A professionally reviewed support
reference for ninelegs.com
Authors note: During the period that editors reviewed
the Counseling and Nature article in this document, microoorganism
studies, published in Science News and Newsweek, gave credence
to part of the article, and these studies are briefly mentioned
To understand the significance
of microorganisms, consider the following: People's relationship
to Planet Earth is like our leg's relationship to our body. We
are ecologically a product and likeness of nature, sharing "one
breath" with all species.
In each immediate moment of
our lives exists the unadulterated creation process of the natural
world. It is part of our personal biology, our natural origins
and sensitivities including our faculty to register sensations,
feelings and spirit.
We are human and "Human"
has its roots in "humus," a fertile forest soil. This
is not a coincidence, biologically, we are like humus. One teaspoon
of humus consists of water, minerals and hundreds of other microorganism
species: five million bacteria, twenty million fungi, one million
protozoa and two hundred thousand algae, all living cooperatively
in balance. This coincides with our bodies containing water,
minerals and ten times as many
cells of non-human microorganism species as human cells, all
living cooperatively in balance. Over half our body weight consists
of the weight of "foreign" microorganism species in
balance with us and each other. They are vital, inextricable
parts of every cell in our body. Over 115 different species live
on our skin alone. All these relationships organize, sustain
and balance themselves via natural
attraction enegies, some of which people can sense.
As it does with humus, the
natural world constantly flows around and through us. Researchers
find that every 5-7 years every molecule in our body is replaced,
particle by particle, by new molecules attracted in from the
environment and vice-versa. The natural environment continually
becomes us and we become it; we are to nature and creation as
an embryo is to its womb; we are one because we are each other.
Keep all this in mind as you
read the article. It helps explain the potent effects of restoring
our connections with nature.
VOLUME 2, ISSUE 4 THE INTERPSYCH NEWSLETTER
(As updated in Chapter 4 The
Web of Life Imperative)
SECTION C: RESEARCH
COUNSELING AND NATURE:
A GREENING OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
Michael J. Cohen
Portland State University
This study identifies the natural
world as a exceptional resource for learning how to therapeutically
build responsible relationships and it offers sensory activities
that let nature teach its wise and balanced ways. Once participants
identify and differentiate their "natural-sensory"
and cognitive "language-reasoning" ways of knowing,
a coloring task challenges them to express in words their natural
sensory knowledge. The task induces stress which disappears when
language is introduced that validates their sensory way of knowing.
This paper observes the dynamics of this transaction and examines
its stress management and mental health implications, It offers
unique nature connecting activities and home study training programs
that reduce stress and reports their mental health and environmental
Many outdoor educators and
therapists confirm my observation of a reduction of social and
psychological problems when our clients are in natural areas.
This reduction parallels the relative absence of psychological
problems and insanity found in nature-centered tribal communities.
It suggests that the purpose of modern psychology and psychotherapy
is to heal the sensory wounds inflicted by Western Civilization's
excessive disconnection from
the natural ways and wisdom of the global life community. My
findings confirm this, for by teaching my clients to use and
own nature connected activities and reasoning, their problems
wane while their wellness, spirit and ability to learn increase
Can sanity truly be measured
by Western Civilization? Do we promote true sanity if we teach
our clients to support and depend upon an irresponsible society?
This paper describes a practical answer to this question, a working
model for responsibly creating personal, social and environmental
balance. Since 1959 I have constantly lived, learned and taught
throughout the seasons in natural areas, the places Thoreau called
"A civilization other than our own". That non-language
civilization taught me how to let its "magic" therapeutically
counsel people. I discovered and use counseling activities that
let Earth itself teach its integrity, a wisdom joy and beauty
devoid of pollution, war and insanity. This was not difficult
to learn once I recognized that as natural beings we are born
with this ability. All I had to do was let Earth nurture it,
and that is how I help others learn it now.
The natural world produces
no garbage. On a macro level, it values everything from proton
to planet. Nothing in nature is discarded or unwanted, a way
of relating that defines unconditional love in action. Scientifically
validating and connecting with nature's "unconditional love"
and its effects allows us to enjoy and benefit from it.
