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    by Michael J. Cohen




    Society trains us to mediate our lives. It addicts us to a five-leg abstract language-reason way of knowing and being that is foreign to every other species and mineral. This disconnects us from nature and our sentient inner nature (inner child). It makes it difficult for us to fully experience and express natural feelings.

    Estranged and unfulfilled, our inner nature feels stress and lackluster causing us to excessively crave natural sensations or depend upon artificial, excessive and often irresponsible substitutes for them. When we want, there is never enough and this creates runaway greed and unfulfillment problems.

    A sensory nature-connecting activitiy process has shown to help reverse our disconnection from nature and its adverse personal and environmental effects. The process offers safe, responsible, lasting four-leg natural fulfillments. When used in conjunction with counseling and education, the process nine-leg reconnects participants to the self-regulating wisdom of nature's vitality and spirit. This helps our problems solve themselves.



Authors note: During the period that editors reviewed the Counseling and Nature article in this document, microoorganism studies, published in Science News and Newsweek, gave credence to part of the article, and these studies are briefly mentioned in it.

To understand the significance of microorganisms, consider the following: People's relationship to Planet Earth is like our leg's relationship to our body. We are ecologically a product and likeness of nature, sharing "one breath" with all species.

In each immediate moment of our lives exists the unadulterated creation process of the natural world. It is part of our personal biology, our natural origins and sensitivities including our faculty to register sensations, feelings and spirit. We are human and "Human" has its roots in "humus," a fertile forest soil. This is not a coincidence, biologically, we are like humus. One teaspoon of humus consists of water, minerals and hundreds of other microorganism species: five million bacteria, twenty million fungi, one million protozoa and two hundred thousand algae, all living cooperatively in balance. This coincides with our bodies containing water, minerals and ten times as many cells of non-human microorganism species as human cells, all living cooperatively in balance. Over half our body weight consists of the weight of "foreign" microorganism species in balance with us and each other. They are vital, inextricable parts of every cell in our body. Over 115 different species live on our skin alone. All these relationships organize, sustain and balance themselves via natural attraction enegies, some of which people can sense.

As it does with humus, the natural world constantly flows around and through us. Researchers find that every 5-7 years every molecule in our body is replaced, particle by particle, by new molecules attracted in from the environment and vice-versa. The natural environment continually becomes us and we become it; we are to nature and creation as an embryo is to its womb; we are one because we are each other. Keep this in mind as you read the article. It helps explain the potent effects of restoring our connections with nature.


MARCH, 1995

(As updated in Chapter 4 The Web of Life Imperative)




Michael J. Cohen
Portland State University



This study identifies the natural world as a exceptional resource for learning how to therapeutically build responsible relationships and it offers sensory activities that let nature teach its wise and balanced ways. Once participants identify and differentiate their "natural-sensory" and cognitive "language-reasoning" ways of knowing, a coloring task challenges them to express in words their natural sensory knowledge. The task induces stress which disappears when language is introduced that validates their sensory way of knowing. This paper observes the dynamics of this transaction and examines its stress management and mental health implications, It offers unique nature connecting activities and home study training programs that reduce stress and reports their mental health and environmental effects.


Many outdoor educators and therapists confirm my observation of a reduction of social and psychological problems when our clients are in natural areas. This reduction parallels the relative absence of psychological problems and insanity found in nature-centered tribal communities. It suggests that the purpose of modern psychology and psychotherapy is to heal the sensory wounds inflicted by Western Civilization's excessive disconnection from the natural ways and wisdom of the global life community. My findings confirm this, for by teaching my clients to use and own nature connected activities and reasoning, their problems wane while their wellness, spirit and ability to learn increase (Cohen, 1994).

