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 ecopsychology curriculum, with access to the educational resources available in Portland, Oregon, a center for ecological living and sustainability innovation.

Ecopsychology explores psychological concepts and practices in the context of humans’ relationships and interbeing with nature and the natural world and draws on a number of paradigms including social science, critical theory, health care, and the humanities. In particular, ecopsychology focuses on the subjective and therapeutic aspects of people’s environmental beliefs and experiences, such as their empowerment or despair about addressing environmental issues. This inspiring focus on the “personal and planetary” is 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 the fields of education, counseling, and psychotherapy, and for a number of sustainability and conservation disciplines.

The course of study in the certificate includes an orientation to the theoretical and empirical foundations of ecopsychology, skills courses focusing on ecotherapy, conservation psychology, and wilderness and adventure therapy, and special topics courses focusing on areas that may include child development, the human-animal bond, and environmental advocacy. Students may take select electives from other programs at Lewis & Clark, and complete a master’s thesis, a supervised practicum, or an independent study.

Ecopsychology Certificate

The Ecopsychology Certificate is comprised of 9 credits of coursework with a required prerequisite course, CPSY 501 Environmental Identity and Ecological Self (1 s.h.), offered early in the fall prior to the application deadline. New students begin certificate coursework in the spring semester. Courses are offered during spring, summer and fall semesters and may be completed in one 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 by students outside of Portland, Oregon. 

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 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 (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).
Professional Licensing and 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 9-credit certificate to their degree program. Students who complete the certificate in addition to a Lewis & Clark counseling psychology degree will be prepared for additional supervised clinical practice and the option to seek licensure in their field, such as certification as a professional counselor or marriage and family therapist in Oregon and most states.

Certificate Requirements

A minimum of 9 semester hours, including:

Required Courses
CPSY 554Theoretical & Empirical Basis of Ecopsychology2
CPSY 596Wilderness and Adventure Therapy Immersion2
CPSY 597Ecotherapy and Applied Ecopsychology2
Elective Courses

Students work with an advisor to choose three semester hours of elective credit from among course offerings in the graduate school. Options may include courses in conservation and sustainability psychology, expressive arts therapy, somatic psychology, critical psychology, the human-animal bond, and the psychology of climate change. Students may also complete a master’s thesis, a supervised practicum, or an independent study.


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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: CPSY 501.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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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 554.
Restrictions: CPSY 596 may be repeated once.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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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 554.
Credits: 2 semester hours.