Bringing Nature Indoors or "Indoor Ecotherapy"

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Wigmore, Heidi
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Ecopsychology, a term made popular by Theodore Roszak (1992, 1995), is the theoretical field of human-nature relationships. Ecotherapy is the application of ecopsychology. One manifestation of ecotherapeutic practice is to take therapy outdoors. In practical terms, this may not always be possible, begging the implication as to how ecotherapeutic practice could be brought indoors. The research question was: what is (one version of) indoor ecotherapy? Using an exploratory thematic narrative methodological approach to further develop a theoretical and practical vision of indoor ecotherapy, this thesis examined and developed themes and narratives from the literature, as well as from three in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews of practicing therapists with an ecotherapeutic perspective. In what could be conceived of as an indoor ecotherapy guidebook, a myriad of practices and perspectives from the therapist point-of-view were unearthed: arriving at an ecotherapeutic orientation; having an ecological understanding; situating clients into an ecological mental health paradigm; practicing ethically as an ecotherapist; creating an ecotherapeutic indoor setting; ensuring clients have their eyes wide open to an ecotherapeutic experience; building an ecological context; drawing upon indoor ecotherapeutic practices relating to a person's body, mind, heart, and spirit; including outdoor interactions; understanding the intersection between the social and ecological; and being guided by a basic indoor ecotherapy mantra. Limitations included: access to resources; boundaries of discourse; interviewee sample size; qualifying parameters for recruiting interviewees; and my interpretations as a researcher. Future indoor ecotherapy research includes: applying different qualitative and quantitative research methodologies; framing client experiences; correlating practices with specific presenting client challenges; examining different client populations; expanding the social position of the field; and continuing the social analyses of ecopsychology.
ecopsychology , ecotherapy
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