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 at Lewis & Clark College, a top-rated US "Green School," and Portland, Oregon, a world 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 personal 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 the individual to societal. Students will find that the theories and robust 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 an orientation to environmental identity and behavior, an exploration of the theoretical and empirical foundations of ecopsychology, and skills courses focusing on wilderness and adventure therapy and eco-counseling and therapy. Special topics courses are offered focusing on areas such as the human-animal bond and environmental justice.

Ecopsychology Certificate

The Ecopsychology Certificate is comprised of 8 credits of coursework. Courses are offered during spring, summer and fall semesters. Courses are typically held in weekend or summer week-long intensive formats.

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).
Certification

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 Requirements

A minimum of 8 semester hours, distributed as follows:

CPSY 501Environmental Identity and Ecological Self1
CPSY 554Theoretical & Empirical Basis of Ecopsychology 1
CPSY 596Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Immersion2
CPSY 597Ecotherapy and Applied Ecopsychology1
CPSY 598Topics in Applied Ecopsychology (three semesters, 1 credit each)3

Courses

Print This Course

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.

Print This Course

CPSY 554 Theoretical & Empirical Basis of Ecopsychology

Content: This course provides an introduction to ecopsychology theory, research findings and practices. The course also surveys related concepts, findings and practices in psychology, mental healthcare professions, the social sciences and the humanities. The course provides a foundation for the practice of ecotherapy and wilderness therapy, for professional conservation and sustainability work, and for environmental education, advocacy, and activism.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

Print This Course

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.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

Print This Course

CPSY 597 Ecotherapy and Applied Ecopsychology

Content: This course in Ecotherapy focuses on broadening and deepening the practice of psychotherapy by extending the psychotherapeutic context to include the natural world in which we live. We will survey research that supports the theoretical foundations of ecotherapy found in environmental and conservation psychology, ecopsychology, evolutionary psychology, and biophilia. Specific practices and methods that incorporate nature into the therapeutic process will be explored and students will have the opportunity to practice these techniques. We will explore topics such as environmental identity, restorative effects of direct contact with nature, a “sense of place,” the concepts of a Nature Language and Human Rewilding, and contemporary influences that affect the human-nature relationship. Ethical issues unique to the practice of ecotherapy will be discussed.
Prerequisites: CPSY 501.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

Print This Course

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: None.
Credits: 1 semester hour.