The principles of Ecopsychology

In The Voice of the Earth, written in 1992 by Theodore Roszak,  he proposes the principles of Ecopsychology as the following:






  1. The core of the mind is the ecological unconscious. For Ecopsychology, repression of the ecological unconscious is the deepest root of collusive madness in industrial society; open access to the ecological unconscious is the path to sanity.
  2. The contents of the ecological unconscious represent, in some degree, at some level of mentality, the living record of cosmic evolution, tracing back to distant initial conditions in the history of time. Contemporary studies in the ordered complexity of nature tell us that life and mind emerge from this evolutionary tale as culminating natural systems within the unfolding sequence of physical, biologic al, mental and cultural systems we know as “the universe”. Ecopsychology draws upon these findings of the new cosmology, striving to make them real to experience.
  3. Just as it has been the goal of previous therapies to recover the repressed contents of the unconscious, so the goal of Ecopsychology is to awaken the inherent sense of environmental reciprocity that lies within the ecological unconscious. Other therapies seek to heal the alienation between person and person, person and family, person and society. Ecopsychology seeks to heal the more fundamental alienation between the person and the natural environment.
  4. For ecopsychology, as for other therapies, the crucial stage of development is the life of the child. The ecological unconscious is regenerated, as if it were a gift, in the newborn’s enchanted sense of the world. Ecopsychology seeks to recover the child’s innately animistic quality of experience in functionally “sane” adults. To do this, it turns to many sources, among them the traditional healing technique of primary people, nature mysticism as expressed in religion and art, the experience of wilderness, the insights of Deep ecology. It adapts these to the goal of creating the ecological ego.
  5. The ecological ego matures towards a sense of ethical responsibility with the planet that is as vividly experienced as our ethical responsibility to other people. It seeks to weave that responsibility into the fabric of social relations and political decisions.
  6. Among the therapeutic projects most important to Ecopsychology is the re-evaluation of certain compulsivity “masculine” character traits that permeat our structures of political power and which drive us to dominate nature as if it were an alien and rightless realm. In this regard, ecopsychology draws significantly on some (not all) of the insights of ecofeminism and feminist spirituality with a view to demystify the sexual stereotypes.
  7. Whatever contributes to small scale social forms and personal empowerment nourishes the ecological ego. Whatever strives for large-scale domination and the suppression of personhood undermines the ecological eco. Ecopsychology therefore deeply questions the essential sanity of our gargantuan urban-industrial culture, whether capitalistic or collectivistic in its organization. But it does so without necessarily rejecting the technological genius of our species or some life-enhancing measure of the industrial power we have assembled. Ecopsychology is postindustrial not anti-industrial in its social orientation.
  8. Ecopsychology holds that there is a synergistic interplay between planetary and personal well-being. The term “synergy” is chosen deliberately for its traditional theological connotation, which once taught that the human and divine are cooperatively linked in the quest for salvation. The contemporary ecological translation of the term might be: the needs of the planet are the needs of the person, the rights of the person are the rights of the planet.

Do you want to know more about the basics and history of Ecopsychology?

What is Ecopsychology

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Vision and Mission