We, as part of life, inherit
the natural world's integrity as our inner nature, a profound
globally shared creation blueprint which too often demeaningly
we call "The little child within us"(Cohen, 1993b).
True education includes learning to read that blueprint, to draw
it out from within and resonate with it, validate it and support
its integrity. Instead, to our cost, society often teaches us
to conquer it within and about us.
Reading the blueprint connects
us to our common origins, that we might start anew to co-create
a truly civilized society rather than become even more personally
and socially "bewildered" (nature-separated). In this
article, I offer critical thinking tools and activities for reading
the non-language blueprint. Appropriately, the tools come from
modern knowledge, from experience with today's science, problems
and relationships (Knapp, 1988), not from other times, environments
and cultures. The tools I use let familiar contact with natural
systems teach us how to enjoyably walk in balance. Counselors,
educators and interpreters increasingly use these tools to reverse
apathy, stress and dysfunction.
Nature seldom sustains itself
by using "techno"-logic meaning: "A thinking logic
that creates artificial stories and techniques". Instead,
the natural world uses "bio" logic. In people, Bio
logic consists of being multisensory, of heeding each moment's
natural attractions that call to our inner nature through our
more than 53 , not just 5, genetically inherited, but culturally
devalued, natural senses and feelings such as thirst, smell or
nurturing. These feelings are ancient, globally evolved memory
signals, multisensory ways of knowing and being for harmonious
survival. For example, not only is water a vital flowing foundation
of life, so, equally, is our natural survival sense and feeling
of thirst. Thirst is a biological memory that re-connects land
beings to water and survival. Thirst fluctuates to self-regulate
our water flow so we neither bloat, burst or dehydrate. The feeling
of thirst makes bio-logic sense as do each of our 52 other natural
senses. And although we seldom describe it as such, most counseling
is multisensory learning, a sensing or re-sensing (remembering)
one or more natural sensations along with their degree of integration,
fulfillment or frustration.
Too often, our techno-logic
words and stories exclude our natural sensory wisdom. Each word,
story or moment that doesn't bring to awareness our natural sensory
interconnectedness further separates us from the support of nature's
multisensory integrity (Cohen 1994). However, an account by Rodney
Romney exemplifies how multisensory experiences with the nature's
web of life sensibly modify human
behavior: In Scotland, farmers were overturning their hay bales
to exterminate rats that lived beneath them. A trio of rats tried
to flee but, unlike the other
fleeing rats, these three stayed closely together which limited
their ability to escape. Upon investigation, the farmers found
that the middle rat of the three was blind; its companions were
guiding it to safety. Deeply moved, the farmers did not kill
The farmers responded to many
natural senses and feelings triggered by the incident including
consciousness, sight, nurturing, place, curiosity, hunger, motion,
trust, empathy, sound, compassion, community and reason. We sometimes
call this response human morality, values, ethics, or being humane.
However, these words separate us from a truth of nature. They
hide that natural senses are nature expressing itself, for natural
senses are solely of, by and from the natural world. Note that
the rats "morally" responded to the same group of senses
and rats have done so for millions of years before humanity evolved.
We observe similar animal and plant behavior throughout the natural
world. However, our culturally ingrained, prejudicial anti-nature
stories prevent us from saying the farmers acted naturally, like
rats, pigs or fungi.
Many researchers validate that
psychologically and physiologically, a human being's inner nature
consists of a variety of distinct, different natural sensations
that we call faculties or instincts (Cohen, 1994; Murchie, 1978;
Pearce, 1980; Rivlin -Gravelle, 1984; Rovee-Collier, 1992; Samples,
1976; Stevens, 1993; Spelke, 1992; Wynne-Edwards, 1991). They
include senses like color, thirst, language, smell, taste, consciousness,
excretion, belonging, space, distance, form, temperature and
touch. Each is unique, each offers a specific message and wisdom.
Each is a natural intelligence. Note that reasoning, language
and consciousness are also natural senses that serve a survival
function in nature. In some form and intensity, each sense or
sensitivity pervades the natural world including our inner nature.
