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Advanced Training Certificate: Ecotherapy, Nature Connection Practices that Heal

September 28 – November 23, 2024

Certificate Program | Offered Live via Zoom

Program Description

This unique program, offered online over 9 weeks, is taught by two of the pioneering practitioners, theorists and educators in the rapidly growing field of ecotherapy. Linda Buzzell is co editor of the core text Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind and Mary-Jayne Rust is author of two seminal books: Towards an Ecopsychotherapy, Confer Books, London 2019 and Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis. Eds M.J. Rust & Nick Totton. Karnac, London 2011. Whether you are a licensed clinician or health care practitioner interested in expanding your current healing practice to include nature-connection therapies, or an educator, guide, coach, social worker, public health expert, artist or community activist, this extensive exploration of the expanding number of ecotherapies will offer new approaches and creative activities to pursue. Ecotherapy focuses on the synergy between human well-being and the health of the planet, so this course also by necessity includes ways to address the psychological and social justice issues raised by the rapidly degenerating human-nature relationship.

Because the practices and ideas of Ecotherapy are open to everyone, this Certificate neither requires nor confers a license or degree. It will be of interest to everyone looking for a more holistic and engaged way forward. The Certificate offers a range of readings, lectures, weekly reflections, and live sessions, so participants will need to make sufficient space in their schedules to learn as much as they can over the 9 weeks.

PROGRAM FORMAT

Each week you will learn from: an audio or video Presentation by Linda, or Mary-Jayne; a list of required or recommended Readings/Videos/Resources; online Discussion with the other participants and instructors, based on the responses you post each week to that week’s assignment; and a Live session with one of the instructors. Live sessions will be scheduled at varying times in order to maximize participation, and will be recorded for those who cannot attend a given week. Assignments include indoor and outdoor exercises designed to deepen learning and enrich nature connection.

Suggested texts:  Linda Buzzell & Craig Chalquist, eds., Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind (Sierra Club Books, 2009) Mary-Jayne Rust, Towards an Ecopsychotherapy, Confer Books, London 2019 and Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis. Eds M.J. Rust & Nick Totton. Karnac, London

 

Live Session Schedule

  • September 28 – Linda, Noon PT
  • October 5 – Linda, Noon PT
  • October 12 – Linda, Noon PT
  • October 19 – Linda, Noon PT
  • October 26 – Linda Noon PT
  • November 2 – Linda, Noon PT
  • November 9 – Mary-Jayne. 10 AM PT
  • November 16 – Mary-Jayne 10 AM PT
  • November 23 – Mary-Jayne and Linda 10 AM PT

INDIVIDUAL SESSION DESCRIPTIONS

Program Sessions

Week 1. The History and Current Practice of Ecotherapy. This introductory lecture explores the origins of ecotherapy and the wide variety of nature connection healing methods now being included in many mental health practices as well as in education, medicine, public health, coaching and social work. Research is showing that many ecotherapies are proving effective with different client populations for treatment of multiple conditions. We also explore some of the scientific studies that underlie this evidence-based practice and the necessity for cultural and social justice as an integral part of all ecotherapeutic practice. (Linda)

Week 2. The Transition from Delusion to Deep Truth. We begin by acknowledging Indigenous nature connection practices as the original ecotherapies, embedded in an Earth-reverent worldview and cosmology and surviving against terrible odds. Those of us who don’t come from intact Indigenous cultures can’t just culturally appropriate others’ sacred practices, however, but need to explore our own ancestry, Earth-centered ancestral traditions, and relationship with Earth where we live, especially if we are settlers in others’ lands. The field of Ecotherapy involves helping people transition conceptually and philosophically from Western industrial culture’s planet-destructive delusion that humans are somehow separate from and superior to the rest of nature (so we can use and abuse the rest of nature as we wish) to the deep truth of interconnection and what Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls Interbeing with all Life and Nature. Without this shift in understanding and worldview, accompanied by powerful emotional and even spiritual experiences, we remain trapped in a limited, narcissistic, human-centric bubble of unreality that is the basic cause of our current ecological disaster. (Linda)

Week 3. Animal-facilitated and Horticultural ecotherapies. For over 200,000 years humans lived in daily, intimate contact with many other animals and plants. Without these evolutionary companions, people in industrial societies now feel a loss, an emptiness and loneliness. We’ll explore the many ecotherapeutic practices now available to help us experience reconnection, including equine-facilitated therapy, garden and park therapy, the rise of care farms for trauma treatment, regenerative agriculture and plant-based medicine. (Linda)

