August 14, 2016: A Blog has been added to the EcoArt website. The blog will cover EcoArt as well as Applied Ecopsychology entries from both Students and Graduates. If you would like to add something please Contact Us. To review all EcoArt updates please review our What’s New  page.

Self-discovery through Art and Nature

Have you ever felt the unspoken peace of a sunrise? Do you find the sound of waves rippling gently against the lake shore soothing? Do you feel cheered by the voice of a songbird?

If so, you know the power of Nature to heal. You didn’t need to spend years in therapy or in school learning to benefit from these things. Nature touches our soul because we are part of it’s wordless perfection. Born of the web of life, outer Nature connects with our inner nature automatically making us feel more alive, energizing our spirits and clearing our minds.

Eco-Art Therapy is a blending of traditional Art Therapy with the emerging science of Applied Ecopsychology (learning to think, feel and relate like Nature’s wisdom works). It’s a creative process that anyone at anytime can use to consistently think and feel with the unadulterated clarity and happiness that each of us readily enjoys in attractive natural areas. It makes nature not only cathartic, but therapeutic.

Many folks find that words are often inadequate to express their inner most thoughts and feelings so they are turning to these alternative forms of self-understanding and analysis. It is often easier for people to contact underlying hidden beliefs through an art or nature experience than it is through analysis with their logical mind. This is not surprising to researchers and psychologists who are discovering that abstract stories built from the sensory-disconnected use of words are what cause a patient pain, leading him or her to seek therapy in the first place. Simply talking about the problem can further intellectualize and distance one from their emotions.

Both Art Therapy and Applied Ecopsychology seek the same outcome as conventional ‘talk therapy’–personal insight, conflict resolution, inner healing and self-discovery–but go beyond a purely rational discussion of the issues troubling individuals. They attempt to address the gaps in more conventional verbal counseling through a mediated exchange, via art or nature, of information between the repressed areas of one’s personal psyche and their conscious thoughts.

People of diverse ages, faiths and cultures are brought together through the shared language of art and nature. It holds true to our ancestral traditions; respects and honors our differences and highlights our common bonds. The sacred connection of all creation, felt by us through our artwork and personal experiences in nature, will help us bring ancient natural wisdom to the new cultural story, bettering ourselves and the world in which we live.

Dr. Theresa Sweeney