Can sanity truly be measured by Western Civilization? Do we promote true sanity if we teach our clients to support and depend upon an irresponsible society? This paper describes a practical answer to this question, a working model for responsibly creating personal, social and environmental balance. Since 1959 I have constantly lived, learned and taught throughout the seasons in natural areas, the places Thoreau called "A civilization other than our own". That non-language civilization taught me how to let its "magic" therapeutically counsel people. I discovered and use counseling activities that let Earth itself teach its integrity, a wisdom joy and beauty devoid of pollution, war and insanity. This was not difficult to learn once I recognized that as natural beings we are born with this ability. All I had to do was let Earth nurture it, and that is how I help others learn it now.

The natural world produces no garbage. On a macro level, it values everything from proton to planet. Nothing in nature is discarded or unwanted, a way of relating that defines unconditional love in action. Scientifically validating and connecting with nature's "unconditional love" and its effects allows us to enjoy and benefit from it.

We, as part of life, inherit the natural world's integrity as our inner nature, a profound globally shared creation blueprint which too often demeaningly we call "The little child within us"(Cohen, 1993b). True education includes learning to read that blueprint, to draw it out from within and resonate with it, validate it and support its integrity. Instead, to our cost, society often teaches us to conquer it within and about us.

Reading the blueprint connects us to our common origins, that we might start anew to co-create a truly civilized society rather than become even more personally and socially "bewildered" (nature-separated). In this article, I offer critical thinking tools and activities for reading the non-language blueprint. Appropriately, the tools come from modern knowledge, from experience with today's science, problems and relationships (Knapp, 1988), not from other times, environments and cultures. The tools I use let familiar contact with natural systems teach us how to enjoyably walk in balance. Counselors, educators and interpreters increasingly use these tools to reverse apathy, stress and dysfunction.

Nature seldom sustains itself by using "techno"-logic meaning: "A thinking logic that creates artificial stories and techniques". Instead, the natural world uses "bio" logic. In people, Bio logic consists of being multisensory, of heeding each moment's natural attractions that call to our inner nature through our more than 53 , not just 5, genetically inherited, but culturally devalued, natural senses and feelings such as thirst, smell or nurturing. These feelings are ancient, globally evolved memory signals, multisensory ways of knowing and being for harmonious survival. For example, not only is water a vital flowing foundation of life, so, equally, is our natural survival sense and feeling of thirst. Thirst is a biological memory that re-connects land beings to water and survival. Thirst fluctuates to self-regulate our water flow so we neither bloat, burst or dehydrate. The feeling of thirst makes bio-logic sense as do each of our 52 other natural senses. And although we seldom describe it as such, most counseling is multisensory learning, a sensing or re-sensing (remembering) one or more natural sensations along with their degree of integration, fulfillment or frustration.

Too often, our techno-logic words and stories exclude our natural sensory wisdom. Each word, story or moment that doesn't bring to awareness our natural sensory interconnectedness further separates us from the support of nature's multisensory integrity (Cohen 1994). However, an account by Rodney Romney exemplifies how multisensory experiences with the nature's web of life sensibly modify human behavior: In Scotland, farmers were overturning their hay bales to exterminate rats that lived beneath them. A trio of rats tried to flee but, unlike the other fleeing rats, these three stayed closely together which limited their ability to escape. Upon investigation, the farmers found that the middle rat of the three was blind; its companions were guiding it to safety. Deeply moved, the farmers did not kill these rats.

The farmers responded to many natural senses and feelings triggered by the incident including consciousness, sight, nurturing, place, curiosity, hunger, motion, trust, empathy, sound, compassion, community and reason. We sometimes call this response human morality, values, ethics, or being humane. However, these words separate us from a truth of nature. They hide that natural senses are nature expressing itself, for natural senses are solely of, by and from the natural world. Note that the rats "morally" responded to the same group of senses and rats have done so for millions of years before humanity evolved. We observe similar animal and plant behavior throughout the natural world. However, our culturally ingrained, prejudicial anti-nature stories prevent us from saying the farmers acted naturally, like rats, pigs or fungi.

