However much we pride ourselves on those magnificent things human beings have done and made, the final criterion by which all human creations will be judged is the extent that they are consonant with the natural world, of which humans are a part.
- Paul Shepard
u p d a t e s- Visit ecotherapyheals.com to learn more about developments in ecotherapy. -
Our ecotherapy anthology is out and, so far, selling well as Linda and I do radio interviews and book signings and other promotional activities. When I get time I am also planning to edit publish the first terrapsychology anthology.
For future updates, please contact me to be added to my semi-seasonal newsletter. Thanks,
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
With Professor David Orr now writing the foreword, our anthology Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind is on schedule for publication this spring after more than two years of effort and frustrating delays. We just saw the cover art and are very happy with it. The book is now available for preorder at Amazon.com:
Sarah Rankin and I have written a paper dealing with the issues of validity and projection in terrapsychological research. It is intended as a supplement to Terrapsychology: Re-engaging the Soul of Place.
Contact me if you're interested in receiving the semi-seasonal newsletter I've started sending out to keep people posted on my work with psyche, place, and myth.
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
I have finished the first draft of the new book on the psyche of coastal California. Working title: The Tears of Llorona - A Californian Odyssey of Place, Myth, and Homecoming. Read the Introduction.
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
Late Summer 2008
With Deep California and Terrapsychology out and Ecotherapy well on the way, I'm returning to my natural style as an essayist to answer the questions students and presentation audiences often ask me: How did this person-place connection start for you? What happened out on El Camino Real? What is California asking of you, and of those who live here? How have you managed to deal with your anger and grief at what has been done to the land, the sea, and the air here? What is the inside story?
I understand now what Steinbeck meant when he told his agent that he couldn't write hot. Being no Steinbeck, it has taken me a long time--several years--to let the data and experiences and insights I collected sink in, ferment, lose some bitterness, and spread out until I could manage them intelligently. (Writing Deep California helped.) The material I've collected for several years has also had to wait for the style it needed; now that it has one, the essays are flowing right along with astonishing ease. Fall will see the draft of this new book completed. I haven't decided whether to look for a publisher or publish it myself.
Just came across a video of permaculturalist Geoff Lawton describing some of the psychological benefits of having one's own food forest.
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
More changes to the Ecotherapy book going back and forth as we tighten things up. Meanwhile, more thesis work is being done on terrapsychology, and I've set aside some time to begin showing my slideshow on psyche, place, and deep homecoming. Fall should be interesting; I've been appointed core faculty at JFK University, and also asked to be on the editorial board for a new journal dedicated to ecopsychology.
Click here for a nicely filmed YouTube video in which Linda Buzzell and her husband Larry talk about ecotherapy.
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
The Ecotherapy anthology rolls onward. We have just made a major deadline by sending off a round of substantive corrections to Sierra Club. What a relief.
It looks like Rush Limbaugh will be one of the first to give our ecotherapy book some press. He has just broadcast an attack on what he thinks is ecotherapy, including criticisms of Sarah Edwards (who is now receiving hate mail from crazies) and Linda Buzzell. Not averse to being paid to a lot of money to spread hatred and misinformation, he seems oddly put out by what he interprets as a gimmick to make money off the weak: namely, people with authentic feelings about what a bad state the planet is in: in other words, people too strong and too socially and ecologically concerned to resort to projection, self-alienation, consumerism, and self-numbing through medication. For him ecotherapy is a plot by the Democrats, of course, but then so is the sun coming up and the planet's rotation. In a sane culture Limbaugh would receive pity and counseling rather than air time.
Early Spring (by the feel, not the calendar) 2008
It would seem that the mainstream media have discovered "eco-anxiety." Linda Buzzell was interviewed about this recently by the New York Times. The press we've seen varies between supercilious and tentatively interested. It seems to be a revelation that the public is actually worried sick over the obvious, industry-driven deterioration of the ecosphere and the life it supports.
I have written a Letter to the Editor about this:
In the recent article “Well, Doctor, I Have This Recycling Problem” (Gabrielle Glaser, 2/16/2008), the following statements appeared, the first inaccurate and the second highly questionable:
“There are lots of interesting and novel ideas out there, but I am not aware of any research that shows that this approach would be helpful,” said Scott O. Lilienfeld, a psychology professor at Emory University. “Even if one believes that global warming is caused by humans, there is a fine line between therapy and advocacy. Therapists need to mind that line.”
Dr. Lilienfeld said therapists must also be aware of the larger psychological issues for patients worried about the environment. “If the patient has generalized anxiety disorder, he or she is going to be worrying about almost everything,” Dr. Lilienfeld said. “So are concerns about global warming just one piece of the elephant? Therapists need to be cautious before focusing too heavily on one psychological issue.”
