Ecopsychology challenges us to consider what it means to practice therapy in the current global ecological crisis. It questions whether it is still enough or appropriate to limit therapy to practices exclusively between (usually two) people, in the domestic confines of a room with four walls and a ceiling. It calls out the anthropocentric bias inherent in traditional Western psychology, appeals to our deepest, creative selves and requires us, quite literally, to think and feel ‘outside of the box’, so that we might find appropriate and helpful therapeutic responses to the many associated conflicts, divisions and oppressions occurring throughout the World. Developing our competence and confidence to work with the impact of climate catastrophe is perhaps the most immediate imperative for therapists.
This one year ecopsychology training programme, adapted from the Wild Therapy originally pioneered by Nick Totton, is offered to therapy practitioners who feel intuitively drawn to the healing potential of ecopsychology and / or who wish to expand their therapeutic practice. It is principally for qualified or student psychotherapists, counsellors, art therapists, alternative & complimentary therapists, shamanic practitioners, psychologists, coaches, etc., accredited or working towards accreditation with a relevant body and either already working outdoors or thinking of doing so. In taking therapy outside, we will engage in a very tangible way with the other-than-human ‘natural’ world, celebrating our own wildness and the wildness of others. We will explore what happens to the therapeutic frame when we explicitly invite in the other-than-human and how therapy is changed (and how we are changed as therapists) when we embrace wildness in its many forms. We will also explore the therapeutic needs that present as we face the reality of climate chaos and we will develop our capacity to respond.
We will live together, eat together, dream together, imagine together, learn together, laugh together and play together on the growing edges of our therapeutic potential. We might also be angry together, grieve together, fall out together, be anxious together and argue together. In essence, we will attend to whatever emerges spontaneously within us and between us as we gather with the intention of exploring the profound possibilities of healing in this context.
The programme is run over four workshops (14 days/112 contact hours) between March and November. We start on Heir Island, which offers a beautiful balance of domestic and wild spaces. We then move to the acres of ancient woodlands at West Cork’s Manch Project. Finally, we bring wild therapy into the domestic setting of Cork City.
We will learn experientially, by practising wild therapy in solo, pairs, small groups and whole group. The emphasis will be on being-with: ourselves, each other and the other-than-human & more-than-human. This, along with both traditional western psychology and indigenous wisdom, will form the basis for integrating theory, skills and personal development. Precisely what shape the workshops take will be influenced by the needs of the group and what occurs spontaneously as we listen to ourselves and the other-than-human. We will start each day with a social dreaming matrix and be guided by what emerges. Other learning methods are likely to include individual and group process, extended solo space, sitting in council, truth mandala, ritual & ceremony, therapy walks, environmental art, storytelling, body/movement work, skills practice and theory discussion.
28 – 31 March. Three Day Residential at Heir Island Retreat Centre
29 May – 2 June. Four Day Residential at the Manch Project
13 – 18 August. Five Day Residential at the Manch Project
22 – 23 November. Two Day Non-residential in Cork City (Venue TBC)
Early bird**: €1,100
*cost includes Roaring Water Lodge accommodation on Heir Island, camping at the Manch Project and all meals during the three residential workshops.
** book before 1 December 2018 for early bird rate.
Further Information / To Book