tirsdag 10. august 2010

Ecology and psychology

Ecopsychology brings psychological principles and practices to research on landscape and wellbeing. According to Jungian analyst Mary-Jayne Rust (2004), ecopsychology is a movement that has emerged in the last two decades, attempting to connect psychological and ecological worlds in order to speak about the psychological roots and impact of the current environmental crisis. Rust shows that psychology has entirely been concerned with human relationships “not acknowledging the part that the other-than-human world may play in our lives” (Rust 2002). Ecopsychology argues that not knowing the relationship to the more-than-human world, and acting as if being set apart from this world, has disastrous consequences that are not only ecological, social and economical, but psychological. Most of its practitioners and theorists are based in the USA, and are rooted in humanistic psychology (Searles 1960), and so far research in ecopsychology has come very short, since most work so far is either directed towards its therapeutic relevance OR consisting of theoretical works with little empirical evidence.

Why is ecopsychology important? National health policies in the western world express that the population shall be granted good quality of life and have access to positive environmental qualities. Is it possible to have good quality of life if our environments are poor? From an ecopsychological view, questions of health and wellbeing does not stop with the body’s limit, but extends to the material and immaterial wellbeing of both humans and more-than-human lifemodes. Relationships between humans, society and nature are difficult to understand and study, due partly to the disciplinary division between the natural and the social sciences and differences in theory and method. The emerging discourse ecopsychology, which represents an integration between ecology and psychology, and the new interest for transdisciplinary research practice, for example with a reconceptualization of place, is both important and promising in this respect.

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