Many researchers validate that psychologically and physiologically, a human being's inner nature consists of a variety of distinct, different natural sensations that we call faculties or instincts (Cohen, 1994; Murchie, 1978; Pearce, 1980; Rivlin -Gravelle, 1984; Rovee-Collier, 1992; Samples, 1976; Stevens, 1993; Spelke, 1992; Wynne-Edwards, 1991). They include senses like color, thirst, language, smell, taste, consciousness, excretion, belonging, space, distance, form, temperature and touch. Each is unique, each offers a specific message and wisdom. Each is a natural intelligence. Note that reasoning, language and consciousness are also natural senses that serve a survival function in nature. In some form and intensity, each sense or sensitivity pervades the natural world including our inner nature.

Since the Spring of 1993, Institute of Global Education, Department of Integrated Ecology instructors and associates have completed an informal study of over 4100 people, mostly aged 16-51, of differing occupations (Cohen, 1993a). Our object was to determine if we could observe the effects of separating people from nature by assigning inappropriate words and labels to a person's sensory inner nature. We did this by first asking the study participants

"When did you first learn to know the color Green?

Participants responses fell into two main categories.

A. Some participants remembered when they learned to associate the word green with their green color sensation, thereby knowing green by its name or label. For example: "I remember that my parents told me that the name for the color of the grass and trees was green."

B. Some participants recognized that they naturally registered green (greenness) as a sense or sensation at birth or before: For example "Like many other species, I was biologically born knowing green. It is a God thing. I could naturally sense and distinguish the green grass from the blue sky even though at the time, I didn't know the names of their colors."

So we know green in two ways: by the biological, inborn natural color sense (sensitivity) to green (greenness) and by the word-symbol green which labels that sensitivity. However, consider the following findings and considerations of the study:

When Carol was an infant learning to talk, her father, an experimental psychologist, used her as an experiment. He purposely taught her that the name for the color green was orange and the name for orange was green. The word and the color bonded. Today she is 34 years old and she still gets confused when naming these colors. She still tends to call orange green and green orange. Carol often "thinks about" and "figures out" the correct terms for these colors rather than automatically knowing them. Sometimes she feels stupid and stressed for having to do so, sometimes she still mistakes one for the other.

We found several participants who said they had similar experiences with color, and with other areas too, for example left-handedness:

"The teacher broke my left had by hitting it with a ruler because I wrote with it."

"Unfortunately, as a lefty, I did not learn to write left handed--I learned right handed, if you want to call it learning. Today, the only way I can communicate in writing without an interpreter is via typewritten characters."

"I must wear a red glove on my left hand and a green one on my right while sailing in order to tell port from starboard."

"Writing with my right hand stressed me, it resulted in me biting my fingernails."

Consider this scenario: A teacher tells her first grade class "Today we are going to learn green" and a child says "I don't need to learn that again, I've known green since before I was born." The teacher responds "Can you read 'green'? Can you write 'green'? Can you spell it or tell me how many times it appears on this chart? If you can't, you are ignorant, illiterate, a failure, a problem for yourself and society." The color green, a vital natural part of the child, experiences itself as garbage, something unknown in nature, something that is rejected and unsupported. How can this part naturally find its identity? It senses abandonment and a child's natural self inherently knows abandonment to be death, for nothing survives without support in nature. So much for the child's security, self-esteem and self-confidence in this sensory area until his or her scholastic skills are achieved.

Hopefully other intact ways of being support the child through this period, but many of them are under assault too. In all too many young people we see violence, tranquilization and dependencies used to relieve the discomforting hole we dig by not learning to validate nature within and about us. Too often we call this process normal adolescence or rebellion against authority, too often our nature-blind eyes don't even see the hole.

Can we learn to feel good about ourselves as natural beings in a nature separated society? As a control for this task, we first asked participants if they still had their "inner child" natural ability to quickly distinguish and identify blocks of ink colors that we painted on a separate page.


We then asked if they were literate and could apply a name to each color.

We then asked each of our study participants to verbally call upon their inner nature, their inborn, non-language, natural sense of color, to express itself, to do its natural "inner child" thing. The vehicle we used for this purpose is the list of color names found in figure 1, not unlike the Strop Test. The words naming the colors were written in different colored inks (for example, the word "brown" was written in violet ink). Participants were asked to quickly go down the color chart list and say aloud the ink colors, not the color names. For example, the first color is green, not red.



