In urban centers, the time that children spend in nature is limited not only because of the lack of a close natural environment but also because of their way of life.

The western way of life, fills families and  children-even  from early childhood -with stress, psychosomatic and emotional problems. Anyone who can spend free time in a burdensome daily program of parents and children is exploited using technology and indoor activities. Direct and primary experience in nature has been replaced with minor experiences of children with the use of virtual reality that reduces the senses to sight and hearing. Their activities are isolated in cognitive education and technology, but they offer them a one-dimensional ability to develop their personality and lead them to a “social autism” where their biological potential remains limited. The first research to blend TV into the development of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disruption (ADHD) was done in 2004 by the Children’s Hospital and the Regional Health Center in Seattle, USA, which showed that every hour a pre-school child watches television increases the incidence of concentration difficulties and other 10% attention deficit symptoms. From the University of Illinois, in their research with children, they noticed that the concentration was favored in a natural environment and that children could develop their creativity.

Since the natural environment is the primary source of awakening of the senses, the freedom of the child to discover and to play with it and to perceive the world through its senses, it is necessary for a development at an emotional, perceptual and social level, as well as in the construction of value systems. A rich open natural environment constantly offers opportunities for new experiences as it is a vibrant organization full of opportunities for observation and activation.

At the social level, the child realizes that every element of nature has its importance and is necessary for the life cycle and orderly functioning of the natural chain. Through this discovery, the child can understand and respect the personalities and differences of other children and thus promotes cooperation rather than competitiveness, with any implications.

Unfortunately, the Western way of life is alienated by nature. One of the reasons that may have happened is because nature has been demonized enough as it is even shown through children’s fairy tales as a dangerous place that barks strange and terrifying beings, while in terms of adults, villains and dangerous elements. More generally the urban context is considered to be safer even though it is proven that most of the risks to children are in the family and the wider social environment. On the other hand, the abuse of the natural environment itself avoids dealing with it in retrospect, as the man’s tendency to detract from his life tends to be dispossessed.

Ecopsychology offers the opportunity to alter this alienation with education and experiential workshops in nature, special designed for different  groups of ages of children and with the design and guidance of specialized experts of Ecopsychology in order to mobilize parents, children and communities to bring children to the natural environment to ensure mental balance and the development of healthy personalities

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Kleio Apostolaki
Was born and raised in Athens. She studied Psychology with Clinical Psychology at the University of Kent, U.K. and continued graduate studies -Master in Mental Health at the University of London (King’s College), where she followed direction in Dynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy. In Greece she continued specialization in STAPP (Short-term anxiety provoking psychotherapy) for 2 years. At the same time she has been trained in diagnosis and remediation of dyslexia, psychometric tools and took seminars in mental health of children and adolescents and their families. She has participated as a speaker in numerous national and international conferences, she writes articles in magazines and daily newspapers and has holdings in most television media as a guest expert. Her special relationship with nature, in 2006, directed her in Ecopsychology, when she became a member of the European Ecopsychology Society. In 2009 she received the Diploma of Professional Development in Ecopsychology from the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow. Later she became Dolphin Therapist from Alpha Therapy Institute in Austria. Today is officially recognized as a charter of the European Ecopsychology Society(EES) in Greece by establishing the “Hellenic Ecopsychology Society” and promotes Ecopsychology in Greece as a practitioner and trainer.

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