CHE educational offerings
In 2000, The Centre for Human Ecology was the first organisation to offer Ecopsychology as an academic subject with a module developed and delivered by Brenden Hill and Tania Dolley. From its inception, the CHE’s approach to this inter-disciplinary subject has stressed the personal as well as the planetary aspects of ecology and for many years, a ‘vision quest’ in the wilderness of Knoydart, Scotland, formed the basis of the course. Dave Key and Mary Jane Rust took over the course for some seven years or so and Dave has expanded this model into his current course offerings through Natural Change Facilitators and the EcoSelf Project. This latest incarnation of Ecopsychology by the Centre for Human Ecology was developed by Gerri Smyth (link to Human Ecology Reader), Jane Glenzinska and Paul Maiteny in a way which brings explorations out of the wilderness and into the everyday reality of our lives and which is underpinned by transformative education and holistic learning models. .
What is Ecopsychology?
Ecopsychology is a broad subject matter which blossoms and blurs into overlapping topographies of deep ecology, eastern mysticism, transpersonal psychology, shamanism and even quantum physics. Fundamentally, it is concerned with the process of repositioning the human psyche within the natural world to allow for a reawakening of our ecological selves. Its premise is that we need to fully grasp our culturally conditioned ego-centricity in order to move towards a more holistic and sustainable eco-centricity. We are the first generation to live with the unprecedented reality of a consensual ecocide with our species knowingly extinguishing other species to the extent that brings with it the possibility of extinguishing our own species. So, ecopsychology is, essentially, an inquiry into the popular cultures and often unconscious motivations that have brought us to this point and how this shapes our conscious behaviours, unconscious motivations, our interpersonal relationships, energetic interconnections, our sense of self, our definitions of sanity, our making of meaning and crafting of soul.
Transformative Education/ Holistic Learning
As the subject of Ecopsychology concerns itself with the facilitation of the transformation from ego-centric toward eco-centric ways of being, the course is built upon theoretical foundations of transformative education and holistic learning. At its core, Transformative learning is a process of perspective transformation to include our concepts of self, our convictions and our behaviours.
“Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awarenesses, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy.” O’Sullivan
The tenets of holistic learning are similarly resonant with the subject of Ecopsychology as they attend to the learner’s body, intention, actions, intellect, imagination, intuition, emotions, empathic capacities, psychic and spiritual dimensions all within and as dimensions of the ecosystem. What is honoured as our fundamental mode of knowing in this model is feeling rather than thinking rather than vice versa and it is this that provides the sharpest contrast to mainstream education and the most transformative challenge for participants. It requires individuals to be fully participant in their learning and in the learning of their peers in an intimate, resonant and affective mode where there are no external experts, no lectures and no marks out of 100.
The Holistic learning model would hold that, in attending so closely to ourselves and our transformative journeys towards an eco-centric self, we are able to learn about the larger picture as the holonomic principle, which assert that the whole is represented in each of its parts, comes into play. The co-operative principles of holistic learning are contradictory to the cultural norms which promote independence rather than interdependence and therefore can kick start a shift into a more participatory paradigm.
For more information on Holistic Learning:http://p2pfoundation.net/john_Heron_on_facilitation_and_the_revolution_in_learning
For more information on Transformative Learning:http://www3.telus.net/janetmoore/JMooreJTransfEd.pdf
Ecopsychology course outline
The program aims to offer the opportunity for participants to explore the deeper spiritual and existential questions around sustainability in all senses of the word and what it is to be both human and humane that call out to be addressed at this time in our history. This is done while in direct contact with the earth, away from modern technologies and conveniences, throughout three residential camping weekends. The weekends are aligned as far as possible with May Day, Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox so that we can observe the changes in both season and self.
The course is based on a co-operative inquiry model and as such aims to become a relational and participative on-going spiritual practice for those who attend. Through a holistic experiential learning approach including individual learning contracts, the use of peer groups and peer and self-assessment, the course aims to honour individual differences, encourage student-led learning, facilitate transformative experiences and build a lasting community of inquiry, support and practice.
Weekend One- Spring/ May Day/ Arrival/ Experiential Affective Element/ Creative Coursework set
Weekend Two- Mid-Summer/ Solstice/ Presentational Creative Element/ Theoretical Coursework set
Weekend Three- Autumn Equinox/ Departure/ Theoretical, Critical Thinking Element/ Practical Application considered.
(click images to enlarge)
Who is it for?
While many Ecopsychology courses are aimed exclusively at psychotherapists, this course is aimed at anyone who questions the wisdom of modern day customs and culture, who seeks to explore the complex web of co-creation of and dependence upon the Earth by all species or who yearns for a holistic engagement in questioning what it is to be both human and humane. It is designed to help facilitate a personal transformation from an ego-centric towards an eco-centric self and to allow for engagement to take place through experience, creativity, critical thinking and practical application. It is for those who are willing to re-define social realities, to participate whole-heartedly, to take full responsibility for their learning journey and to forego the comforts and accoutrements of modern lifestyle for three weekends of basic woodland living.
Course dates and venue
The course will be held over three weekends, spanning six months, that are spaced to allow ample time in between for personal exploration and peer group inquiries. The residential weekends are held in the stunning ancient surrounds of Powder Mill Woods, near Battle in East Sussex which includes indoor spaces in a green roofed roundhouse and a spacious and peaceful yurt as well as outdoor spaces around a large fire pit or in a secluded labyrinth. Participants will be required to provide their own tents and equipment though some will be available to borrow with lengthy advanced notice. Food is provided on the first weekend while subsequent weekends will work on a basis of participants bringing food to share. Further details of suggested equipment and living logistics will be made available upon registration for the course.
3rd-5th May 2013
21st-23rd June 2013
6th-8th September 2013
Weekends will begin on Friday evenings and finish on Sunday afternoon. Exact timings can be negotiated according to the needs of participants. We appreciate that most individuals have work and/or family commitments and that many participants travel considerable distances to attend the course and so will make every effort to accommodate these demands as far as possible. However, if you do live at some distance away from Sussex, it is likely that you will need to arrange to have each Friday free for travelling to Powdermill.
The cost for the course is £650 including workshops and residential fees. Terms and conditions as well as methods of payment will be made available upon registration for the course.
In order to apply for a place on the course, please submit a personal statement (no more than 1000 words) that addresses these questions:
* What is it about ecopsychology that interests you?
* How might you apply what you learn about ecopsychology on this course to your everyday life?
* What life experience do you feel you bring that relates to this course?
*What support systems do you have in place to sustain you through a transformative process?
Please send your application and/or any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis and places are limited to a maximum number of 12 participants. The deadline for applications is the 20th of April 2013.
The course is accredited by the Centre for Human Ecology which has been providing post graduate education in subjects concerned with the relationship between human beings and the natural environment for the past 40 years. If you are an accredited psychotherapist or other professional in need of Continuing Professional Development hours, this course counts for up to 40 hours of CPD.
The course will be facilitated by Jane Glenzinska and Paul Maiteny. More information to follow.