Since the Spring of 1993, Institute
of Global Education, Department of Integrated Ecology instructors
and associates have completed an informal study of over 4100
people, mostly aged 16-51, of differing occupations (Cohen, 1993a).
Our object was to determine if we could observe
the effects of separating people from nature by assigning inappropriate
words and labels to a person's sensory inner nature. We did this
by first asking the study participants
"When did you first learn
to know the color Green?
Participants responses fell
into two main categories.
A. Some participants remembered when they learned
to associate the word green with their green color sensation,
thereby knowing green by its name or label. For example: "I
remember that my parents told me that the name for the color
of the grass and trees was green."
B. Some participants recognized that they naturally
registered green (greenness) as a sense or sensation at birth
or before: For example "Like many other species, I was biologically
born knowing green. It is a God thing. I could naturally sense
and distinguish the green grass from the blue sky even though
at the time, I didn't know the names of their colors."
So we know green in two ways:
by the biological, inborn natural color sense (sensitivity) to
green (greenness) and by the word-symbol green which labels that
sensitivity. However, consider the following findings and considerations
of the study:
When Carol was an infant learning
to talk, her father, an experimental psychologist, used her as
an experiment. He purposely taught her that the name for the
color green was orange and the name for orange was green. The
word and the color bonded. Today she is 34 years old and she
still gets confused when naming these colors. She still tends
to call orange green and green orange. Carol often "thinks
about" and "figures out" the correct terms for
these colors rather than automatically knowing them. Sometimes
she feels stupid and stressed for having to do so, sometimes
she still mistakes one for the other.
We found several participants
who said they had similar experiences with color, and with other
areas too, for example left-handedness:
"The teacher broke my
left had by hitting it with a ruler because I wrote with it."
"Unfortunately, as a lefty,
I did not learn to write left handed--I learned right handed,
if you want to call it learning. Today, the only way I can communicate
in writing without an interpreter is via typewritten characters."
"I must wear a red glove
on my left hand and a green one on my right while sailing in
order to tell port from starboard."
"Writing with my right
hand stressed me, it resulted in me biting my fingernails."
Consider this scenario: A teacher
tells her first grade class "Today we are going to learn
green" and a child says "I don't need to learn that
again, I've known green since before I was born." The teacher
responds "Can you read 'green'? Can you write 'green'? Can
you spell it or tell me how many times it appears on this chart?
If you can't, you are ignorant, illiterate, a failure, a problem
for yourself and society." The color green, a vital natural
part of the child, experiences itself as garbage, something unknown
in nature, something that is rejected and unsupported. How can
this part naturally find its identity? It senses abandonment
and a child's natural self inherently knows abandonment to be
death, for nothing survives without support in nature. So much
for the child's security, self-esteem and self-confidence in
this sensory area until his or her scholastic skills are achieved.
Hopefully other intact ways
of being support the child through this period, but many of them
are under assault too. In all too many young people we see violence,
tranquilization and dependencies used to relieve the discomforting
hole we dig by not learning to validate nature within and about
us. Too often we call this process normal adolescence or rebellion
against authority, too often our nature-blind eyes don't even
see the hole.
Can we learn to feel good about
ourselves as natural beings in a nature separated society? As
a control for this task, we first asked participants if they
still had their "inner child" natural ability to quickly
distinguish and identify blocks of ink colors that we painted
on a separate page.
We then asked if they were
literate and could apply a name to each color.
We then asked each of our study
participants to verbally call upon their inner nature, their
inborn, non-language, natural sense of color, to express itself,
to do its natural "inner child" thing. The vehicle
we used for this purpose is the list of color names found in
figure 1, not unlike the Strop Test. The words naming the colors
were written in different colored inks (for example, the word
"brown" was written in violet ink). Participants were
asked to quickly go down the color chart list and say aloud the
ink colors, not the color names. For example, the first color
is green, not red.
When using this color chart,
although practically every participant had no difficulty labeling
the control blocks of ink colors, most participants had difficulty
quickly identifying the same ink colors when they spelled out
words. The overwhelming tendency was for participants' culturally
trained sense of language to dominate and, out of habit, or "word
addiction" read the colors as words rather than as colors.
