A Review of Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Patricia H. Hasback. Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species, by John Scull, Ph.D.
John’s review begins:
“There is a confusing tangle of words about the several psychological disciplines related to the environment – environmental psychology, ecological psychology, conservation psychology, human ecology. It is not just confusing for outsiders: When communicating among themselves, psychologists need to explain what they mean because different writers have used these words in different ways. These diverse fields all have one common feature; they are in the mainstream of academic social psychology. They all privilege experiments and other controlled quantitative research over qualitative research and they elevate all kinds of research above anecdotal evidence, clinical experience, opinion, narrative, and philosophy.
Ecopsychology has come from different traditions. The diverse pioneers in the field arrived at ecopsychology from humanistic and transpersonal psychology, experiential environmental education, scientific ecology, systems thinking, and deep ecology. As a result, the field has been much more interdisciplinary than the inclusion of “psychology” in the coined word suggests.”
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by Robin Gates
Western culture has a history of union and subsequent separation from nature. This split between spirit and nature, psyche and soma, intellect and emotion, science, philosophy, and religion, manifests in our individual and collective consciousness creating crises that span the spectrum of human experience, from the psychological to the environmental. Since we have within our unconscious memories of our being in union with nature, it is a matter of recovering them through what Carl Jung called the individuation process; whereby, a person develops one’s unique individuality from that which has been imposed on him or her from the environment. An expansion of consciousness and recovery of the eco-unconscious is achieved by the confrontation with and integration of unconscious material culminating in coniunctio, or union of the opposites. To read the whole essay, download the pdf.
Robin M. Gates is a student in the Psychology Department at Pacifica Graduate Institute, CA, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology. He holds an M.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Philosophy and has been teaching at the college level for over 10 years. This article came as a response to a personal healing journey from an illness which lasted over seven years.