I am the co-editor (along with Linda Buzzell-Saltzman MFT) of an anthology on ecotherapy to be published by Sierra Club Books late this year or early next, and the chapter I wrote on current research drew upon hundreds of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of ecotherapeutic techniques ranging from wilderness trips to animal-assisted therapy to horticultural therapy and on and on. There is, in fact, more documented support for ecotherapy techniques than there is for many traditional forms of psychotherapy.
As a former psychotherapist (now an author, research instructor, and graduate research adviser), I would also like to clarify that a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not made when the client comes in with concerns or worries about specific issues—in this case about the environment. In this case making a diagnosis used when worry or anxiety are markedly exaggerated or unrealistic would furnish yet another example of shrinking feelings about a planet under assault by heavy industry down into a personal issue. Those of us who work with people on the intimate but neglected connection between human psychology and planetary distress have heard countless examples of this kind of discounting of concerns about the environment. To us they sound a bit like telling the passengers of a rapidly sinking ship that they have a diagnosable but treatable obsession with icebergs and lifeboats.
Please be aware going forward that mainstream psychology was not designed for this kind of work and lacks the tools for it; hence the need for the wider view of ecopsychology. What therapists whose job security depends on shrinkage of social and environmental trauma to diagnosable personal disorders have to say will therefore be of limited usefulness in understanding the growing fear (not anxiety) of what is vanishing before our eyes, from melting icecaps to mass extinctions.
Thanks very much,
-- Craig Chalquist, PhD
Winter 2007 -- Happy Yuletide
My permaculturalist friend Larry Saltzman has posted some photographs of his backyard food forest. About a half acre easily provides most of what his household needs. His home sits in a suburb of Santa Barbara.
I have finished work on two slideshows and plan to begin presenting them soon: "Planetary Psychology: Sanity in the Balance" and "Deep California: From Legacies of Conquest to Images of Homecoming." At DeepCalifornia.com I've also posted a new reference guide to resources in California. A chapter called "Earth is Not My Mother: Toward a Contemporary Style of Earthly Discourse" is slated to appear in an ecopsychology anthology to be edited by Fernando Castrillon. It can't be said too often: the environmental crisis is a crisis of meaning, and those of us concerned with meaning, image, symbol, and story must come to the forefront now and speak our piece. This becomes even more urgent when the dominant voices belong to intolerant and paranoid authoritarians determined to silence all opposition.
I've also started setting up a nonprofit Terrapsychology Foundation to promote our kind of work. Details to follow.
Glad to get all that done before Sierra Club's incoming revisions to our Ecotherapy manuscript. Linda's already thinking about our next book; I'm thinking about taking sailing lessons.
-- Craig Chalquist
Late Fall 2007
One of our Ecotherapy contributors, Richard Heinberg, has just published an online article called "Big Melt Meets Big Empty: Rethinking the Implications of Climate Change and Peak Oil." It offers some background, updates, and an overview on the climate crisis (which is also an energy crisis) and its likeliest directions.
Linda and I were just interviewed by a writer at San Francisco Magazine on the topic of "eco-anxiety." It's getting a lot of attention lately. I pointed out that it should really be called FEAR: fear not only as drummed up by the mass media, but realistic fear of what scientifically based bad news about global environmental change implies for the future. As Heinberg points out, it's not a question of whether we'll end up living sustainably or not. It's a question of how: either by a conscious and just global effort to regear economically, politically, and psychologically or the alternative: what ecologists call crash and dieoff as resources diminish and archaic nation-states fight futilely for what's left.
I'm giving a speech at Sonoma State on how "The Environmental Crisis is a Crisis of Consciousness." The event was organized by concerned students eager to look at what we can do in the absence of any effective political leadership.
-- Craig Chalquist
Early Fall 2007
Linda just co-write a fine piece on "Greenwashing, Green Rackets, and Green Clueless."
My new slideshow has reached the draft stage and an expert is busy with edits. It is named after the class I teach at JFKU: Planetary Psychology: Sanity in the Balance. Thus we begin to pick up the long-ignored psychological component to the environmental crisis, which is also a crisis of what it means to be human and survive as such. I've also been asked to be on the planning committee for an ecopsychology conference next year in Sonoma County.
Leysley Thomas, novelist and author of Flight of the Goose, just sent me a link to a photo essay shot at Shishmaref, the Alaskan village after which she modeled Itiak. It shows vividly what climate change is doing to the Arctic.
-- Craig Chalquist
Spring/Summer 2007 (updated late in June)
In production: Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction (includes two of our Ecotherapy contributors) -
click here to see a video trailer.