We are not born thinking and communicating with words, we learn
this skill. In addition, when doing this activity quickly, over
40% of the participants "deluded" in that they spoke
a written color name aloud but actually believed they had said
the ink color. For example, in the fifth item in figure 1, Paul
believed he read the ink color correctly even though he said
the word "brown" while seeing the color magenta. If
another person had had not been with him and caught the the error,
Paul would not have known that he made it. It's similar to you,
the reader, perhaps not noticing that the words "the"
and "had" were doubled in the previous sentence until
I now alert you to this fact. The difference is that Paul lost
awareness of a vital sensory signal from his inner nature, not
simply a typographical error.
Participants concluded: "My
trained habitual dependency on using words overwhelmed my natural
sensory inner child, an important, loving natural part of myself.
I had trouble expressing my natural ability to recognize green
in a non-language way." One participant offered: "I
love nature yet I have a hard time loving myself. This helps
explain why." Participants never experienced "difficulty,"
"tension," "conflict" or "stress"
on the last word on the color chart, the word green written in
green ink. In all cases, "Green" written in green ink
felt more sensible, relaxing and attractive than did the other
color words. "It feels like a refreshing oasis", says
Can we learn to feel good about
ourselves as natural beings if we don't first meet the challenge
of bringing into our awareness who we are as natural beings?
This study suggests that our awareness, our consciousness, is
overwhelmingly dominated by 5-leg words and stories that disconnect
us from nature within and about us. We have to learn how to use
language and reasoning get past our stories, to find and validate
our true colors.
OLD-BRAIN AND NEW-BRAIN THINKING
From early in our lives, our
formal and informal education excessively conditions us to bring
the sensory world into our awareness by 5-leg labeling it with
language abstractions -words, symbols and images- and validating
the reasonable cultural meanings of these abstractions. Usually
two different natural sense groups lying in two different parts
of the brain are at work when we "know" something natural
like the color green (Samples 1976):
The Old-Brain: Our natural sense of color lying in
the large, anciently evolved "old-brain" enables us
to experience color as a 4-leg, unlabeled, non-verbal
sensation or feeling. The old-brain registers non-language tensions,
sensations, feelings and emotions. It makes up approximately
87% of the brain and is the home of 51 naturally pervasive sense
groups, some of which I have mentioned. Most of our old brain
sensitivities we inherit from and share with the plant and animal
kingdoms (Cohen, 1994, 1993; Murchie 1978). These natural senses
are facts as real as rocks, oceans and gravity; our desire to
breathe is as much a property of air as is the wind. In multisensory
concert natural sensitivities make the balanced "natural
sense" that is nature's beauty, peace and wisdom, the web
of life. In the natural environment natural sensitivities provide
a non-language, interspecies attraction communion. This communion
permits natural systems to act sensibly as a community, "to
make common sense," "work by consensus," to organize,
preserve and regenerate themselves responsibly, intelligently
and diversely without producing garbage, war, or insanity (Cohen
1994). If assigning these powers to nature and the old brain
seems invalid, consider this: The pervasive natural patterns
that colonies of food seeking bacteria form (in the shape of
the snail vortex, common snowflake, tree branches, and starfish
chiral) result from how individual organisms in these bacterial
communities communicate with each other and disseminate information
throughout the colony. The behavior of these earliest forms of
life shows that they change their behavior in response to changing
environmental conditions, not through random genetic mutation.
They cooperatively signal, calculate, network, regulate and control
their community behavior, then their genes mutate and respond
to environmental conditions. The patterns they produce are the
same as those found in minerals, suggesting that the same process
exists on molecular levels (Lipkin, 1995).
The New-brain: Our two senses of language and reason
lie in our small, more recently evolved, "new-brain"
the neocortex. These two senses learn to know greenness as the
culturally correct, 5-leg word or label (like the word
"green") for sensory experiences. The new-brain makes
up about 13% of the total brain. It creates, experiences, validates
and processes culturally trained symbolism: language, letters,
words, numbers, drawings, logic, abstractions and stories. Society
teaches us to mostly think and reason in new-brain symbols and
stories, be they accurate or inaccurate, destructive or constructive,
limited or wide-ranged.
Our new brain presently manages
the world. Are we satisfied with the effects? Can we learn to
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
From early in our lives, the
ancient sense of color, lying in the old-brain, enables us to
naturally register green color as a sensation. This sense experiences
green directly as "greenness", as a non-language, unadulterated,
unedited, unmediated sensation and feeling experience. The old
brain brings to awareness how we naturally feel and is often
called our inner nature, our inner self, or this sensory global
wisdom is misnamed our inner child. When we operate from the
old brain, in western culture we often say we are being too loving,
emotional, sensitive, childlike, feelingful, intuitive, subjective,
inexperienced, flaky, illiterate, or over reactive. However,
Carl Jung and many others note, "Our feelings are not only
reasonable, they are as discriminating, logical and consistent
as abstract thinking." Natural senses and feelings are the
foundations of bio-logic, of nature's civilization which can
best be unprejudicially measured by its long term survival effects,
by its ability to create an optimum of life and diversity without
producing garbage, insanity or war; without civilization's violence,
stress or pollution.
In the small more recently
evolved new-brain, the neocortex, Western culture often trains
the senses of language and reason to apply cultural words, labels
or stories to the natural senses. We teach the new brain that
it is reasonable to know greenness as the written or spoken word
green, or verde (Spanish) or vert (French) or other words in
different languages and cultures. We applaud it for doing so.
When we operate from senses of language and reason we proudly
say we are literate, cerebral, sensible, abstract, cognitive,
reasonable, logical, educated or thoughtful.
Most of the study participants
were unaware that a cause of their inability to express their
inner nature is that the average American spends over 95% of
his or her life indoors, isolated from nature. Studies indicate
that we spend almost 18,000 critical developmental childhood
hours in classrooms alone. Collectively, we spend less than one
day per person per lifetime in tune with the non-languaged natural
world. We live over 98% of our nature-estranged adult lives abstractly
knowing the natural world through detached words and stories
about it rather than through intimate, non verbal enjoyment of
it. My observations outdoors tell me that our estrangement from
nature restricts our natural sensory inheritance from growing
and strengthening from natural connections with the natural world.
This disconnects us from the wisdom, spirit and peace of nature
and creation. Conversely, when I've sentiently connected people
to natural areas, their problem solving abilities and harmonic
relationships have increased dramatically (Cohen, 1994b).
In America, the stressful anger,
anxiety and sadness catalyzed by our overlooked or rejected natural
feelings depresses us. It fuels our problems at every level.
We are not islands. As we remain estranged from the wisdom, spirit
and unconditional love of the web of life in ourselves, others
and natural areas, our negative personal, social and environmental
indicators rise. Even outdoor education that does not teach us
how to daily validate and fulfill our inner nature's need and
right to be connected, loved and nurtured by nature, does not
resolve these problems (Cohen 1993).
To reverse our troubles we
must reconnect with nature. We must learn to effectively communicate
with nature in order to know its ways and needs. To accomplish
this we must either teach the natural world to speak English
or learn to understand its non-verbal language. The latter course
makes the most sense since we already know nature's sensory callings.
We inherit them, they are our old brain and its many distinct
RECOMMENDATIONS: THE USE OF
The color chart activity is
one of 124 Well Mind, Well Earth nature-connecting activities
(34 key activities are in the companion volumes The
Web of Life Imperative and Reconnecting
With Nature) used by counselors, educators and mental health
workers to catalyze "green in green." These pioneering
applied ecopsychology experiences counteract the adverse effects
of the estrangement of our 53 natural senses from the natural
world (Goldman, 1993). In classrooms, counseling programs, environmental
education, mental health facilities, nature interpretation and
recovery work the activities help teach the new-brain the reasonableness
of discovering, validating and respecting the old-brain and its
sensory connections to nature's wisdom, to part of creation's
higher power (Cohen, 1993, 1994). The activities move participants.
Even when participants learn the activities from our inter
cultural internet e-mail courses or our self
guiding training manuals, we see significant improvement
in their self-esteem for they discover that nature's perfection
outside themselves flourishes within them. (Cohen, 1994b). Nature-
connecting lets the natural world itself teach us to revere nature
in ourselves, others and the environment and we naturally refrain
from hurting that which we hold sacred. This is the new frontier
for counseling psychology. With over 70% of the nation suffering
from stress, with environmental deterioration continuing and
alarming over 85% of the public, counseling with nature holds
a key to our destiny (Cohen 1995).
We have found that the following
activity helpfully introduces the nature-connecting process of
our 109 additional activities (Cohen, 1994a). We reinforce each
of them through journalizing and critically assessing the thoughts,
feelings and reactions arising from them.
The Global Wellness and Unity Activity: In Balance
(from the book The
Web of Life Imperative, Chapter Four by Michael J. Cohen)
Below are some reactions of
other activity participants have shared with each other. You
may add your reaction(s) to a Message Board for others
to read and enjoy. Many interesting responses are located in
"It was hot. Soon after
I asked for permission to visit with the grove of young trees,
a gentle, refreshing breeze came through them. It cooled me,
and the trees waved their leaves at me. It felt good, like the
grove smiled its consent. Thanking the grove strengthened that
feeling as does sharing the experience with you now."
"I was attracted to the
sound of a raven on the rocks ahead. I stopped and sought its
consent for me to enjoy its presence. It began to come closer
and closer, increasing my delight and excitement. That was so
fun and unforgettable. I feel thankful to that experience and
"My whole attraction to
the moss on the rock increased. I felt more intensely than when
I first arrived, it felt like a hug from the planet."
Worthwhile information: To read the fascinating validations
of people who helped develop and have done In Balance With
Earth visit visit http://www.ecopsych.com/archive.html.
A few recent results of the activity are shared at http://www.ecopsych.com/aresults.html
Once Sandy validated that she
could gain good feelings and reverse depression by following
her natural attractions, she made a conscious effort to become
fully involved in that process, For years she shunned walking
up the beautiful moss-covered rock faces that called to her.
She thought they were too steep, wet and slippery, that story
made them unattractive. But on this day, because she decided
that her nature deserved to have good feelings, she followed
her attractions to the beauty and other attractive callings of
the rocks: their color, height, space, form and texture. Moment
by moment she sought the most attractive, therefore safe, next
step across the rocks. With surprise and elation, she easily
climbed them. She then described her fun experience and how nice
it felt. Describing it felt good, and her companions enjoyed
hearing her talk about the experience, and knowing her joy. Sandy
is learning to achieve this same result by following her multisensory
attractions to her friends' inner nature. She is discovering
that the negatives in her life are signals to discover, follow
and enjoy her natural attractions.
activities create thoughtful 4-leg nature-connected moments.
In these enjoyable non-language instants as many as 53 inborn
natural attraction senses safely awaken, play and intensify.
Additional activities immediately 5-leg validate and strengthen
each sensation. This emotionally empowering process connects,
fulfills and renews our inner nature with the natural world's
beauty, wisdom and peace. We feel rejuvenated, more colorful
and thankful and these feelings give us support. They nurture
us, they satisfy our deepest natural wants. As we satisfy these
wants we remove the stress and dependencies that fuel our disorders.
The process triggers green critical thinking that values natural
sensory relationships. It regenerates natural connections and
community within ourselves, others and the land. We become more
knowledgeable, more environmentally and socially responsible.
We feel better." (Cohen, 1994a). Here's the process in action
Linda, an Email course member,
reads her training manual to learn what activity she and her
E-mail partners, who live in many different countries, will to
do this day in their local park, backyard or even a terrarium.
As Linda begins this day's activity, spontaneously, the delicate
sparkle of a water droplet on a fern attracts and delights her.
