"The term Ecopsychology was coined by cultural historian Theodore Roszak in his 1992 book The Voice of the Earth, where he addresses industrial culture’s “longstanding, historical gulf between the psychological and the ecological”. Long before this however, Robert Greenway was teaching ‘psychoecology’ in the early 1960s, exploring the wilderness experience and how ‘mind’ and ‘nature’ interact. Roszak et al’s 1995 seminal anthology ‘Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth Healing the Mind’ (See BOOKS) brought together different writers and perspectives in what was already a burgeoning field of exploration and inspiration. Writers ranged from Native American perspectives on our current dislocation, to grief and despair work about environmental destruction and loss of species, to Jungians writing about the collective unconscious, to radical challenges to the rather white constituency of the related ‘Deep Ecology’ movement...
"The seeds of an Ecopsychology movement in the UK began sprouting in the mid 1990s, although prior to this a number of individuals were already involved with Ecopsychology. It has since grown and expressed itself in many interconnected forms throughout the UK... In 1995, a political organisation called Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) was founded. Many different working subgroups emerged out of PCSR and one of them was The PCSR Ecopsychology Group, founded by Hilary Prentice and Tania Dolley. Over time this became a very active group of ten therapists who met monthly in each other’s homes in London.
"While diverse in our theoretical orientations, members of The PCSR Ecopsychology Group shared a commitment to weaving together psychology, ecology, politics and spirituality. Having wrestled with the issues, reviewed the US literature, and wondered what else was going on in the UK, we began to write articles and papers for publication, to run workshops and to speak at conferences. One of our most significant contributions at that time was a keynote speech in the form of a performance at the PCSR AGM in 2000, ‘Therapists on the Titanic’.
"We also connected to the Institute of Deep Ecology (UK) which was inspired by the work of Joanna Macy and John Seed. Since that time, Chris Johnstone ‘s Great Turning Times website and regular newsletter has been an invaluable point of coordination and sharing of information and events about Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology in the UK...
"Hilary Prentice and Tania Dolley thus founded and administered the UK Ecopsychology Network which has existed in loose form since our first ‘networking day’ in London in 1997. This began as a paper-based Network list giving brief details of over 100 individuals throughout the UK (and some international), information on Ecopsychology resources, and a newsletter was produced for a while. There have been several other local Ecopsychology groups meeting in different regions of the UK, and we have organised a number of events and gatherings... Brendan Hill and the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh joined with a group of organisers to hold a major international interdisciplinary five-day conference “For the Love of Nature” in 1999 at Findhorn, Scotland, exploring the relationship between the personal and the planetary. Many of the speakers and workshop leaders were founding figures of the Ecopsychology movement, including Robert Greenway, Sarah Conn, John Seed, Jane Goodall, Warwick Fox, Vandana Shiva, Clare Cooper-Marcus and many other key figures, embracing both academic and experiential contributions. Over 300 people attended.
"Following this successful conference, Joanna Macy and John Seed have made several visits to the UK. John Seed, an Australian Rainforest Activist, has offered Deep Ecology workshops; Joanna Macy has offered intensives in The Work that Reconnects (TWTR), including facilitator training, mostly organised by Alex Wildwood and Chris Johnstone. These experiences have been invaluable for our own process and development of thinking about Ecopsychology. Many people are now facililitating events in the UK as a result; Chris Johnstone and Jenny Mackewn now run a one year facilitator training in TWTR.
"A national Ecopsychology Gathering took place in 2004 at Laurieston Hall, Scotland, organised by Nick Totton, Helene Fletcher, Mary-Jayne Rust and Hilary Prentice, with a similar Gathering in 2005 in Bristol organised by Sandra White and Ronnie Aaronson. Ambra Burls of Anglia Ruskin University has organised conferences within academic and practical contexts in the South East...
"Centre for Human Ecology: In 2000 Brendan Hill and Tania Dolley wrote and taught the first UK Ecopsychology module as part of the MSc in Human Ecology, at the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh. This popular module includes both academic and experiential exploration of our relationship with nature, as part of bridging the split between ‘head’, ‘heart’ and ‘hands’ that often occurs in our culture. Thanks to Jed Swift, Laura Sewall and Will Keepin for their course ‘Ecopsychology for Educators’ in Colorado in 1997 which helped inspire this module! Thanks also to David Devalle for his invaluable contribution. Tania, Brendan and Hilary taught this course until 2005, while Dave Key and Mary-Jayne Rust taught it for the following 7 years. Sadly the CHE Human Ecology Masters no longer exists, but CHE still runs CPD courses, and the ecopsychology module has re-emerged in Brighton taught by Martin Jordan and Jane Glenzinski..."
Resources and articles
- Ecopsychology Network History, organizational web page, accessed September 4, 2012.