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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Ecopsychology — A Major New Area Of Study

July 25, 2012

Hundreds of colleges and universities around the world are offering courses and even graduate degrees in ecopsychology and other forms of environmentally focused psychology. Ecopsychology examines the psychological, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of human-nature relationships, concern about environmental issues, and responsibility for protecting natural places and other species. Educators are increasingly recognizing the value of integrating psychology and environmental content to help students appreciate the link between their own well-being and that of the natural world around them. Innovative strategies and techniques for exploring the intersection of these disciplines in the classroom are featured in a special issue of Ecopsychology, a peer-reviewed, online journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. (http://www.liebertpub.com), the issue is available free online at Ecopsychology (http://www.liebertpub.com/eco) website.

As an introduction to the special focus issue of the Journal, the editorial entitled “Teaching Environmentally Focused Psychology (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/eco.2012.0062)” says that “so-called ‘environmental problems’ are really human behavioral problems.” Numerous resources are now available to help teachers introduce students to the concept of the interdependence between their physical and psychological health and that of the planet, including the subdisciplines of ecopsychology, environmental psychology, and conservation psychology.

This special issue of Ecopsychology highlights a variety of approaches that incorporate traditional classroom instruction, inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, and teaching in field settings. It describes unique stand-alone courses and recommendations of activities and assignments that educators can incorporate into existing psychology and environmental science curricula.

“Our special issue, ‘Teaching Ecopsychology and Environmentally-focused Psychology (http://online.liebertpub.com/toc/eco/4/2),’ is one of the first surveys of its kind, and its examples of timely and innovative environmental psychology pedagogy will be a resource and inspiration for educators and students worldwide,” says Editor-in-Chief Thomas Joseph Doherty, PsyD, Graduate School of Counseling, Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR).

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