She does additional activities designed to reinforce this nature
connected sensation and she becomes aware of other times she
has felt it. She also notes her past disconnections from it and
the effects of the loss. Linda goes on-line and shares with her
7-person interact group, her thoughts, feelings and reactions
from her nature connecting experiences . She reacts to her group's
and instructors' posted nature experiences, and to their reactions
to her reactions. It's fun. She feels alive and spirited, supported
and unified by her Email partners and connections to Earth. Her
day brighter, Linda looks forward to further connecting with
people and natural places that attract her. They gain new value
and she finds new self-worth. Because she has done the activity
and knows its effects, she owns it and the joys it can bring
her and others whenever she uses it again.
New brain language-reason disconnections from the natural world
and our sentient inner nature make it difficult for us to fully
experience and express natural feelings. Disconnected and unfulfilled,
our inner nature feels stress and lackluster causing us to excessively
crave natural sensations or depend upon artificial, excessive
and often irresponsible substitutes for them. When we want, there
is never enough and that creates runaway "greed" and
unfulfillment problems. Sensory nature-connecting activities
have shown to help reverse this phenomenon and its adverse personal
and environmental effects by offering safe, responsible, lasting
natural fulfillments. When used in conjunction with counseling
and education, the activities connect participants to the self
regulating wisdom of nature's vitality and spirit (Cohen 1994b).
A dramatic effect of this study
has been for my associates and me to accommodate any counselor
or educator who desires to learn the skills of counseling with
nature. We have made this easy to do through our self-guiding
or its use in conjunction with a free, accredited, e-mail or
correspondence home study program we sponsor internationally.
In this way we implement solutions for our findings as well as
fulfill our hearts' desire for a better world. Our course of
action addresses the underlying problem this paper identifies,
the problem expressed by D. H. Lawrence: "Oh, what a catastrophe,
what a maiming of love when it was made personal, merely personal
feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are bleeding
at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and
stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor blossom,
we plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and expected
it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table."
Just as this study suggests
that stress from our nature disconnected "bleeding roots"
creates the insatiable wants that cause our personal, social
and environmental problems, the guidebook and course we offer
teach how to reverse our nature disconnection problems. Uniquely,
they let any interested person master thoughtful nature reconnecting
activities that dissolve hurt and stress by satisfying our deepest
natural loves, wants and spirit. They teach hands-on education,
counseling and mental health skills that tap the "higher
power" wisdom of nature's creation process. They let tangible
contact with nature nurture responsibility, supportive interpersonal
relationships and ecological literacy.
As did the farmers in their
relationship with the rats, course participants become more enamored
with the natural world and its wise unconditional love. They
also become painfully aware of how we learn to separate from
it, to abuse it and our natural selves to the cost of our mental
and environmental health. Energized by their new sensory connections
to nature in people and places, participants learn to use bio-logic,
they validate their love for nature and they act to reverse their
disconnects as well as protect and preserve the natural environment.
We find that the process of counseling with nature offers new
hope for our troubled times.
A continuation of this article
is found in Ecotherapy:
The Ecology of Gaia, Sensation and Soul.
Cohen, M. (2003) Nine leg Thinking
and Relating, http://www.ninelegs.com
Cohen, M. (1995) Are
You Missing the Missing Link? Proceedings October, 1994
Conference of the Coalition for Education in the Out Of Doors,
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The author dedicates this article
to Sunkyo Kwon whose devoted efforts improved its clarity and
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D. founded and
coordinates Project NatureConnect, a continuing education workshop
and home study program of the University of Global Education,
a United Nations non-governmental organization, where he chairs
the Department of Integrated Ecology on San Juan Island, Washington.
For 33 years, he has established and directed degree granting
environmental outdoor education programs for the Trailside Country
School, Lesley College, and the National Audubon Society. His
8 books and 56 articles include the award winning Connecting
With Nature which is included in his 1993 self-guiding training
With Nature and Well Mind, Well Earth: 97 Environmentally
Sensitive Activities for Stress Management, Spirit and Self-esteem.
Dr. Cohen is the recipient of the 1994
Distinguished World Citizen Award. Contact: P.O. Box 1605,
Friday Harbor WA 98250 (360) 378-6313. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org