Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature

Posted on August 17, 2008 by Amy Lenzo

Natural Attraction Ecology and The Web of Life Model:  Planet Earth Speaks Through 53 Natural Senses For Personal, Social and Environmental Well-Being, by Michael J Cohen

In his new sensory environmental science book, Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature, Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D, demonstrates through a web-of-life ecology model that we inherit at least 53 natural senses and that they guide us to live in peaceful balance with Planet Earth’s global ecosystem and each other. The book documents from our human experience that, to our loss, Industrial Society’s seldom-acknowledged prejudice against nature-and-the-natural  socializes us to injure and suppress most of these natural senses. This disturbance underlies many disorders we suffer.

Cohen, a pioneer environmental educator and psychologist, illustrates in this book’s professionally reviewed dissertation how our assault on our natural senses reduces the sensitivity and sensibility of our thinking and how this deteriorates personal, social and environmental well-being.

When we engage in over 150 sensory nature-connecting activities that Cohen provides, we genuinely unite our 53 natural senses to their nurturing and healing origins in natural areas, backyard or backcountry. He certifies how this tie with authentic nature helps us think with the restorative powers and balance of nature’s self-correcting ways. It enables our reasoning to make choices that increase the well-being of the web of life, including ourselves and each other.

Cohen, the award winning author of Reconnecting With Nature and The Web of Life Imperative, describes how, in 1936, his elementary school insisted that he, a left-handed person, write with his right hand. This stressed and depressed him and he experienced speech, posture, nail-biting and stress disorders. Over the years, as he overcame these difficulties, he discovered that most of the disorders we suffer, including our greed, stress, violence, abuse, depression and addictions, result from an unreasonable prejudice-against-nature that lies deep within Industrial Society. For profit, this prejudice pays us to exploit and injure natural systems in and around us, including our 53 natural senses and their renewing powers. As part of this prejudice, we learn to habitually, yet unnecessarily, spend, on average, over 98 percent of our time and thinking disconnected from the grace of nature’s peace and healing process. This profound separation produces a nature deficit in us that leaves us wanting. We feel that we never have enough and this spawns our excessiveness and the many problems that result from sensory and sensitivity deprivation.

This book’s compelling web of life model explains how and why our 53 natural senses are part of nature’s universal life-guidance system.  They are the means that nature uses to help our thinking and feeling sustain the health of ourselves and the global web-of-life community. In natural areas, Cohen’s nature-connecting activities help us remedy our nature-disconnection disorders. They enable us to build fulfilling and nurturing relationships by co-creating them with nature.

We produce our greatest problems because we seldom learn to think sensibly by using our multitude of natural senses. Instead, to our loss, we injure and drive these senses into our subconscious and then avoid discomforting incidents or stories that would otherwise hook their pain into our awareness.

Cohen’s research has produced a potent, nature-connected remedy that helps us eliminate the underlying source of most of our personal, social and environmental troubles. It is a renewing educating, counseling and healing with nature process, an ecology and spirit model that empowers us to think like nature’s restorative processes work.  Readily available on-line, as well as in “Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature,” it generates tangible, nature-connected learning and relating that constantly heals our wounded natural senses.  It is an effective antidote and preventative for many dysfunctions including Nature Deficit Disorder. It offerss a remedy for our deeper conflicts and our alarming environmental deterioration.  It gives us a practical, environmentally-based psychology that enables our thinking to benefit from nature’s self-correcting and regenerative ways.


Found: a critical sensory science for well-being that we learn to omit from our lives.

Most of us in Industrial Society have enjoyed a walk in the park or other attractive experiences in nature that have relieved our stress or cleared our thinking.  Although we usually take this restoration for granted, the reason that we benefit from the walk is because humanity is part of the web of life and, like everything else, our psyche is renewed by connecting with the grace of nature’s balancing and revitalizing powers.

We seldom learn that our body and mind consist of ten times more cells of other organisms than human cells; over 110 species live on our skin alone and every 2-7 years every atom in us is replaced by atoms from the environment. We are part of Earth’s web-of-life community, it flows through our body, mind and spirit. The destructive effects of excessively disconnecting ourselves from its ways clearly demonstrates that the global ecosystem is the nurturing heart of our lives.

In order to be part of any system, one must be in communication with that system.  We usually ignore that, as part of the global ecosystem, we biologically inherit the ability to communicate with it.

Earth communicates with us, as a facet of itself, through at least 53, not just five, natural senses and sensitivity intelligences. For example, our sense/sensation of thirst intelligently “turns on” to attract us to drink water, to make the global water cycle flow through us. In addition, when we have enough water, thirst reasonably “turns-off” and attracts us to stop drinking. Each of our additional 52 senses are similar attraction intelligences.  Besides our love for water, they include our our love for: community, reason and trust; aroma, place and consciousness; color, taste and motion; belonging, beauty and music along with 41 additional natural sensory attraction loves that we and the web-of-life hold in common.

We unnecessarily suffer because, similar to having a person’s left-handed feelings thwarted, we have learned to ignore or obstruct the biological fulfillment of most of our 53 natural senses. On average, Industrial Society’s unreasonable prejudice to conquer or exploit nature has taught us to disconnect over 98 percent of our time, thinking and feeling from the satisfying and restorative ways of nature’s perfection.

Many problems arise because, due to our excessively indoor lives, we are wounded by natural-sensory deprivation. Our extensive loss of rewarding support from nature’s renewing ways leaves us wanting. We feel that we never have enough and this spawns our excessiveness and many other great problems. We become destructively greedy, stressed, discontent, abusive, depressed and/or chemical and relationship dependent.

Nature knows how to sustain its optimums of life, diversity, balance, purity and cooperation. It does this without producing garbage and with a minimum of greed, abusiveness and insanity. As part of nature, we inherit these natural sensibilities. However, our society’s prejudice against nature injures our natural senses, our innate love to sensibly and peacefully function in balance with ourselves, others and the web of life. We end up  thinking “non-sense,” our disorders result and the peace of our life diminishes.

In natural areas, Cohen’s applied science of nature-connected psychology offers any interested person an ecopsychology remedy for many troubles. Independent of drugs or hallucinogens, and as a scientific tool for shamans, it’s process enables us to reasonably reconnect our thinking to the healing flow of natural systems, in and around us.  Convenient sensory and spiritual contact with nature through this holistic science enables our psyche to recycle the garbage and pollution that Industrial Society has dumped in our mind.  By genuinely connecting our thinking with the web of life, our restored natural senses and feelings help us transform our disorders into the cooperative wellness and love found in nature’s grace.

“We cannot win the battle to increase the well-being of the web of life, that includes our life, without strengthening our natural senses, our emotional bonds with nature  – for we will not fight to save what we do not love.”
~ After Stephen Jay Gould and Jalaluddin Rumi

“Cohen’s work illuminates the ways into and out of our unwarranted prejudice against nature that we perpetuate even when we think we love nature.  Explore through this book what happens when we discover that nature loves us back.”
~ Janet Thomas, Author of the Battle in Seattle, the Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations.

Be the first to leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *