This detailed reading list started out with a few UK ecopsychologists compiling their five favourite ecopsychology books. It was a difficult task, as you can imagine! Since then new reviews have been added.
If you have a favourite book you would like to add, with a brief review (100 words max please!) do please send it to us. Or if you're a book publisher, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like a book considered for review here.
If you're completely new to ecopsychology this classic book is a useful introduction: Roszak, T et al (eds) Ecopsychology. Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, 1995 San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. An excellent anthology for anyone wishing to find out more about Ecopsychology.For a very extensive deep ecology and ecopsychology bibliography visit Rainforestinfo. Or Goodreads popular ecopsychology book list.
Allen, Ruth., Grounded: How connection with nature can improve our mental and physical wellbeing. 2021, Welbeck Publishing. ‘Grounded’ is an exquisitely produced book by psychotherapist Ruth Allen. Ruth begins by sharing the near shattering of her relationship with nature, with the rest of the book being a testament to her ‘conscious, systematic reconnection’ ever since. ‘Grounded’ is partly personal, as well as including a richness of exercises, stories, research and reflections. Ruth’s desire to understand what it means to be alive is contagious, making for an intelligent, heartfelt introduction to working with the natural world. I can imagine ‘Grounded’ being particularly inspiring for readers new to ‘crafting’ their relationship with nature; moving, reconnecting and rewilding.
Abram, D., The spell of the sensuous: perception and language in a more-than-human world. 1996. Pantheon Books, New York. “Starting from the perspective of western magic and indigenous shamanism, this beautifully written text takes you on a journey deep into the nature of experience and the linguistic complexities of our human experience of nature.” Review by Dave Key.
Bateson, D., Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing through Other Patterns. 2016. Triarchy Press. "A rich weaving of poetry, reflections and longer prose. Bateson introduces the notions of transcontextuality and symmathesy, inviting the reader into systems theory and complex thinking in an expansive and aesthetic way. It's impossible to do justice to the beauty of this book in a short review." Review by Emma Palmer.
Bernstein, Jerome. Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma. 2006. Routledge. “The author is a Jungian Analyst who writes about the emergence of ‘borderland’ experiences – a greater openness to transrational reality – as western psyche changes in relation to our current crises. Part One discusses the big picture. Part Two looks at clinical implications. Part Three builds bridges between Navaho and western healing systems; it is very rare to find an author who is so well steeped in both traditions and who is able to find a language to cross cultures.
See www.borderlanders.com.” Review by M J Rust.
Berry, Thomas. The Great Work. 2000. Three Rivers Press. “This may be the great summary work of Thomas Berry. It is historically up to date, as befits a great historian of religion, science and the Earth. The assessment of the present is realistic to any who appreciate what we have lost. He projects into the future from the past as far as can be seen and hoped. That is a very long distance indeed on both ends. The next stage is dependent on human choice to a large extent. The assessment of where we are and what we have done/accomplished is rather grim and realistic from a geophysical standpoint but is hopeful in its projections for Earth going forward, according to Thomas. Thank you, Thomas Berry, for this perhaps last published summary work. “Anon, Amazon.
Birkeland, Inger. Making Place, Making Self. 2005. Ashgate Press. This is a remarkable book exploring our relationship to place. As a human geographer from Norway, Birkeland becomes fascinated by what draws people to make a journey to the most northerly point of mainland Europe, the North Cape in Norway. While on the surface it would seem to be yet another tourist destination, she takes a look at the deeper layers of what motivates people to go to the compass point “North”. She is first inspired by a Spanish woman, Sofia, who makes the newspaper headlines by walking the 2,100 km from Oslo to the North Cape. Sophia is propelled by the feeling that she is missing something in life and, despite everyone around her believing she is crazy, she gives up everything in her 30’s and sets off. Her mother thinks she has ‘lost her North’, a Spanish saying to describe someone who has lost direction in life and who has decided to do something out of the ordinary. After this, Birkeland interviews a series of people and devotes nine chapters of her book to exploring their very different stories and reasons for making their journeys. She draws on post-lacanian and feminist psychoanalytic thinking, as well as phenomenology and existentialism, to develop themes related to place and space, home and home-coming, sexual difference and subjectivity, travel as rite of passage, chora and the metaphysics of place. Birkeland’s capacity to weave together personal accounts with well argued academic theory makes for a compelling read, and a major contribution to the developing theoretical base of ecopsychology. Review by Mary-Jayne Rust.
Bond, D. Stephenson. Living Myth: Personal Meaning as a Way of Life. 1993. Boston. Shambhala. “A Jungian and psychodynamic analysis of the relationship between human emotions, the need for meaningfulness, culture, behaviour and eco-systems; the relationship between ‘outer’ ecological and ‘inner’ emotional balance; the centrality of meaning, religion and cultural myth-making in ecological sustainability; how these can be functional in terms of sustaining ecological systems, dysfunctional in terms of the same, and how changes from dysfunctional to functional cultural myths depend on individuals who are bold enough to take the risk to be pioneers of new ways of living.” Review by Paul Maiteny.
Boring, F. Mason et al. Returning to Membership in Earth Community: Systemic Constellations with Nature. Human beings are deeply embedded in nature, not separate from it. Systemic Constellations are being used in many different ways to explore both nature within us and our position within nature as we try to find our place in the earth community. This anthology collects reports from both the originators and the latest explorers in this work. The book contains contributions from fourteen individuals working in five different countries in Europe and North American, including Daan van Kampenhout, Victoria Schnabel and Zita Cox, Edited by Francesca Mason-Boring and Kenneth Edwin Sloan. Publication date July 2013, in print and eBook, via Amazon.
Brody, Hugh. The Other Side of Eden. 2001. North Point Press. “Hugh Brody has written a learned, eloquent, and mysteriously moving introduction to the enduring culture of hunter-gatherers. But none of these adjectives does justice to the deeply transformative experience of reading The Other Side of Eden, which led me beyond the limits of familiar mythology, introduced me to people whose lives are radically different from my own, and reminded me, at the same time, that different as they are, hunter-gatherers are an essential piece of my humanity and I cannot truly understand myself without them.” Review by Jonathan Rosen.
Brazier, Caroline. Acorns Among the Grass: Adventures in Eco-Therapy. 2011. O Books. This book presents an approach to working with the environment which embraces the therapeutic and the spiritual, offering a model of working which is sympathetic and creative. incorporating both theoretical understanding and vivid description of experiential work, it will appeal to both the professional and the general reader. Connecting with nature, we open to life in new ways.
Brazier, Caroline. Ecotherapy in Practice: A Buddhist Model. 2017. London: Routledge. "Ecotherapy in Practice is a fabulous wide-ranging tool-box for those who are both new to ecotherapy, as well as more seasoned practitioners, and, particularly as a fellow Buddhist, I know I shall be dipping into it again in the months and years to come. It is an invaluable contribution to the body of ecotherapy and ecopsychology books already available". Review by Emma Palmer.
Burns, George. Nature Guided Therapy – Brief Integrative Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 1998. Taylor & Francis. “This book goes beyond a simple symptom-elimination approach to psychotherapy and integrates our interactions with nature to more likely resolve problems by creating a desired positive affective state. Fascinating evidence from cross-cultural sources and experimental evidence of science, are combined to demonstrate a direct nature-mind-body connection that can be utilised both practically and therapeutically. Burns has done therapists a great service, reminding us…that the world is much larger than the room in which we see our clients. This rich and often moving book is about much more than therapy – it is about the quality and course of our existence on many levels. I recommend it highly – and with a sense of urgency.” Review by Michael D.Yapko.
Butterfly Hill, Julia. The Legacy of Luna. 2000. San Francisco. Harper. “This accessible book describes a young woman’s evolving relationship with a redwood tree, developed over two years of living among her branches to prevent loggers from clear-cutting the redwood forest. Further, it tracks her dialogues with the loggers, rooted in her commitment to loving, non-violent dialogue. Deeply inspiring!” Review by Sandra White.
Buzzell, L., Chalquist, C. Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. 2009 Sierra Club Books. “This anthology is the follow-up to Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, edited by Theodore Roszak, Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner, also published by Sierra Club Books (in 1995). It is the first book to take a broad approach to the practice of applied ecopsychology and ecotherapy”.
Clayton, S. & Opotow, S. (eds). Identity and the natural environment: the psychological significance of nature. 2003 London: MIT Press. “Identity and the Natural Environment is just the right mix of empirical research, statistics and theory for a student of environmental aesthetics, ethics and social dynamics. The movement between ecological moralism and political activism between essays is actually a useful index of the varied nature of the environmental movement. Focusing on social interaction enables the volume to show the linkage of democratic decision-making, political activism and the environment. An environmental psychology, one concludes, is rarely an individual “condition” – it is social and cultural.” Review by Pramod K Nayar, Electronic Green Journal.
Cooper Marcus, Clare and Barnes, Marni. Healing Gardens; Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations. 1998. Wiley and Sons. “Unique and comprehensive, Healing Gardens provides up-to-date coverage of research findings, relevant design principles and approaches, and best practice examples. For more and more people, the shortest road to recovery is the one that leads through a healing garden. Combining up-to-date information on the therapeutic benefits of healing gardens with practical design guidance from leading experts in the field, Healing Gardens is an invaluable guide for landscape architects and others involved in creating and maintaining medical facilities as well as an extremely useful reference for those responsible for patient care. With the help of site plans, photographs, and more, the editors present design guidelines and case studies for outdoor spaces in a range of medical settings.” Review by Publisher.
Cullinan, Cormac. Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice. 2003. Green Books. Totnes. “This book of Cormac Cullinan explains with great clarity how we can change our entire approach to governance so that we can continue life on a liveable planet. In its basic outlines this book is one of the finest contributions to the entire field of jurisprudence in recent times.” Review by Thomas Berry, author of 'The Dream of the Earth'.
Duncan, Roger. Nature in Mind: Systemic Thinking and Imagination in Ecopsychology and Mental Health. 2018. London: Routledge. "In this remarkable book Roger Duncan presents a merging of his life experiences teaching adolescents, vision-questing, and practicing psychotherapy together with theories ranging from language studies, Rudolf Steiner´s educational ideas, and indigenous holism. In the process, he gives us a glimpse of the relationship between human psychological development and nature--and offers a means toward healing ourselves and our deteriorating world". Review by Chellis Glendinning.
Eisenberg, Evan. The Ecology of Eden: Humans, Nature and Human Nature. 1998. Picador. London. “An amazing historical account of ecological themes, starting before humans and coming up to the present, with a lot of attention to ancient Middle Eastern culture and its lasting effects. He identifies what he calls the Tower and the Mountain as two ancient approaches to the nature/culture divide, and traces them down to the current opposition in the green scene between ‘planet managers’ and ‘planet fetishers’. Full of amazing scholarship and ideas.” Review by Nick Totton.
Fisher, Andy. Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life. 2001 State University of New York Press. “Personal in its style yet radical in its vision, Radical Ecopsychology offers an original introduction to ecopsychology–an emerging field that ties the human mind to the natural world. In order for ecopsychology to be a force for social change, Andy Fisher insists it must become a more comprehensive and critical undertaking. Drawing masterfully from humanistic psychology, hermeneutics, henomenology, radical ecology, nature writing, and critical theory, he develops a compelling account of how the human psyche still belongs to nature. This daring and innovative book proposes a psychology that will serve all life, providing a solid base not only for ecopsychological practice, but also for a critical theory of modern society”.
Frater, A., Waking dreams: Imagination in psychotherapy and everyday life. 2021, Transpersonal Press. A thoroughly helpful introduction to working with imagination and waking dreams. I felt invited into a realm in which I could move seamlessly between the personal, theoretical and practical (‘entering’, ‘exploring’, ‘dialoguing’, ‘shapeshifting’, ‘emerging’ and ‘patterning’). Ecopsychology readers may be particularly interested in chapter 9: ‘Ecological Imagination’. Frater’s quiet passion for and engagement with the imaginal is palpable, as is his care in crafting this book. A gem of a read at a time when we need, perhaps more than ever, to re-member the vitality of imagination in therapy and everyday life. Review by Emma Palmer.
Fromm, Erich. To Have or To Be? London: Jonathan Cape. 1978. “Explains how humans are motivated by two basic orientations in seeking satisfaction – Having mode and Being mode. Explains the behavioural impacts of each and implications for relationship with self, others, and societal and ecological contexts. Includes section on 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart as early pioneer of the Being mode of life.”
Harding, Stephen. Animate Earth. 2006. Green Books. “A delightful and stimulating take on Deep Ecology and the Earth/Gaia being truly a living being, with all of nature invested with an aliveness of which we are part. Also, rock-solid science. Harding has worked with the Schumacher College since it began, and knits together as well as anyone the science and the mystery of how our planet works.” Review by Mark Brayne.
