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Why Ecopsychology today and why an "Ecopsychology School" today?

by Marcella Danon

Because much of the existential suffering of people - and not only "metropolitan people" - is related to a wrong relationship with the external environment, which is also related to a wrong relationship with the "internal environment", with the inner world... it is difficult to say which one of these problems started first.

Ecopsychology points out the strong relationship between "vision of the self" and "vision of the world" and leads us to see and to use personal growth as a practical tool to develop a deeper environmental consciousness.

We can learn to see and to feel our outer world in a different way only through the conquering of new habits:

  • habits of listening to the voices of our inner world,
  • care for the more delicate and vulnerable aspects of our being,
  • respect for what we don't like in our way of being until we can understand it better, accept it or transform it.

Once we really start to build a creative relationship with the different aspects of our personality, we creatively face different aspects of the world and we interact with life, instead of searching for protection from her. Once we start to know ourselves better, we realize that there are not clear boundaries between what we call "me" and the outer world, and we can't avoid discovering huge unknown inner spaces that hide - and reveal - a wider meaning of life.

A process of personal growth opens us to a wider vision of ourselves and allows us to reconnect to our deepest self. The necessary inner work that brings us toward this goal is the same that brings our consciousness over the boundaries of our little self and opens us to the listening, care and respect for others and for the surrounding world.

Ecological consciousness arouses spontaneously at this point; it is the consequence of a wider comprehension of life itself. The truth that "we are one" with our world is sculptured in our DNA, it is obvious that in tuning with our deeper nature we discover how strictly interconnected with nature and with the outer world we are.

After several years of experience training counselors with a humanistic and existentialist approach, with strong bases in psychosynthesis, I started to bring more and more students towards ecopsychology. We started with week-long summer seminars, then whole day workshops in a natural park and at conferences. The interest grew and I decided to create a school, "Scuola di Ecopsicologia", in order to develop and teach thoughts and techniques complementary to the professional preparations of counselors and psychologists, addressing them toward a specific direction:

  • being able to grasp the existential aspects of contemporary uneasiness,
  • understanding the actual need for a higher meaning to life,
  • pointing people toward a wider image of themselves, through of a path of personal growth
  • helping to develop - starting from people's inner values - an active attitude toward the world,
  • discovering the pleasure of "caring" for the world, not out of fear or guilt, but through a positive feeling of belonging and sharing.

Personal growth as a tool for developing ecological consciousness, renewal of world's vision (from a mechanistic point of view to a holistic one) and reconnection with the earth, are three strong moments of the work of the School. This spring we started a 50 hour professional course recognised by the main Italian counseling association, and we are organising a week-long seminar this summer. In 2006 we will start a 150 hour specialisation in ecopsychological counseling. This is just the beginning...


Marcella Danon is a Psychologist, trainer and counselor at the Scuola di Ecopsicologia

She has written many articles on this theme in Italian. You can find them in an Italian portal with a whole section dedicated to ecopsychology:


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