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Ecopsychology and its application as ecotherapy

Ecopsychology and its application as ecotherapy


Ecotherapy is a relatively new development in the field of psychotherapy, but it has made strong inroads to mental health and wellbeing programs in recent years. Challenges that might lead to a lack of confidence in psychologists in taking up and offering this natural form of intervention include the idea of taking clients outdoors and the relative lack of clear boundaries in the therapeutic relationship this shift might indicate. Both issues can be dealt with creatively and productively, however, when practitioners are informed about the robust theoretical and practical frameworks that have developed in the field in recent years. 

From North American doctors prescribing nature (now happening in Australia, as reported by Dr Dimity Williams during her recent webinar), to traditional practices such as Shinrin Roku (or Japanese forest bathing), the evidence is compelling enough to offer a secure base from which any Australian psychologist can now dip their toes into this refreshing stream of therapeutic potential.

Ecopsychology brings psychology back into the evolutionary framework of the natural environment; it is put into practice as ecotherapy, which is becoming increasingly popular internationally.  There is a great deal of evidence for its efficacy and there are various ways to offer ecotherapy, including bringing the client’s relationship with nature and its potential therapeutic value into the clinic, as well as options for taking clients outdoors.

Key take-aways

  • Ecopsychology provides a thorough theoretical base for the integration of environmental factors into the way think about mental health
  • It also explores cultural and historical factors missing in modern socialisation, such as the loss of rituals designed to create a sense of belonging and loyalty to place 
  • Ecotherapy is a set of practices that build in this and can be done indoors or outside
  • Issues of safety and confidentiality can be dealt with effectively and guidance is available 
  • Training in ecotherapy is also available and covers all these factors and more

About our presenter, Dr Geoff Berry

Dr Geoff Berry was awarded his PhD (Monash University 2010) for a thesis that explored the human relationship with nature, as told through light as a vehicle of consciousness. He also completed an MA (Deakin University 2005) about how our dreams link us to powerful mythic patterns and symbols. Geoff has been integrating his scholarly interest in ancestral wisdom and healing traditions with practice, both in academic positions and as a Trauma Informed Carer trainer, for over a decade.

Geoff is the Australian representative to the International Ecopsychology Society and teaches Ecopsychotherapy at Ikon, between his other academic responsibilities. He is an editor of PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, has served as Chairperson of the Melbourne Zen Group (2005-2008), and more recently as the inaugural CEO of the South Coast NSW Aboriginal Elders group (2019-2020). Geoff regularly presents and publishes on ecotherapy, myth, animism, dreams and symbology and his Advanced Ecotherapy Training Course can be found at this website, 


Webinar timing: 7:00 – 8:00 pm AEST

Access to the recording of this webinar: A recording of this webinar will be available through the CPD Webinar Library, but for the best experience and the opportunity to ask your questions, join us live. Everyone who registers will be advised via email as soon as the recording is available. Members have unlimited access to the recording, and non-members will have access for 6 months.

Wednesday, 22 May 2024
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm (AEST)
$0 - $30
1 CPD Points