Week 4. Lifestyle and Indoor Ecotherapies. Is the way we’re living in industrial cultures making us (and the planet) sick?  We’ll explore individual and community processes for treating human zoochosis (abnormal animal behavior caused by captivity). Richard Louv calls this illness “nature deficit disorder” and stresses that the need for nature contact exists at all stages of life, from childhood to elderhood. We’ll also look at the many ways to practice ecotherapy even if we don’t have access to outdoor places for meeting with clients. Sometimes the weather isn’t conducive, or a client’s allergies or fear of nature may cause difficulties, or the rules of counseling agencies or insurance companies may intrude. Many ecotherapists have by necessity become creative in exploring ways that nature therapies can be practiced even in an indoor, windowless consulting room or online. (Linda)

Week 5. Outdoor Nature-immersion ecotherapies and Somatic ecotherapies. Author Nick Totton (Wild Therapy) writes about the importance of “undomesticating inner and outer worlds.” Outdoor nature therapies include taking meditative forest walks (shinrin yoku), extended stays in wilder nature, water-based ecotherapies, and nearby-nature practices in local parks. This session explores the many benefits and occasional challenges of taking healing work outdoors, including addressing issues like confidentiality, weather, potential health threats and limited access by poorer communities. In contrast to outdoor ecotherapies, somatic ecotherapy practices focus on healing the relationship between the wild, undomesticated nature within our bodies/minds (not controlled by our ego) and our waking awareness. Somatic healing modalities like yoga, aromatherapy, sacred movement, nutritional awareness, healthy sexuality therapies, meditation or guided imagery can be enriched and transformed if they take a consciously nature-focused approach. (Linda)

Week 6. From Eco-anxiety, Eco-grief and Eco-trauma to Ecoresilience; Community ecotherapies. Ecotherapists are now being called upon to address climate psychology issues and to treat newly-prevalent conditions like eco-anxiety, climate trauma, eco-grief, eco-shame, eco-despair, activist burnout, etc. This session offers a variety of recently-created protocols designed to help individuals and communities process and deal with the trauma and other psychological conditions associated with escalating climate disasters, eco-social turmoil and environmental degradation. We also explore the value of collective, nature-based activism and community living as ecotherapeutic prescriptions that can address the fear, trauma and feelings of hopelessness so many of us now struggle with as planetary conditions worsen at an increasingly rapid pace. Trying to cope individually is a losing stratagem; as Joanna Macy says, “Whatever it is that you’re drawn to do in the Great Turning, don’t even think of doing it alone.” (Linda)

Week 7. Depth Psychology and Ecotherapy. Jung writes, “Without my piece of earth, my life’s work would not have come into being” (Word and Image 1979). Jung remains one of the few psychotherapists whose work and writings are infused with his relationship with Nature, warning of the consequences of losing our connection with both outer and inner nature. This session looks at the challenging work of facing the shadow in our relationship with nature and its potential for transformation and healing. We will explore how dreams, myths and stories are the royal road to the ecological unconscious helping us to work with deep archetypal forces. (Mary-Jayne)

Week 8. Ecospirituality. The Rainmaker Story tells of a Taoist elder who brought rain to a region of great drought in ancient China; it is one of Jung’s favourite stories about returning to a state of natural balance. It is also one of many examples of an ancient worldview where the earth is seen as sacred and humans are part of that sacred matrix. Can we re-discover our own rituals, ceremonies or reverent practices within our modern world which connect us back into relationship with the earth? I will bring some stories about the Ecological Self, a concept central to ecotherapy, which illustrate a more expanded experience of self in relation to land and place, moving beyond our false sense of the individual as separate from (and superior to) Nature. We will also explore how synchronicity and numinous experiences can help us to return to a sense of oneness with nature. (Mary-Jayne)

Week 9: Bringing it all together. This final live online session offers students the opportunity to share how they will be including various ecotherapy practices in their lives and work. (Linda and Mary-Jayne)

Learning Objectives for CEC Attendees (9 Hours):

  1. Identify at least three examples of empirical support for ecotherapy as an evidence-based practice
  2. Identify at least one example of a population, setting and condition appropriate to ecotherapy intervention
  3. Differentiate horticultural, animal-facilitated, wilderness therapies, forest therapy and art therapies as applied methods.
  4. Describe at least two topics which characterize current developments in community and cultural ecotherapies
  5. Formulate an effective intervention addressing eco-anxiety, eco-grief and climate trauma in climate disaster situations.
  6. Describe three ethical issues related to ecotherapy treatments.
  7. Apply criteria for Nature Deficit Disorder to at least two discrete treatment goals
  8. Name one function that ecotherapists might serve as First Responders in treating climate emergency trauma.
  9. Identify two important aspects of ecoresilience.