When using this color chart, although practically every participant had no difficulty labeling the control blocks of ink colors, most participants had difficulty quickly identifying the same ink colors when they spelled out words. The overwhelming tendency was for participants' culturally trained sense of language to dominate and, out of habit, or "word addiction" read the colors as words rather than as colors. We are not born thinking and communicating with words, we learn this skill. In addition, when doing this activity quickly, over 40% of the participants "deluded" in that they spoke a written color name aloud but actually believed they had said the ink color. For example, in the fifth item in figure 1, Paul believed he read the ink color correctly even though he said the word "brown" while seeing the color magenta. If another person had had not been with him and caught the the error, Paul would not have known that he made it. It's similar to you, the reader, perhaps not noticing that the words "the" and "had" were doubled in the previous sentence until I now alert you to this fact. The difference is that Paul lost awareness of a vital sensory signal from his inner nature, not simply a typographical error.

Participants concluded: "My trained habitual dependency on using words overwhelmed my natural sensory inner child, an important, loving natural part of myself. I had trouble expressing my natural ability to recognize green in a non-language way." One participant offered: "I love nature yet I have a hard time loving myself. This helps explain why." Participants never experienced "difficulty," "tension," "conflict" or "stress" on the last word on the color chart, the word green written in green ink. In all cases, "Green" written in green ink felt more sensible, relaxing and attractive than did the other color words. "It feels like a refreshing oasis", says one participant.

Can we learn to feel good about ourselves as natural beings if we don't first meet the challenge of bringing into our awareness who we are as natural beings? This study suggests that our awareness, our consciousness, is overwhelmingly dominated by 5-leg words and stories that disconnect us from nature within and about us. We have to learn how to use language and reasoning get past our stories, to find and validate our true colors.



From early in our lives, our formal and informal education excessively conditions us to bring the sensory world into our awareness by 5-leg labeling it with language abstractions -words, symbols and images- and validating the reasonable cultural meanings of these abstractions. Usually two different natural sense groups lying in two different parts of the brain are at work when we "know" something natural like the color green (Samples 1976):

The Old-Brain: Our natural sense of color lying in the large, anciently evolved "old-brain" enables us to experience color as a 4-leg, unlabeled, non-verbal sensation or feeling. The old-brain registers non-language tensions, sensations, feelings and emotions. It makes up approximately 87% of the brain and is the home of 51 naturally pervasive sense groups, some of which I have mentioned. Most of our old brain sensitivities we inherit from and share with the plant and animal kingdoms (Cohen, 1994, 1993; Murchie 1978). These natural senses are facts as real as rocks, oceans and gravity; our desire to breathe is as much a property of air as is the wind. In multisensory concert natural sensitivities make the balanced "natural sense" that is nature's beauty, peace and wisdom, the web of life. In the natural environment natural sensitivities provide a non-language, interspecies attraction communion. This communion permits natural systems to act sensibly as a community, "to make common sense," "work by consensus," to organize, preserve and regenerate themselves responsibly, intelligently and diversely without producing garbage, war, or insanity (Cohen 1994). If assigning these powers to nature and the old brain seems invalid, consider this: The pervasive natural patterns that colonies of food seeking bacteria form (in the shape of the snail vortex, common snowflake, tree branches, and starfish chiral) result from how individual organisms in these bacterial communities communicate with each other and disseminate information throughout the colony. The behavior of these earliest forms of life shows that they change their behavior in response to changing environmental conditions, not through random genetic mutation. They cooperatively signal, calculate, network, regulate and control their community behavior, then their genes mutate and respond to environmental conditions. The patterns they produce are the same as those found in minerals, suggesting that the same process exists on molecular levels (Lipkin, 1995).

