Beneath our feet: an exploration of the ways psychotherapists think about the human-nature relationship, and the clinical implications of this in Aotearoa-New Zealand
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This dissertation explores different concepts that psychotherapists use to think about the human-nature relationship through a systematic literature review. A dialectical model is suggested, one that integrates the wide range of concepts into a relational perspective. Two dialectics of empathic versus analytic, and materialist versus idealist perspectives are also contained within the model. Difficulties in therapy are highlighted, including the difficulty of holding the importance of both internal subjective psychological realities, and that of pressing environmental issues. The challenges of relating to nature in the Aotearoa bicultural context are explored, including dangers of ecopsychology appropriating or colonising the indigenous. It is argued that Western cultures themselves already contain resources for relating more closely to nature in the form of language that evokes a direct and intimate relationship with nature.