Program Details

Dates

September 28 – November 23, 2024
Online 9-week course with Linda Buzzell and Mary-Jayne Rust

International participation is encouraged and welcome.

Registrations

  • $895 General Rate
  • $537 Pacifica Extension Student Member Rate (Must be a registered Pacifica Extension Student member)
  • $719 Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate
  • $30 Continuing Education Credits (9 CEC hours)

You have the option of putting down a 50% deposit when registering for the program and paying the remaining balance in installments of your choice until October 18, 2024. You can select this on the registration form.

Limited scholarship and reduced tuition opportunities are available for this program. Please email retreat@pacifica.edu to request a scholarship application form. The deadline for scholarship applications is September 6, 2024.

Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

All of the live Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available to everyone registered for the program. If you watch the recordings and keep up with the online discussion forum you will qualify for the certificate of completion. Live attendance to the Zoom sessions is not necessary unless you are looking to obtain Continuing Education Credits.

About the Teachers

Linda Buzzell

Linda Buzzell, LMFT, has been a psychotherapist for more than 40 years and has specialized in ecopsychology and ecotherapy since 2000. She and Craig Chalquist edited the Sierra Club Books anthology Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind, a core text in clinical ecopsychology. She is a member of the editorial board of Ecopsychology, the peer-reviewed journal of the field. Linda is Adjunct Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she taught Pacifica’s first Ecotherapy Certificate program in 2015. She was a featured presenter with Joanna Macy at Holos Institute’s 2017 Ecopsychology Conference in Petaluma, CA and at the 2014 Ecotherapy Symposium at the University of Brighton in the UK. In 2002 she founded The International Association for Ecotherapy and edited its journal Ecotherapy News for many years. She blogged on ecopsychology and ecotherapy for 7 years at Huffington Post and is an Admin on the 10,900+ Facebook group “Ecopsychology.” She has served as co-host with Carol Koziol of the Canadian Ecopsychology Network’s video interview series “Ecopsychology Voices,” featuring conversations with a variety of ecopsychology luminaries from many countries, including UK Jungian ecopsychotherapist Mary-Jayne Rust, Canadian author of Radical Ecopsychology Andy Fisher, Norwegian ecopsychologist Per Espen Stoknes plus Americans Carl Anthony, Paloma Pavel, Craig Chalquist, Carolyn Finney, Lori Pye, Phoenix Smith, Susan Griffin, Jerome Bernstein, Betsy Perluss, and many others. In 2006 she received her Permaculture Design Certificate and with her husband Larry Saltzman has created a 1/3 acre backyard food forest around her home that serves as her ecotherapy office.

Mary-Jane Mary-Jayne Rust is a psychotherapist of 40yrs experience, inspired by trainings in art therapy, feminist psychotherapy and Jungian analysis. Journeys to Ladakh (on the Tibetan plateau) in the early 1990’s alerted her to the seriousness of the ecological crisis and its cultural, economic and spiritual roots. This led her into the field of ecopsychology which has been the focus of her teaching and writing ever since. Her numerous publications can be found on www.mjrust.net, including Towards an Ecopsychotherapy, Confer Books, London 2019 and Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis. Eds M.J. Rust & Nick Totton. Karnac, London 2011. She grew up beside the sea and is wild about swimming. Now she lives and works beside ancient woodland in Nth London where she has both an indoor and outdoor ecopsychotherapy practice.

General Information

Location

Hosted Online

Cancellations

Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Continuing Education Credit

This program meets qualifications for 9 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

This course meets the qualifications for 9 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

For Registered Nurses through the California Board of Registered Nurses this conference meets qualifications of 9 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177).  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for each program and its content.  Full day attendance is required to receive a certificate.

Continuing Education Goal.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is committed to offering continuing education courses to train LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs to treat any client in an ethically and clinically sound manner based upon current accepted standards of practice.  Course completion certificates will be awarded at the conclusion of the training and upon participant’s submission of his or her completed evaluation.

CECs and Online Program Attendance: Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

Registration Details

September 28 – November 23, 2024

Number of Classes: 9
Class Length: 1 Hour
Class Times: 12 Noon or 10 AM PT
CECs: 9

Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

All of the live Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available to everyone registered for the program. If you watch the recordings and keep up with the online discussion forum you will qualify for the certificate of completion. Live attendance to the Zoom sessions is not necessary unless you are looking to obtain Continuing Education Credits.