EcoTherapy

Dr. Cindy Mitchell is a Certified Level I EcoPsychologist and is now offering both individual and group EcoTherapy sessions.

 

What is EcoPsychology?

EcoPsychology is the science of reconnecting humans with the natural world in a manner that heals them from the stressors of a modern-day world.  Many of our current stressors are related to living in a fast-paced technologically driven world in which we spend more time sitting behind a desk staring at a screen as opposed to being out in our natural environment.  This lack of balance with nature is hurting both the human race as well as the earth as a whole.  The significant rise in modern day ailments such as depression and anxiety are the direct result of our disconnection from nature as is the current state of the environment.  As we become more disconnected and unhealthy, the earth is becoming more unhealthy and damaged, and the damage we have done to the environment is having a negative impact on our health.

The only way for us to truly achieve wellness and harmony is to restore our connection with nature and achieve a synergistic relationship with the natural world around us.  EcoTherapist work with clients to help restore that connection.  This includes developing plans to increase daily connections with nature, both indoors (indoor aquariums, plants, animals) and outdoors (forest bathing, nature walks/hikes, gardening).  It also involves addressing eco-guilt, eco-anxiety, and feelings of helplessness about the current state of our environment that many people experience and providing people with a nonjudgmental and safe environment to openly discuss their feelings about what is happening in our world today.  Borrowing strategies from Joanna Macy’s  Work that Reconnects we will use the four steps of The Spiral to help you connect with the pain you experience through the destruction of our beautiful planet and channel that pain and feelings of helplessness many of us experience as result to using The Great Turning to increase hope and help you to take small (or big) steps to make positive change.

EcoTherapy Services Provided

Individual EcoTherapy:  Sessions will take place in both an office setting and in outdoor environments.  Initial sessions will take place in an office setting and will include both traditional therapeutic assessment as well as an EcoTherapy assessment.  As with any therapeutic treatment program, the initial sessions will focus on relationship development and will prepare us to take the therapeutic relationship into an outdoor setting.  We will bring in elements of nature, such as rocks, feathers, shells, and leaves to engage in mindfulness activities and provide you with a space to begin exploring your current relationship with nature and the role nature plays in your life.  We will then progress into an outdoor setting.  This may include doing grounding mindfulness exercises in a natural setting, going for nature hikes and just interacting with nature, doing mindfulness and gratitude hikes, writing poetry or engaging in other art forms while in nature, and journaling about your experiences.  There may also be times, depending on your readiness, that we may engage in more intense physical activity in nature to induce some distress and practice being able to apply skills learned in therapy to work through the distress and discuss how to generalize these skills to other distressing situations one may encounter in day-to-day life.  Your readiness will be assessed at all points throughout the therapeutic process and you will not be asked to do anything that is outside of your comfort zone.  This is a process we will engage in together and I will be with you every step of the way.

Group EcoTherapy:  Depending on the issues that you are struggling with, it may be recommended that you participate in Group EcoTherapy in addition or in place of individual EcoTherapy sessions.  These sessions are not mandatory but may provide important added benefits that cannot be achieved with individual EcoTherapy alone.  These sessions will provide you with the opportunity to interact with others who are experiencing similar situations to what you are experiencing and realize that you are not alone in what you are experiencing.  There is also a dynamic that occurs in group therapy that provides for a greater diversity of perspectives and richness and depth in conversation.  Group therapy sessions will almost always take place in a natural setting and as with individual sessions may include artistic expression, hiking, eco-activism, and/or horticulture.

To schedule an EcoTherapy session with Cindy please call (805) 391-4182 or email drcindymitchell@gmail.com