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Ecopsychology for Mental Health: Is It in Agreement With the Christian Bible on Mental Health?

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Answering the Question, "What Is Ecopsychology?"



Not everyone is in perfect agreement with how to define ecopsychology; however, there are some basic characteristics and beliefs that are generally accepted as the core of this system of mental health. Ecopsychology, sometimes called green psychology, environmental psychology, or earth-centered psychology, centers around the belief that mental illness, mental disturbance, acts of violence, unhappiness, restlessness, and destructive behavior patterns are the physical manifestations of alienation from nature or "Mother Earth" as some prefer to call the environment. Believers in ecopsychology, therefore, affirm that man's mental and spiritual problems must be solved by bringing him into harmony and rhythm with his environment. Practitioners of green psychology suggest that the mentally disturbed can be healed by becomming one with nature and by respecting and preserving the world he inhabits. They even propose that man's destruction of Earth's resources is at the root of his mental and spiritual problems.

Questioning the Teachings of Green Psychology



While some people are hopeful that ecopsychology will be the answer for the mentally ill, the criminally insane, and the disturbed soul, others find serious flaws in the core concepts of this mental health system. I will point out some of these flaws from a historical, biblical, and common sense point of view. The history of the civilizations of Earth is filled with acts of extreme violence, jealousy, war, confusion, and innumerable accounts of all forms of mental illness in men, women and children from all walks of life of every society in every nation that ever existed down through the ages. There were no man-made environmental pollutants in those days and the people of old did not destroy the air, the soil, the water or plant life; they didn't destroy any part of the Earth. They practiced organic farming, relied on the natural herbal medicines to prevent, treat, and cure disease and sickness; breathed clean air, many drank clean water, and received plenty of exercise as they worked outdoors in the beauty of nature.

Most everyone who did not belong to Israel, practiced paganism which almost always consisted of worshipping "Mother Earth" or some part of nature: the sun, the moon, the stars, fire, and various animals. None of this, however, was a remedy for mental illness, psychological disturbance, violence, unhappiness or confusion about life. Clearly, ecopsychology has failed in history, why would it work now? Can a man really expect to be healed in his mind and spirit by becomming one with the environment or with something in the environment? Will he somehow "connect" with trees and animals around him or a water fall or a mountain that he sees in the distance? Religious worship of "nature" is as close as one can get to reaching what many thought was harmony with "Mother Earth." Nevertheless, this type of pagan worship never succeeded in eliminating violence, mental disturbance, confusion, or unhappiness.

Most people who are disturbed in their mind or who allow themselves to harbor evil thoughts do not even seek serenity in nature; serenity equals peace and quiet. They have no peace and some are afraid that their conscious will speak to them if things are quiet. Others are understandably unhappy because of circumstances in their life whether they caused them or not. Some people were born into slavery; some innocent people spent the best years of their life in prison, others lived through war, famine and disease. What answers does ecopsychology have for these souls? When God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, he did not do so by telling them to become one with nature, he literally delivered them, and he continues to deliver those who call on him and then obey him. Neither the Bible, nor history can truly support the fundamental teachings of ecopsychology.

Biblical Light on Ecopsychology



Ecopsychologists label acts of violence, immorality, and destructive behavior as manifestations or the consequences of being alienated from nature. But, biblical scripture labels them as the works of the flesh or "sins" and the manifestations and consequences of being alienated from the Creator himself, not his creation. Biblical scripture written by the apostle Paul says, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revellings, and such like, of the which I tell you before as I have also told you in time past that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (KJV, Galations 5:19).

This is only one of a plethora of scriptures that is in sharp disagreement with the teachings of ecopsychology and ecotherapy. The apostle and servant of Christ even went on to say how genuine peace of mind and happiness is attained. He wrote, "But the fruit of the Spirit (of God) is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:22-26).

Again, this is only a sampling of the numerous scriptures that reveal God's counsel for good mental health. It's interesting to learn that Jesus is actually called Counselor in the scriptures (Isaiah 9:6). Do these truths mean that there's no way for anyone to attain peace through the practice of ecopsychology or ecotherapy? A better question might be, "Can a genuine peace be attained by practicing ecopsychology?" There is such thing as false peace. How do we know that? Scripture says that Jesus is man's peace with God and also peace of mind (Romans 5:1, St. John 14:27). Scripture also says that there are false Christs (Matthew 24:24); if there are false Christs, there is such thing as false peace.