The New-brain: Our two senses of language and reason lie in our small, more recently evolved, "new-brain" the neocortex. These two senses learn to know greenness as the culturally correct 5-leg word or label (like the word "green") for sensory experiences. The new-brain makes up about 13% of the total brain. It creates, experiences, validates and processes culturally trained symbolism: language, letters, words, numbers, drawings, logic, abstractions and stories. Society teaches us to mostly think and reason in new-brain symbols and stories, be they accurate or inaccurate, destructive or constructive, limited or wide-ranged.

Our new brain presently manages the world. Are we satisfied with the effects? Can we learn to do better?



From early in our lives, the ancient sense of color, lying in the old-brain, enables us to naturally register green color as a sensation. This sense experiences green directly as "greenness", as a non-language, unadulterated, unedited, unmediated sensation and feeling experience. The old brain brings to awareness how we naturally feel and is often called our inner nature, our inner self, or this sensory global wisdom is misnamed our inner child. When we operate from the old brain, in western culture we often say we are being too loving, emotional, sensitive, childlike, feelingful, intuitive, subjective, inexperienced, flaky, illiterate, or over reactive. However, Carl Jung and many others note, "Our feelings are not only reasonable, they are as discriminating, logical and consistent as abstract thinking." Natural senses and feelings are the foundations of bio-logic, of nature's civilization which can best be unprejudicially measured by its long term survival effects, by its ability to create an optimum of life and diversity without producing garbage, insanity or war; without civilization's violence, stress or pollution.

In the small more recently evolved new-brain, the neocortex, Western culture often trains the senses of language and reason to apply cultural words, labels or stories to the natural senses. We teach the new brain that it is reasonable to know greenness as the written or spoken word green, or verde (Spanish) or vert (French) or other words in different languages and cultures. We applaud it for doing so. When we operate from senses of language and reason we proudly say we are literate, cerebral, sensible, abstract, cognitive, reasonable, logical, educated or thoughtful.

Most of the study participants were unaware that a cause of their inability to express their inner nature is that the average American spends over 95% of his or her life indoors, isolated from nature. Studies indicate that we spend almost 18,000 critical developmental childhood hours in classrooms alone. Collectively, we spend less than one day per person per lifetime in tune with the non-languaged natural world. We live over 98% of our nature-estranged adult lives abstractly knowing the natural world through detached words and stories about it rather than through intimate, non verbal enjoyment of it. My observations outdoors tell me that our estrangement from nature restricts our natural sensory inheritance from growing and strengthening from natural connections with the natural world. This disconnects us from the wisdom, spirit and peace of nature and creation. Conversely, when I've sentiently connected people to natural areas, their problem solving abilities and harmonic relationships have increased dramatically (Cohen, 1994b).

In America, the stressful anger, anxiety and sadness catalyzed by our overlooked or rejected natural feelings depresses us. It fuels our problems at every level. We are not islands. As we remain estranged from the wisdom, spirit and unconditional love of the web of life in ourselves, others and natural areas, our negative personal, social and environmental indicators rise. Even outdoor education that does not teach us how to daily validate and fulfill our inner nature's need and right to be connected, loved and nurtured by nature, does not resolve these problems (Cohen 1993).

To reverse our troubles we must reconnect with nature. We must learn to effectively communicate with nature in order to know its ways and needs. To accomplish this we must either teach the natural world to speak English or learn to understand its non-verbal language. The latter course makes the most sense since we already know nature's sensory callings. We inherit them, they are our old brain and its many distinct sensory signals.



The color chart activity is one of 124 Well Mind, Well Earth nature-connecting activities (34 key activities are in the companion volumes The Web of Life Imperative and Reconnecting With Nature) used by counselors, educators and mental health workers to catalyze "green in green." These pioneering applied ecopsychology experiences counteract the adverse effects of the estrangement of our 53 natural senses from the natural world (Goldman, 1993). In classrooms, counseling programs, environmental education, mental health facilities, nature interpretation and recovery work the activities help teach the new-brain the reasonableness of discovering, validating and respecting the old-brain and its sensory connections to nature's wisdom, to part of creation's higher power (Cohen, 1993, 1994). The activities move participants. Even when participants learn the activities from our inter cultural internet e-mail courses or our self guiding training manuals, we see significant improvement in their self-esteem for they discover that nature's perfection outside themselves flourishes within them. (Cohen, 1994b). Nature- connecting lets the natural world itself teach us to revere nature in ourselves, others and the environment and we naturally refrain from hurting that which we hold sacred. This is the new frontier for counseling psychology. With over 70% of the nation suffering from stress, with environmental deterioration continuing and alarming over 85% of the public, counseling with nature holds a key to our destiny (Cohen 1995).

