You don’t have to be an environmental scientist to recognize that the planet and human life are in danger. Modern lifestyles and practices are eating away at the earth’s renewable resources, and climate change is causing irreversible damage to the place we call home. The good news is there’s still time to make improvements. Ultimately, it boils down to encouraging people to be more environmentally conscious. Fortunately, ecopsychologists can do something to help.
What Is An Ecopsychologist?
An ecopsychologist is a clinically trained mental health expert who incorporates nature’s healing power in their practices. Their main objective is to help patients enhance their physical and emotional well-being by reconnecting with nature. Ecopsychologists use traditional mental health treatment strategies and eco-friendly wellness practices to provide an enriched experience that betters lives and saves the planet.
Common Strategies Used
Ecopsychology stands on the premise that if you can reduce the harm to the earth, you can ultimately enhance the lives of others. They might use strategies such as creating green spaces, holding sessions outdoors, and even using meditation, yoga, and animal-assisted therapies with their patients. Ecopsychologists might also recommend healthy lifestyle changes, suggest nature and wildlife materials to read, and more to emphasize the importance of the environment to one’s overall well-being.
Benefits Of Ecopsychology
Although ecopsychology is still a relatively new field of study, it has proven beneficial. Some advantages to taking this approach to mental health treatment include:
- Strengthens Connection To Nature – Life has a way of disconnecting you from the things that matter most. With so many modern conveniences and daily obligations, many people overlook the importance of nature and its ability to heal the mind and body. Spending time outdoors, interacting with animals, and disconnecting from everyday life’s hustle and bustle helps rebuild the connection between humans and the planet.
- Reduces Stress And Anxiety – Ecopsychology can help ease feelings of stress and anxiety. When people spend time in nature, they’re free from distractions and environments that provoke overwhelming emotions.
- Better Physical Health – Many people are surprised to learn how spending time outdoors and eliminating distractions can benefit their well-being. However, being in nature can equate to more exercise, increased vitamin D, lower stress levels, reduced heart rate, and better pain management. Patients might experience fewer effects from existing health conditions and lower their risk of developing life-altering conditions.
- Encourages Eco-Friendliness – If the reduction of renewable resources and climate change isn’t enough to convince humans to make changes, understanding how nature impacts their well-being may do the trick. As ecopsychology patients reap the benefits of nature-based treatment, they’ll be more inclined to do more to save the planet.
Becoming An Ecopsychologist
If you like the idea of incorporating your passion for the environment into your quest to help others lead happier lives, then becoming an ecopsychologist may be a career choice for you. Because this field is still new, there aren’t many schools that offer ecopsychology degrees. Ultimately, you’ll need to review the requirements for becoming a clinical therapist in your state.
For instance, if you live in Los Angeles, you would evaluate the PsyD programs in California and enroll in the school that best fits your needs. Complete the required coursework, obtain a degree, finish in-field training, meet state licensing requirements, and begin your nature-based career. You can work as a specialist in an existing therapy practice or start your own. As this field of mental health studies continues to evolve, ensure that you’re reading materials, participating in training, and taking courses to enhance your skills to accommodate your patients.
No one person can save the planet themselves. However, if more people start doing the work to encourage others, we can make significant progress together. Although plenty of career opportunities support sustainability, becoming an ecopsychologist can be a rewarding approach to consider. So, why not do your part to help save the earth while assisting others in living the best life possible?
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