Hathaway, M and Boff, L. The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Ecology and Justice) 2009. The book includes a chapter on the psychological dimensions of global transformation, much of it drawing from ecopsychology. It also contains several chapters on cosmological perspectives.
Henderson, R., In: Miles, J., and Priest, S., (Eds.). The Place of Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology in Adventure Education, 1999. Adventure Programming. Venture Publications, PA. “This chapter, in what is a seminal text in outdoor education, introduces the outdoor education sector to deep ecology and ecopsychology in a direct and engaging way. It places these perspectives squarely into the often relatively technocratic outdoor education literature.” Review by Dave Key.
Huxley, Sir Julian. New Bottles for New Wine. London: Harper and Row. 1957. “A compilation of Huxley’s prescient essays on the role of the human and our emergent capacities in future, psycho-social evolution. Includes the essay Transhumanism.” Review by Paul Maiteny.
Johnstone, Chris. The Lens of Deep Ecology. Pain for the World, Systems Theory, and finding our Power to Make a Difference. 1994. Institute of Deep Ecology UK. “This booklet introducing systems thinking and the Deep Ecology approach was published by the Institute for Deep Ecology (UK) in 1994, and revised in 1997. It has been used as a core text on university courses in several countries. It is currently out of print, though extracts from it are still used on several distance-learning packages”.
Kahn, P.H. The human relationship with nature: development and culture. 1999. Cambridge MA. MIT Press. “Urgent environmental problems call for vigorous research and theory on how humans develop a relationship with nature. For eight years, UW psychologist Peter Kahn studied children, young adults, and parents in diverse geographical locations, ranging from an economically impoverished black community in Houston to a remote village in the Brazilian Amazon. In these studies Kahn sought answers to the following questions: How do people value nature, and how do they reason morally about environmental degradation? Do children have a deep connection to the natural world that gets severed by modern society? Or do such connections emerge, if at all, later in life, with increased cognitive and moral maturity? Are there universal features in the human relationship with nature? Kahn’s empirical and theoretical findings draw on current work in psychology, biology, environmental behavior, education, policy, and moral development”.
Kahn, P.H. & Kellert, S.R. (eds). Children and nature: psychological, sociocultural and evolutionary investigations. 2002. London. MIT Press. “Nothing is more important to us than our children, and nothing is more important to our children than maintaining a high quality environment. If they are to have a benign and nurturing environment, much will depend on the ideas and surroundings they are exposed to today. The authors in “Children and Nature” discuss a fascinating and diverse range of topics related to these critical issues. Everyone with an interest in the human future could profit from reading it”. Review by Paul R. Ehrlich.
Kamalamani. Other than Mother: choosing childlessness with life in mind. 2016. Earth Books. "What a truly beautiful book. Touching on issues close to the heart - stewardship, legacy and interconnectedness - Kamalamani talks of birthing of another kind. Having children can be a choice. Or more specifically, choosing not to have children - often a far less spoken about subject. Kamalamani faces this shadow and explores it deeply, compassionately and lovingly". Review by Polly Higgins, International Ecocide law advocate, CEO of Earth Community Trust. Author of 'Eradicating Ecocide and Earth is our Business'.
Kamalamani. Bodywise: weaving somatic psychotherapy, ecodharma and the Buddha in everyday life. Somatic Psychotherapy Today. “It's so good to have these pieces collected in one place, so that we can clearly see their value, and feel gratitude for Kamalamani's wisdom, wit, common sense, deep knowledge of Buddhism, and enormous generosity of spirit. This book will be of great help to anyone interested in body psychotherapy, in Buddhism, and in ecopsychology, or in the relationship between the three.” Review by Nick Totton.
Kidner, D. Nature and Psyche. 2001. State University of New York Press. “Why has psychology had so little to say about the destruction of nature; and what sort of psychological understanding might help us to regenerate our relation to the natural world? In this groundbreaking book, David Kidner outlines a radically new form of social science that moves beyond the sterile separations between sociology, psychology, anthropology, and politics, and sets the agenda for the sort of understanding that is necessary if we are to successfully address environmental issues”.