We have found that the following activity helpfully introduces the nature-connecting process of our 109 additional activities (Cohen, 1994a). We reinforce each of them through journalizing and critically assessing the thoughts, feelings and reactions arising from them.


The Global Wellness and Unity Activity: In Balance With Earth
(from the book The Web of Life Imperative, Chapter Four by Michael J. Cohen)

The Experiences of Others:

Below are some reactions of other activity participants have shared with each other. You may add your reaction(s) to a Message Board for others to read and enjoy. Many interesting responses are located in the Archive.

"It was hot. Soon after I asked for permission to visit with the grove of young trees, a gentle, refreshing breeze came through them. It cooled me, and the trees waved their leaves at me. It felt good, like the grove smiled its consent. Thanking the grove strengthened that feeling as does sharing the experience with you now."

"I was attracted to the sound of a raven on the rocks ahead. I stopped and sought its consent for me to enjoy its presence. It began to come closer and closer, increasing my delight and excitement. That was so fun and unforgettable. I feel thankful to that experience and this group"

"My whole attraction to the moss on the rock increased. I felt more intensely than when I first arrived, it felt like a hug from the planet."


Worthwhile information: To read the fascinating validations of people who helped develop and have done In Balance With Earth visit visit http://www.ecopsych.com/archive.html. A few recent results of the activity are shared at http://www.ecopsych.com/aresults.html


Once Sandy validated that she could gain good feelings and reverse depression by following her natural attractions, she made a conscious effort to become fully involved in that process, For years she shunned walking up the beautiful moss-covered rock faces that called to her. She thought they were too steep, wet and slippery, that story made them unattractive. But on this day, because she decided that her nature deserved to have good feelings, she followed her attractions to the beauty and other attractive callings of the rocks: their color, height, space, form and texture. Moment by moment she sought the most attractive, therefore safe, next step across the rocks. With surprise and elation, she easily climbed them. She then described her fun experience and how nice it felt. Describing it felt good, and her companions enjoyed hearing her talk about the experience, and knowing her joy. Sandy is learning to achieve this same result by following her multisensory attractions to her friends' inner nature. She is discovering that the negatives in her life are signals to discover, follow and enjoy her natural attractions.

"Applied ecopsychology activities create thoughtful nature-connected moments. In these enjoyable non-language instants as many as 53 inborn natural attraction senses safely awaken, play and intensify. Additional activities immediately validate and strengthen each sensation. This emotionally empowering process connects, fulfills and renews our inner nature with the natural world's beauty, wisdom and peace. We feel rejuvenated, more colorful and thankful and these feelings give us support. They nurture us, they satisfy our deepest natural wants. As we satisfy these wants we remove the stress and dependencies that fuel our disorders. The process triggers green critical thinking that values natural sensory relationships. It regenerates natural connections and community within ourselves, others and the land. We become more knowledgeable, more environmentally and socially responsible. We feel better." (Cohen, 1994a). Here's the process in action via E-mail:

Linda, an Email course member, reads her training manual to learn what activity she and her E-mail partners, who live in many different countries, will to do this day in their local park, backyard or even a terrarium. As Linda begins this day's activity, spontaneously, the delicate sparkle of a water droplet on a fern attracts and delights her. She does additional activities designed to reinforce this nature connected sensation and she becomes aware of other times she has felt it. She also notes her past disconnections from it and the effects of the loss. Linda goes on-line and shares with her 7-person interact group, her thoughts, feelings and reactions from her nature connecting experiences . She reacts to her group's and instructors' posted nature experiences, and to their reactions to her reactions. It's fun. She feels alive and spirited, supported and unified by her Email partners and connections to Earth. Her day brighter, Linda looks forward to further connecting with people and natural places that attract her. They gain new value and she finds new self-worth. Because she has done the activity and knows its effects, she owns it and the joys it can bring her and others whenever she uses it again.