After presenting "Going Out as Going In: Sharing Terra's Psychology" for the "Nature and Human Nature" conference in Santa Barbara (March 2007), I had a pleasant opportunity to chat afterwards with James Hillman, Margot McLean, and Susan Griffin for a couple of relaxing hours. It was a good conference, we agreed, but ruled rather strictly by the god Time. Under discussion: a conference in Brazil near the Amazon so we can ignore the clock and feel the life of that endangered place more intimately. I also got to have lunch with Laura Mitchell and the ever-radical Andy Fisher. Quite a gathering. Linda Buzzell-Saltzman presented on ecotherapy and is slated to be interviewed on that topic by CBS.
Matt Cochran has survived a tour of coastal California and has returned to Montana and his work with archetypal geology. Sarah Rankin just graduated with her master's degree and is bound for New Mexico. Some of her thesis--a work poetic, powerful, and moving--also deals with validity issues in terrapsychological work. We are planning to write a paper together on that when we find time to. Constance Lynn is investigating the differentiation of self and Other through body and place. Aviva Joseph is on her way to Jerusalem to do field research and to have a look at what heartsteading can do in that region of the world, a site of so much warfare around displacement.
A journalist from Canada's largest newspaper just interviewed Linda about ecopsychology and ecotherapy. I will see if I can post some of that here when it comes out. Theodore Roszak has written a fine Foreword for our book. I have just written and sent off a journal article on the alchemy of Sir Isaac Newton and am teaching a Planetary Psychology class, a Jung class, and a qualitative research class. Presentations continue while I work on a slideshow about "Deep California." A plan is afoot to make a film on this topic starting at Point Conception, a place of much depth and many stories.
-- Craig Chalquist (early June, 2007)
Terrapsychology is out! The printer has finished and the book will be available online in a few days. Its author is also finishing up on a project called Deep California, a book that looks into images and motifs that bind place and story together throughout the past and present of coastal California.
Also, Ecotherapy: Psyche and Nature in a Circle of Healing (Buzzell-Saltzman and Chalquist, eds.) will be published in Fall 2008 by Sierra Club Books as a sequel to Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind (Roszak, Gomes, and Kanner, eds., 1995).
Terrapsychology's publication is looking more like January 2007 now due to waiting for some last-minute endorsements and other details. The manuscript itself is being typeset, and Professor Mary Gomes has provided a marvelous Foreword. The main consideration is that it will be published in time to be sold at an upcoming conference on the topic of psyche and nature.
Terrapsychology is on target for publication in November. Final corrections were made late in July. An excerpt of the book will appear in the upcoming "Psyche and Nature" edition of Spring Journal.
A prominent publisher is looking over our Ecotherapy followup to the Ecopsychology anthology (Sierra Club Books); about half the original participants are busy writing chapters for us. Linda Buzzell-Saltzman will be interviewed about ecotherapy on "Living on Earth" and has also been talking to NPR.
Last year filmmaker Kevan Jenson produced Surfing LA, an impromptu talk-performance featuring James Hillman, Michael Ventura, and John Densmore. We are in talks for him to shoot a series of documentaries on the sense of place, psyche, and story throughout California. Terrapsychological ideas about the "voice of place" will also be highlighted in his upcoming film with Hillman and bell hooks, the second to be shot in the "James Hillman's Fragments" series.
Meanwhile, Matt Cochran is haunting the Four Corners area, tracking ancient sites, and co-guiding Rites of Passage through the Animus Valley Institute, and Craig Chalquist is teaching classes in psychology, ecopsychology, myth, and research in several Bay Area graduate programs and trying not to think about the sequel to Terrapsychology, most of which is already written.
This Web site went online in December 2005 and is expected to grow rapidly. We are thinking about adding an artwork section, to be named "the images."
Linda Buzzell-Saltzman and Craig Chalquist are co-editing an anthology on ecotherapy, nature-based methods of healing self and world. We intend the book to be a practical supplement to the Roszak, Gomes, and Kanner anthology Ecopsychology. Contributors who have committed to the project include Sarah Conn, Robert Greenway, Sarah Edwards, Richard Louv, Lauren Schneider, Chellis Glendinning, Bruce Anderson, and Patch Adams. Be sure to visit the ecotherapy blog and ongoing discussion at http://thoughtoffering.blogs.com/ice_seeds.
Terrapsychology: Reengaging the World's Soul is due out Fall 2006. The publication date precedes that of a conference in Santa Barbara on psyche and nature. The conference is now being organized, with no firm date set.
A "best practices" guide to preserving communities and personal mental health both during and after the peak oil crisis is under discussion, the results to be posted at this Web site. The idea is to make such a guide as widely available as possible to offer practical community-building guidelines and an analysis of how Western civilization came to this pass and what should be remembered to prevent this from happening again.