Laszlo, Ervin. The Inner Limits of Mankind: Heretical Reflections on Today’s Values, Culture and Politics. Oxford: One World. 1989. “Explains how the key limits and constraints on sustainability are cultural, political and psycho-emotional (ie ‘within’ humans), not bio-physical (or ‘outside’ humans) as generally emphasised. Bio-physical ‘environmental problems’ are symptomatic of behaviour rooted in cultural priorities. It is these which are the cause and, therefore, the real underlying problem. The book contains materials that can be used for self-reflective educational activities.” Review by Paul Maiteny.
Louv, R. Last child in the woods: saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. 2005. Chapel Hill, NC. Algonquin Books. “In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard”.
Macy, Joanna. & Young-Brown, Molly. Coming Back to Life: Practices to Re-Connect our Lives, our World. 1998. New Society Publishers. “An excellent book full of practices for experiential workshops, as well as concise overviews of the terrain of what Joanna Macy calls “The Work that Reconnects”. Review by M J Rust.
Macy, Joanna. World As Lover, World As Self. 1991. Berkeley. Parallax Press. “An extremely eloquent and beautiful account of early Buddhism, especially the concept of dependent co-arising (mutual causality), as the ground for an ecopsychology and an eco-politics.” Review by Nick Totton.
Metzner, R. Green Psychology: Transforming our Relationship to the Earth. 1999. Park Street Press. “Building on the work of Mircea Eliade, Marija Gimbutas and others, Metzner traces our dissociation from Mother Earth some 6000 years back, when invading Indo-European tribes conquered the relatively peaceful, matriarchal cultures of Old Europe. In later epochs, he maintains, as Christian monotheism and mechanistic science stamped out polytheistic animism, the Western psyche was increasingly marked by a “human superiority complex,” along with a presumed right to dominate and exploit nature, animals and other societies. Metzner seeks the basis for an ecological ethic, not always convincingly, in shamanistic interaction with nature, alchemy, yoga and mind-expanding plants used sacramentally by indigenous cultures".
Norberg-Hodge, Helena. Ancient Futures. 1992. San Francisco. Sierra Club Books. “When the author went to Ladakh as a linguist in the late 1970’s she witnessed the abrupt transition within this traditional culture as they opened their borders to western tourists. The book is full of stories about lifestyle changes and the psychological effects that accompany them. Inspiration comes from some of the Ladakhi people who are choosing a different way forward, perhaps one of the first communities to leapfrog industrial growth culture into a more modern sustainable living. Here you will find great insight and inspiration for our present predicament, reminding us of what we have lost, as well as where we might be headed.”Review by M J Rust.
Plotkin, B. Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche. 2003. Soulcraft describes in detail over two dozen practices, including soul-centered dreamwork, deep imagery, council work, dialogues with nature, self-designed ceremony, and the contemporary vision fast. The book is filled with absorbing, evocative stories from the author’s life and from many others who he has guided. In the well-crafted words of Frank MacEowen, author of The Mist-Filled Path, “Every now and then a book is birthed into the world that is destined to irrevocably alter the spiritual face of modern culture. Bill Plotkin’s Soulcraft is just such a book. Charting a course through the underworld pathways with the heart of a shaman, mapping the powers of myth and psyche with all the soul and interpretive skill of Jung or Campbell, Plotkin’s guide to the journey of initiation is to nature-based soulwork what Huxley’s Doors of Perception was to consciousness studies. This book is an immense treasure that will provide wisdomseekers, psychologists, and seasoned wilderness guides alike with a fresh heart-opening soul language, a new mythos for fathoming the depths of change, as well as time-tested practical methods for navigating the landscape of authentic transformation….Plotkin shows the way.” Review by Hilary Leighton.
Ploktin, B. Nature and the Human Soul – Cultivating Community in a Fragmented World (2008) by psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin, offers an engaging map to the paths and pitfalls of the lifelong journey to wholeness and maturity. Nature & the Human Soul introduces an innovative developmental psychology that shows how fully and creatively we can mature when we allow soul and wild nature to guide us. Plotkin presents a model for a human life span rooted in the patterns and rhythms of wild nature, a template for individual development that ultimately yields a strategy for cultural transformation. (from www.animas.org) Review by Hilary Leighton.
