Graduate Catalog

Ecopsychology in Counseling

Ecopsychology recognizes a synergy between human mental health and well-being, and the health and integrity of the natural environment. It focuses on the subjective and therapeutic aspects of people’s environmental beliefs and experiences, emotional responses to environmental issues, and the promotion of health-related sustainability and conservation behaviors—at multiple scales from personal to societal.

The Ecopsychology in Counseling Certificate at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling provides an opportunity for students to explore ecopsychology while preparing them to become professional counselors or educators in a nationally respected graduate program, with access to the educational resources available in Portland, Oregon, a center for ecological living and sustainability innovation.

The course of study includes an orientation to the theoretical and empirical foundations of ecopsychology, skills courses focusing on ecotherapy and wilderness and adventure therapy, and special topics courses focusing on areas such as child development and environmental advocacy. Students also complete a capstone project that may include a master’s thesis, a supervised practicum, independent study, or a special series of electives.

Ecopsychology in Counseling Certificate

The Ecopsychology in Counseling Certificate program is a 10-credit sequence that includes four required courses and an independent capstone project. Applications are due in the fall, and new students begin spring semester. Courses are offered during spring, summer and fall semesters and may be completed in one calendar year. Courses include online and in-person activities, with weekend or summer week intensive formats, so that the program can be completed in a low-residency format.

There are three pathways to enrollment in the Certificate:

  1. Good standing in one of the Counseling Psychology or Education Programs at Lewis & Clark, for example: Professional Mental Health Counseling, Professional Mental Health Counseling—AddictionsSchool Psychology, or Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy
  2. Being an alumni of the graduate school or a master’s level graduate with comparable prerequisites from an accredited program
  3. Good standing in a comparable MA-level counseling or other degree program at another institution.
Professional Licensing and Certification

By situating the Ecopsychology in Counseling Certificate in the context of Lewis & Clark’s accredited Department of Counseling Psychology programs, students have the opportunity to add a 10-credit certificate to their degree program, and upon graduation be prepared for additional supervised practice and the option to seek licensure or certification as a professional counselor or marriage and family therapist in Oregon and most states.

Certificate Requirements

A minimum of 10 semester hours, including:

Required Courses
CPSY 528Introduction to Ecopsychology in Counseling3
CPSY 596Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Intensive2
CPSY 597Ecotherapy2
CPSY 598Topics in Applied Ecopsychology1

Students must also complete a capstone project worth 2 semester hours. Students work with an advisor to identify either elective courses to meet the capstone requirement or choose from the following:

CPSY 544Practicum2
or CPSY 595 Master's Thesis Research
or CPSY 599 Independent Study


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CPSY 528 Introduction to Ecopsychology in Counseling

Content: Ecopsychology recognizes a connection between mental health and the natural environment and explores ways in which psychological knowledge and practices can contribute to the solution of environmental problems. This course provides an introduction to ecopsychology practices in counseling and a survey of related research findings in environmental and conservation psychology on topics such as the health benefits of natural settings, the development of environmental identities, and promotion of conservation behaviors. Students will be guided toward self-reflection regarding their own environmental identity, their motivations for integrating environmental approaches into counseling, and ways to integrate ecopsychology into their existing theory and practice base.
Prerequisites: CPSY 502, CPSY 503, CPSY 507, or CPSY 569 or consent of program coordinator.
Corequisites: CPSY 504 or CPSY 534, CPSY 506, CPSY 508, CPSY 513 or CPSY 550.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 596 Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Intensive

Content: This course explores the application of mental health and substance abuse treatment in outdoor settings and discusses therapeutic uses of outdoor challenge activities for recreation, personal growth and reflection, and to enhance counseling & psychotherapy. We will examine research on the benefits of green spaces and outdoor experiences on stress reduction, restoration of attention, enhanced self concept, cognitive development, treatment of emotional and substance abuse disorders, and promotion of personal meaning. Key areas of focus will be on cultural and socio-economic diversity in terms of attitudes toward and access to wilderness-like settings or outdoor adventure, and on practices of of outdoor safety, low impact camping, and group facilitation. The course meets one day on campus and four days of overnight camping in a local state park. Experience with wilderness or adventure therapy is not required though some comfort with tent camping and hiking is encouraged. All equipment is provided.
Prerequisites: CPSY 528.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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CPSY 597 Ecotherapy

Content: This course will provide resources and techniques for mental health providers to utilize nature-based activities and metaphors in their therapeutic work, address concerns about environmental issues they may encounter during the course of counseling, and to harness individuals' values about ecology or sustainability to foster therapeutic goals. This application course builds on the material covered in Introduction to Ecopsychology in Counseling. Topics such as addressing grief and despair about environmental issues, using contacts with restorative natural settings to promote counseling goals, and working with diversity in an ecotherapy context will be explored using didactic presentations, role-playing, outdoor activities, video presentations, and guest speakers.
Prerequisites: CPSY 528.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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CPSY 598 Topics in Applied Ecopsychology

Content: This course provides opportunities to explore the roles of a counselors and therapists as advocates, consultants, or researchers in the field of ecopsychology. Topic varies from semester to semester.
Prerequisites: CPSY 528.
Credits: 1 semester hour.