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Comments/Comentarios:

Why did Jesus retreat to the wilderness as often as he did? Why did the greatest battle of all time take place in a garden called Gethsemane? Why a stable surrounded by creation including a natural mom and dad because we are nature too. True God and True Man to show us something new. What are we not seeing that is right before our very eyes? Peace and Joy my friends and ponder what this might all be about. Dave. A devout Christian man with healing experiences through the gift of Ecopsychology as a teaching and healing truth, not an alternative religion or spirituality that threatens my relationship with God.
by: Dave Rogge
Posted on 2013-01-25 13:30:30


To Dave:

If retreating to a wilderness is the practice of ecopsychology, why are there people around the world in torment who live in the wilderness? If being in a garden is the practice of ecopsychology, why was Satan able to deceive Eve, and cause the fall of man from grace in the GARDEN of paradise? Why do you not comment on the truth that the Holy Spirit is peace of mind (pointed out in the article with reference to scripture), not being close to nature? How do you explain all of the misery in the world even during times when everyone lived in harmony with nature? Numerous true statements are made in this article. Refute any one of them with fact and scripture. And, please answer every question we've just asked.
by: Heavenly Manna
Posted on 2013-01-25 22:15:27


Ecopsychology is supported by research which demonstrates good outcomes for people suffering from mental illness. MIND, a mental health charity which supports people with mental health issues did research with 2 groups of people suffering from depression and other mental health issues. 1 group walked inside a mall and the other group walked outside in a natural area. Those walking outside had a greater sense of relief from the depression and other mental issues than those walking inside the mall. Other tests and research support the invitation of ecopsychologists to reconnect with nature for our own well- being and the well- being of each other as well as the planet. Ecopsychology is a tool to help people recover from our isolation from the earth and all that supports life. Research shows that we spend 95-97% of our lives inside buildings and vehicles, cut off from nature. Ecopsychology simply invites us back to living in the world humbly with nature and our God rather than closed in our buildings. Why do our youth come back from summer camp so validated and recharged in their faith and connections to God? Why do we go outside for our vacations and spend every bit of time we can outside? Ecopsychology is a growing understanding that we live nature deprived lives and it is simply an invitation to humbly walk out the door of your house and allow your senses to be reconnected to nature. Maybe it is why God placed us in the garden in the first place as you said. Maybe it is why Jesus retreated to the wilderness as often as he did to recharge and reconnect with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Maybe it is why shepherds and animals were the first visitors at the stable. Maybe it is why Jesus chose fishermen and common outside people to carry the message of love to the world. Maybe, just maybe Ecopsychology is our friend rather than an imaginary enemy of some sort. Maybe.
by: David Rogge
Posted on 2013-01-26 05:59:54


To Dave:

Living close to nature and having respect for the natural resources of Earth are very good things. We do not deny that truth. However, to say that living close to nature can treat or prevent mental illness or bring true and lasting peace is another very different thing. You did NOT answer the direct and simple questions we asked you in our last response. Our conversation threads are for learning, which cannot take place if questions are ignored. So, to ensure approval of further comments, please ANSWER those questions that the philosophy behind ecopsychology cannot answer. Christians know that whether close to or far from nature, a healthy mind, body, and spirit is found in the work of the Holy Spirit, who works inside of a person whether that person is close to or far from nature. The Bible tells us that God is the one who gives a sound (healthy) mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The word of God also tells us that Jesus is our COUNSELOR (Isaiah 9:6). And, we pointed out that love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance--things of the MIND are of the Holy Spirit, NOT of the works of nature. Who can refute these scriptures? Let us not attempt to replace the Spirit of God with ecopsychology. A person who refuses Jesus will never know any real peace whether close to or far from nature. This is the truth of the scriptures. Again, please answer the questions that were posed. Also, please take the time to read Mark 5:1-8. You will read of a man who lived close to nature and off of the land. But, he was CRAZY. According to scripture, how was this man healed? This question is added to the ones we requested that you answer. Do we place faith in man's research that can be "fixed" and often leaves out important elements? Or, do we place our faith in the infallible word of God, which is still being lived out in these modern times?
by: Heavenly Manna
Posted on 2013-01-27 11:08:17


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