Rappaport, Roy A. Ecology, Meaning and Religion Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. 1979.“An anthropological analysis of the evolutionary and adaptive significance of numinous experience, religious meaningfulness and their distortions up to the present and into the future. The latter chapters explains how and why currently prevalent belief systems are undermining of human/ecological sustainability.” Review by Paul Maiteny.
Rust, MJ. Towards an ecopsychotherapy. 2020. CONFER, London. "In her characteristic style, Mary-Jayne presents ecopsychotherapy in an incisive way, with her richness of experience bringing the subject to life. This thought-provoking book touches on the heart of controversies in this field - our need to grow new terminology - and to actively ensure our spaces are inclusive. This is an invaluable introduction to ecopsychotherapy and is also sure to deepen the work of more seasoned practitioners". Review by Emma Palmer.
Rust, MJ & Totton, N. (Eds) Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis. 2011. Karnac, London. "Vital Signs is a thoughtful and thought-provoking anthology. It reflects - rather beautifully - the diversity of responses from the psychological world to the ecological crises we face as a species. The 23 different voices of the book explore responses to these crises from a psychological point of view. The contributors consist of ecopsychology practitioners and Jungian analysts, psychotherapists and psychologists working in private therapy practice, those involved in Transition Towns work, psychotherapy lecturers and trainers, through to ceremony makers, a kindergarten teacher and a professor of geography. Many, but not all of the contributors are UK-based". Review by Kamalamani.
Ryley, Nancy. The Forsaken Garden. Four Conversations on the deep meaning of environmental illness. 1998 (with Laurens van der Post, Marion Woodman, Ross Woodman, and Thomas Berry) Quest Books.
Sabini, M (ed). The Earth Has a Soul – The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung. 2002. Stringing together a series of writings from conversations, letters, lectures, and essay fragments, this book reveals a lesser known side of the man, Carl Jung and gives us a sense of the wild call he answered in his nature-loving life. He writes of the original unity of Nature and spirit – of the primordial, original or natural mind as a source of collective wisdom, a wellspring, source of the evolutionary experience. His references to archaic clearly did not mean ancient as Joseph Henderson writes in the foreword, rather he was speaking to the original in the sense of the archetype – an everliving presence. His own journey into a more emotional and mythic relationship with Nature (the book includes photos of him playing with his grandchildren at the beach, with sticks creating streams, hand-building the “tower” at Bollingen, etc) suggests a healing connection that contributes to the whole and helps to illuminate the path he made by walking in this world. “Natural life is nourishing soil of the soul”, p.120. Review by Hilary Leighton.
Seed, J.; Macy, J; Fleming, P; Naess, A. Thinking Like a Mountain. Towards a Council of All Beings. 1988. New Society Publishers. “This is a collection of readings, meditations, poems, guided fantasies, workshop notes – and exquisite drawings of the Tasmanian forest – designed by experienced workshop leaders and activists to help us move beyond the sense of alienation from the living earth that most of us feel.” Review from back cover of book.
Shepard, Paul. The Others: How Animals Made Us Human. 1996. Washington DC. Island Press. “The human mind is the result of a long series of interactions with other animals.” This book traces some of them, from Pooh, Paddington and Smokey the Bear to dragons, dinosaurs and other mythical beasts. The title says it all, and the book makes it clear that without animals we can’t be human.” Review by Nick Totton.
Shogan, D. The Paradox of Physical Activity in the Wilderness. 1988. World Leisure Congress, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. “If the whole of a nation’s population decide to head out into the wilds in search of ecological healing, what will happen to the Earth’s wild places? This paper, although it doesn’t even mention ecopsychology, overlays Garret Harding’s seminal text on the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ onto contemporary wilderness ‘use’”. Review by Dave Key.
Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild. 1990. San Francisco. North Point Press. “Wilderness may temporarily dwindle, but wild won’t go away. A ghost wilderness hovers around the entire planet: the millions of tiny seeds of the original vegetation are hiding in the mud on the foot of an arctic tern, in the dry desert sands, or in the wind. These seeds are each uniquely adapted to a specific soil or circumstance, each with its own little form and fluff, ready to float, freeze, or be swallowed, always preserving the germ. … Do you really believe you are an animal? We are now taught this in school. It is a wonderful piece of information: I have been enjoying it all my life.” Review by Dave Key.