New brain language-reason disconnections from the natural world and our sentient inner nature make it difficult for us to fully experience and express natural feelings. Disconnected and unfulfilled, our inner nature feels stress and lackluster causing us to excessively crave natural sensations or depend upon artificial, excessive and often irresponsible substitutes for them. When we want, there is never enough and that creates runaway "greed" and unfulfillment problems. Sensory nature-connecting activities have shown to help reverse this phenomenon and its adverse personal and environmental effects by offering safe, responsible, lasting natural fulfillments. When used in conjunction with counseling and education, the activities connect participants to the self regulating wisdom of nature's vitality and spirit (Cohen 1994b).

A dramatic effect of this study has been for my associates and me to accommodate any counselor or educator who desires to learn the skills of counseling with nature. We have made this easy to do through our self-guiding training manuals, or its use in conjunction with a free, accredited, e-mail or correspondence home study program we sponsor internationally. In this way we implement solutions for our findings as well as fulfill our hearts' desire for a better world. Our course of action addresses the underlying problem this paper identifies, the problem expressed by D. H. Lawrence: "Oh, what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made personal, merely personal feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table."

Just as this study suggests that stress from our nature disconnected "bleeding roots" creates the insatiable wants that cause our personal, social and environmental problems, the guidebook and course we offer teach how to reverse our nature disconnection problems. Uniquely, they let any interested person master thoughtful nature reconnecting activities that dissolve hurt and stress by satisfying our deepest natural loves, wants and spirit. They teach hands-on education, counseling and mental health skills that tap the "higher power" wisdom of nature's creation process. They let tangible contact with nature nurture responsibility, supportive interpersonal relationships and ecological literacy.

As did the farmers in their relationship with the rats, course participants become more enamored with the natural world and its wise unconditional love. They also become painfully aware of how we learn to separate from it, to abuse it and our natural selves to the cost of our mental and environmental health. Energized by their new sensory connections to nature in people and places, participants learn to use bio-logic, they validate their love for nature and they act to reverse their disconnects as well as protect and preserve the natural environment. We find that the process of counseling with nature offers new hope for our troubled times.

A continuation of this article is found in Ecotherapy: The Ecology of Gaia, Sensation and Soul.


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Cohen, M. J. (1994). Well Mind, Well Earth: 97 Environmentally Sensitive Activities for Stress Management, Spirit and Self Esteem Box 4112, Roche Harbor, Washington: World Peace University Press.

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Wynne-Edwards (1991). Ecology Denies Darwinism. The Ecologist, May-June, Cornwall, England.


The author dedicates this article to Sunkyo Kwon whose devoted efforts improved its clarity and desirability.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D. founded and coordinates Project NatureConnect, a continuing education workshop and home study program of the University of Global Education, a United Nations non-governmental organization, where he chairs the Department of Integrated Ecology on San Juan Island, Washington. For 33 years, he has established and directed degree granting environmental outdoor education programs for the Trailside Country School, Lesley College, and the National Audubon Society. His 8 books and 56 articles include the award winning Connecting With Nature which is included in his 1993 self-guiding training manuals Reconnecting With Nature and Well Mind, Well Earth: 97 Environmentally Sensitive Activities for Stress Management, Spirit and Self-esteem. Dr. Cohen is the recipient of the 1994 Distinguished World Citizen Award. Contact: P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor WA 98250 (360) 378-6313. Email: nature@interisland.net



Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council

Readily available, online, natural science tools
for the health of person, planet and spirit

P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com

The Natural Systems Thinking Process

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
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