Graduate Catalog

Ecopsychology Certificate

Lewis & Clark’s Ecopsychology Certificate provides an opportunity for graduate students and practitioners to enhance their training with an evidence-based, experiential, and socially progressive curriculum, with access to the educational resources available in Portland, Oregon, a center for ecological living and sustainability innovation.

Ecopsychology is a transdisciplinary field that explores psychological concepts and practices in the context of humans’ relationships and interbeing with nature and the natural world. It draws on a number of paradigms including social science, health care, critical social theory, public health, and the humanities. In particular, ecopsychology highlights the subjective and therapeutic aspects of people’s environmental beliefs and experiences, including empowerment or despair about addressing environmental issues. This ambitious focus on the “personal and planetary” can be used to promote sustainability and conservation behaviors—at multiple scales from individual to societal. Students will find that the theory and empirical findings associated with ecopsychology have implications for a number of sustainability and conservation disciplines, and for the fields of education, counseling, and psychotherapy. 

The course of study includes a prerequisite course on environmental identity, an orientation course on the theoretical and empirical foundations of ecopsychology, and skills courses focusing on wilderness and adventure therapy, ecotherapy, and conservation psychology. Special topics courses are offered focusing on areas such as child development, the human-animal bond, and environmental advocacy. Students also select three credits of electives from other programs at Lewis & Clark, or may complete a master’s thesis, a supervised practicum, or an independent study.

Ecopsychology Certificate

The Ecopsychology Certificate is comprised of 9 credits of required coursework, with an additional 1-credit prerequisite course (CPSY 501 Environmental Identity and Ecological Self, typically offered early in the fall). In all, students completing the Ecopsychology Certificate will take 10 credits of coursework. Courses are offered during spring, summer and fall semesters. Admissions are rolling with a suggested admission deadline in the fall semester.The program may be completed within one year, fall semester to fall semester.  Courses are typically held in weekend or summer week-long intensive formats. The program can be completed in a low-residency format by students outside of Portland. Many courses include required online activities.

There are three pathways to enrollment in the certificate:

  1. Good standing in one of the programs at Lewis & Clark graduate school, for example: Professional Mental Health CounselingProfessional Mental Health Counseling—Addictions,  School Psychology, or Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy
  2. Being an alumni of the graduate school or being a master’s level graduate with comparable prerequisites from an accredited program (requires admission as a special student to the graduate school).
  3. Good standing in a comparable M.A.-level counseling or other degree program at another institution (requires admission as a special student to the graduate school).

By situating the Ecopsychology Certificate in the context of Lewis & Clark’s accredited counseling psychology and education programs, students have the opportunity to add a certificate to their degree program. 

Certificate Prerequisite (1 semester hour)
CPSY 501Environmental Identity and Ecological Self1
Certificate Requirements

A minimum of 9 semester hours, distributed as follows:

Required Courses (6 semester hours)
CPSY 554Women at Midlife2
CPSY 596Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Immersion2
CPSY 597Ecotherapy and Applied Ecopsychology2
Elective Courses (3 semester hours)

Students work with a certificate advisor to choose three semester hours of elective credit. These may include special topics courses in the Ecopsychology Certificate such as conservation psychology, critical psychology, the human-animal bond, and the psychology of climate change. Students may also take electives from course offerings in the graduate school such as expressive arts therapy or somatic psychology. Students may also complete a master’s thesis, a supervised practicum, or an independent study on a topic of their choice.  


CPSY 501 Environmental Identity and Ecological Self

Content: This course guides students toward self-reflection regarding identity and experience related to place, the natural world, and other species; and motivations for integrating ecological perspectives into academic, professional or advocacy work. Readings, exercises, and lectures help students explore personal visions of sustainability, emotional reactions to environmental issues, history of the environmental movement, intersectionality of environmental identity and other aspects of identity and diversity, and the interrelationships between health and wellbeing and social and environmental justice. Required prerequisite for the Ecopsychology Certificate.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

CPSY 554 Women at Midlife

Content: Overview of the issues faced by the current generation of midlife women. Considers general themes of midlife, drawn from the literature on adult development as a theoretical backdrop to recent research on midlife women. Emphasis is on themes shown by recent research to be most significant to midlife women today. Students are encouraged to explore how the material applies to their personal or professional lives.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

CPSY 596 Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Immersion

Content: This course provides an opportunity to explore ecopsychology concepts and practices in the context of a multi-day outdoor experience. Topics include backcountry safety, outdoor leadership, wilderness philosophy and conservation, benefits of immersion in natural settings and retreats from modern technologies, multicultural rites of passage, and techniques for mental health and substance abuse treatment. The course typically features an off-campus weeklong or multi-weekend residential format with activities such as tent camping, day or overnight hiking, mindfulness and team building exercises, rock climbing and river rafting. Equipment provided. Outdoor experience not required. There is course fee.
Prerequisites: CPSY 501.
Restrictions: CPSY 596 may be repeated once.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

CPSY 597 Ecotherapy and Applied Ecopsychology

Content: This course explores the therapeutic aspects of ecopsychology and applications of ecopsychology for human health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability, and for counseling and therapy. Practices and methods that incorporate nature into the therapeutic process are explored and students have the opportunity to practice these techniques. These may include addressing environmental identity or concerns; utilizing outdoor experiences, natural objects or metaphors in a therapeutic manner; or facilitating animal-assisted therapy. The evidence base for ecotherapy and the importance of diversity and multicultural competency are highlighted. Topics will be explored using didactic presentations, exercises, role-plays, outdoor activities, and video presentations.
Prerequisites: CPSY 501.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

CPSY 598 Topics in Applied Ecopsychology

Content: This course provides an opportunity for students to do in-depth exploration of specialized topics or practices related to ecopsychology and to gain experience in various roles such as counselor, therapist, educator, activist, consultant, or researcher. Course focus and format varies given year and instructor. Topics have included children and nature, environmental advocacy, writing workshop, and horticultural therapy.
Prerequisites: CPSY 501, CPSY 554.
Credits: 1 semester hour.