is a nexus between ecotherapy and biological or anthropological approaches to holistic health of humans.  Chalquist (2009) discusses the history of our modern world, our industrialization and our move indoors and away from nature.  Many factors can lead to our disconnection with the natural world and an increase in mental health problems.  Empirical data has shown that people who garden, walk, ran, cycled or get involved in conservation activities report benefits to their mental health (Chalquist, 2009).

Urban developers must have taken note of this evidence as more modern cities are being built to be inclusive of environmental elements.  Bratman et. al (2019) presented a growing body of empirical evidence that revealed the importance of nature on mental health.  They present a framework for city planners and municipalities to integrate nature into building plans and policies.  Even videos and sounds of nature played indoors can impact cognitive performance and an overall feeling of wellbeing.

According to Roszak (1996), therapists can often forget to make use the calming resource of nature.  Ecopsychologists have begun to detect in people evidence of an unspoken grieving for the great environmental losses the world is suffering (Roszak, p. 1).  Roszak (1996) continues and suggests that the need for nature is relative to Freuds reality principle, which designates an objective order to things.  Even though Freud didnt include nature in his reality principle, Roszak (1996) argues that Ecopsychology is seeking to expand his definition of sanity to include a need and love for the planet like that for a mother or father. 


Bratman, G. N., Anderson, C. B., Berman, M.G., Cochran, B., de Vries, S., Flanders, J., Folke, H., Gross, J. J., Hartig, T., Kahn, P. H., Kuo, M., Lawler, J., Levin, P. S., Lindahl, T., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Mitchell, R., Ouyang, Z., Roe, J., Scarlett, L., Smith, J. R., van den Bosch, M., Wheeler, B. W., White, M. P., Zheng, H., Daily, G. C., (2019). Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective. Science Advances.  https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/5/7/eaax0903.full.pdfLinks to an external site.

Chalquist, C. (2009). A Look at the ecotherapy research evidence. Ecopsychology. 1(2), 64-75.  doi:10.1089/eco.2009.0003.  (Saybrook University library: Mary Ann Liebert database.)

Roszak, T., (1996). The Nature of Sanity. Psychology Today.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/articles/199601/the-nature-sanity

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