Soper, Kate. What Is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human. 1995. Oxford. Blackwell. “A crucial deconstruction of ‘nature’ and an unpacking of the political implications of distinct uses of the word. Soper focuses especially on ‘ecological’ and ‘post-modernist’ approaches. She makes it clear that we need to raise our game if we are to talk intelligibly and usefully about the human/non-human”. Review by Nick Totton.
Totton, Nick. Wild Therapy: Undomesticating Inner and Outer Worlds. 2011. PCSS Books. "Therapy is by nature wild; but a lot of it at the moment is rather tame. This book tries to help shift the balance back towards wildness by showing how therapy can connect with ecological thinking, seeing each species, each being, each person inherently and profoundly linked to each other. Hence we develop a sense of the endless complexity of existence; and realise that wildness, a state where things are allowed to happen of their own accord, is far more deeply complex than domesticated civilisation, just as a jungle - or even a piece of wasteland - is more complex than a garden. Psychotherapy has often opposed the cultural message 'Be in control of yourself and your environment': it has tried to help people tolerate the anxiety of not being in control - of our feelings, our thoughts, our body, our future. But the struggle over control has now reached inside the field of therapy itself: the push for management, measurement and regulation is getting stronger. On a larger scale it seems that our efforts to control the world are well on the way to wrecking it through environmental collapse: the more we try to control things, the further out of balance we push them.." Info from publishers.
Vickers, Sir Geoffrey. Value Systems and Social Process. London: Tavistock. 1968. “A collection of writings by this prescient pioneer in psycho-social evolution, systems thinking and human ecology, exploring the process by which humans develop and change the values we live by, and the impacts we have on our societal and eco-systemic sustainability. Includes the essay Ecology, Planning and the American Dream quoted in this article. See www.open2.net for video of Vickers explaining his ideas.” Review by Paul Maiteny.
Watkins, M & Schulman, Helene. Toward Psychologies of Liberation. 2008. Palgrave Macmillan. “This landmark book takes us on an unforgettable journey across disciplines, countries, spiritualities, and techniques to teach us twenty-first century psychologies of liberation. Authors Watkins and Shulman transform the discipline of psychology, showing us its connections to all disciplines concerned with liberating the imagination. Across international fields of difference, these authors never give up the prize: social and psychic emancipation. In doing so, they define what “decoloniality” means for the twenty-first century”. Chela Sandoval, Associate Professor of Liberation Philosophy Chair, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Watts, A. The Way of Zen.1990. Arkana/Penguin, New York. “Although perhaps relevant only in generic terms, this text has deeply influenced my own practice and research in facilitating therapeutic experiences outdoors. Alan Watts is the master of translating complex (yet simple!) Zen concepts into modern English. The essence of working with nature can be found here”. Review by Dave Key.
Weber Nicholsen, Shierry. The Love of Nature and the End of the World. The Unspoken Dimensions of Environmental Concern. 2001. MIT Press. “A very sensitively written and in-depth book on ecospychology written by a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Nicholsen draws on the thinking of Wilfred Bion, Robert Jay Lifton, Susan Griffin, James Hillman, and others, to reflect on the state we are in and the silence that surrounds it; the relationship between trauma, apathy and destructiveness; and “what beauty can tell us: the face of nature”. Review by M J Rust.
Wahl, D. C. Designing Regenerative Cultures. 2016. Triarchy Press. "An excellent, thoroughly-researched and incredibly detailed book for re-framing the inter-related crises we currently face. Wahl brings in transformative innovation, biologically inspired design, resilience and health, and systems thinking. He offers a solid theoretical grounding and practical applications - it's about three books in one!" Review by Emma Palmer.
Winter, Deborah DuNann & Koger, Sue. The Psychology of Environmental Problems. 2003. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. “A revision of Winter’s Ecological Psychology (1996), this book applies psychological theory and research to environmental problems. After outlining current environmental difficulties, the authors demonstrate how 6 major approaches in psychology (social psychological, psychoanalytic, behavioral, physiological, cognitive, and holistic) can be applied to environmental problems. The authors demonstrate why it is critical to address environmental threats now, and offer ideas on how psychological principles can contribute to building a sustainable culture. Personal examples engage the reader and provide suggestions for changing behavior and political structures. Reorganized and updated throughout, the second edition features a new chapter on neuropsychological and health issues and a list of key concepts in each chapter.