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What is Ecopsycholgy?

We are  disconnecting psychologically from the biotic and physical world that we have evolved with, and this disconnect has negative impacts on human health and psychology (Roszak 1995). According to deep ecologists and Ecopsychologists, among others, the health of the human psyche and the health of the non-human world are completely linked (Roszak 1995; Bragg 1996). We have lost awareness of our ecologic selves—the knowledge that we are completely part of the biotic web around us.


Ecopsychology calls for experiential and emotional connections with the non-human world in order to help foster the discovery of one’s ecologic self and developing the awareness of an ecologic unconscious. These aspects of human awareness are often described with spiritual connotations, and indeed, many authors within Ecopsychology and deep ecology view the natural world with reverence. Within these fields there is a call for direct, sensory experiences in the natural world to increase awareness and a sense of connection (Abram 2011). 

An ecologic unconscious refers to the understanding that the physical and mental well being of humanity is connected to the well being of the planet, and that when one suffers, the other suffers as well (Smith 2010). Conversely, when one is healthy, the other has a better chance of being healthy. The affirmation of the existence of an Ecological Self as well as an Ecologic Unconscious allows for humans to understand and feel that we are completely and inextricably linked to the ecosystem and life around us. We are co-evolving with what we evolved from, and any damage done to the ecosystem around us impacts us because we are part of the web (Naess 1995).


Bragg, Elizabeth A. "Towards ecological self: Deep ecology meets constructionist self-theory." Journal of environmental psychology 16.2 (1996): 93-108.

Naess, Arne, and Gary Snyder. The deep ecology movement: an introductory anthology. Vol. 50. North Atlantic Books, 1995.

Roszak, Theodore Ed, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner. Ecopsychology: Restoring the earth, healing the mind. Sierra Club Books, 1995.

Smith, D. (2010). Is There an Ecological Unconscious? The New York Times. New York, New York Times.

Image by Jeremy Bishop
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