Education Pages Navigation
(<-note blue stripe)

Education Index
Total Site Index


Co-op Universities


Applic Process Declaration
Applic. Forms
Orientations Key
Degree Equivalent
Course Equivalent

Financial Aid
Key Book
All books
Organic Psychology

M.S. Courses
Doctorate Ph.D.

Post Doctoral
Cooperative Educ.

Journal Entries














































































































































































Project NatureConnect





  Breakthrough counseling, education and therapy in support of the United Nations manifesto for environmentally sound personal growth and social justice.






The Hidden Voice in Natural Systems: Why Counseling, Learning and Relationships Work Better In Nature

Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D.

Institute of Global Education

March 15, 2002

Reading time 3 minutes.

By permission this short article is available free for publication. You may download a copy as a word file



"Nurture your felt love for Nature. Never deny it. That love is the eons, the purifying intelligence, beauty and diversity of Nature sustaining us in its perfection. Our disconnection from this love produces our hurt, greed and destructiveness. We must reconnect and restore its peaceful voice in our thoughts, soul and surroundings."

- Michael J. Cohen


Significantly, in the past decade the often opposing physical (7), biological and social sciences have discovered a body of evidence to which they agree. In addition, this evidence also agrees with findings in ethics(10), philosophy and spirituality (9).

During this same period, the fields of education and psychology produced a learning process that enables any individual to access this validated knowledge and use it to build relationships that improve self, society and the environment (3).

The evidence mentioned above authenticates what outdoor researchers like myself sense in natural areas. A fundamental, binding, energy underlies every aspect of the world we know. Be it a form of Love or the Unified Field sought in physics, sub-atomic, human, and global relationships, form, hold together, and "communicate" via a cohesive natural attraction energy (8, 6). Natural attraction connects everything into a system and subsystem, to belong, to not be isolated. Thus Nature produces no garbage.

Natural attraction roots
Nature grows from its seeds and roots, past to present. The existence of an original natural attraction throughout Nature is consistent with how Nature works. It makes sense. If the Earth was not held together by natural attraction, it would fall apart, which it doesn't . Rather, natural systems are attracted to increase in growth, diversity, resilience and their ability to support life in a balance.


We are attractive
All material or non-material "things" in Nature including people, consist of natural attraction relationships. Thus, as natural attraction produces Us it manifests itself as us, as our molecules, body, mind, sensations and feelings.

Significantly, our senses and feelings are not sterile. Like everything else they, too, are natural attraction expressing itself. For our survival they intelligently help us consciously, feelingly, register nature's ways as they seek fulfillment from their attraction to their origins in nature. For example, the sensation of thirst "knows" when to attract us to water.

Effects of disconnection
Biologically, humanity is a seamless continuum of Nature and natural attraction. However, a contemporary person daily lives and thinks over 99% of the time while disconnected from natural attractions in natural areas. This corrupts us to the point that we consider this dismemberment normal. We applaud it even as we suffer its abnormal effects upon our selves and the environment.

The missing attraction rewards in our Nature-disconnected emotionality excessively produce our wants and greed. They arise from our severed and frustrated natural attractions. This stressful void makes contemporary people the only organisms on Earth whose mentality destructively produces garbage, pollution, war, mental illness, loneliness, excessive stress and abusive relationships. These maladies, with rare exception, are absent in Nature or people in tune with Nature. That most people now believe we can not connect our thinking and relationships with nature is a great challenge.

Scientific shortcomings
The objectivity and science of disconnected contemporary thinking dismisses as subjective most of the natural attraction sensitivities that Nature and people hold in common. For example, sensory attractions to water (thirst), life (survival), appetite for air (to breathe), and belonging (community) are not even included in the five senses that we say we learn and know from. Satisfactions from our natural attraction to pets, friends, family, Nature, peace, justice and community seldom shape our self-esteem, economics, and technology.

In our nature-isolated thinking, we learn to view our natural attraction senses and feelings as unimportant, as non-measurable, childish or unreasonable loves (12). We condition ourselves to become sensuously sterile and oblivious to them. To our loss, we omit them from many equations. This corrupts us. We lose nature's essential, unifying energy, a natural attraction way of knowing and relating that peacefully holds the natural world in a self-healing, regenerative, mutually supportive, cooperative, equilibrium. Disconnected, we and Earth are becoming increasingly dysfunctional (4) (11).


Life's hidden purpose
The absence of natural attractions from our thinking leaves us to conclude that life systems, including ourselves, operate by the laws of chance and are without purpose. However, any thoughtful person may observe that, locally or globally, a life system does have a purpose. It is to survive, to follow its natural attraction to grow in support of life. Throughout nature, minerals, plants and animals achieve this purpose and perfection by fulfilling a multiplicity of natural attractions that resonate and beneficially modify each other. Things in Nature thereby intelligently, by "consensus" (many sensitivities together), unite as global citizens to their mutual benefit

As part of Nature, when our senses and feelings are not thwarted by nature conquering stories, artificial substitutes or social pressures, they attract us to responsibly support life. They then reward us with joy to keep us on this path (6A).


Restoring disconnection
Most therapies, healing and learning work better and produce greater responsibility when connected to natural attractions in nature. It is no longer heresy to say that the greater a person's natural attraction desensitization or disconnection, the greater are the problems that person suffers and causes. Conversely, sensuously reconnecting with attractions in nature may be our salvation for it enables us to transform our disorders into unifying, constructive relationships (5A-F).

To repair our mentality's destructive disconnection from Nature, at the Institute of Global Education a newly researched organic psychology, the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) provides a missing link that does the seemingly impossible. It enables anybody to safely make thoughtful, conscious, sensory contact with natural attraction energies and their renewing powers in Nature, backyard or back country. People thereby reduce their dismemberment stress and improve their thinking and ways of relating. This authentic reconnection with our natural attraction origins rejuvenates at least 53 inherent natural attraction sensitivities in us. It energizes them to register in our consciousness as attractive felt senses and logic (3).

The presence of these additional senses in our normal awareness enables us to enjoyably think and speak with them, to make more sense and thereby improve our relationships with our selves, each other and the natural systems within and around us. This becomes very attractive, therefore repeated, and thereby lasting (2).

NSTP helps anybody restore the inherent joy of their culturally suppressed natural attractions: senses of community, trust, place, compassion, reason, belonging, consciousness, global citizenship, empathy, literacy, humor, spirit, relaxation, and sustainability along with our forty-one additional natural senses. It enables us to come into balance as our thinking rationally taps into Nature's natural attraction to reason, peace, spirit, community and Higher Power.


It is neither sensible nor attractive for us to remain sensuously disconnected from Nature and continue to produce the destructive effects we and Earth presently suffer. To help us end this deterioration NSTP is readily available through online scholarships, courses, degree programs and training for nature-connected education, counseling and leadership. NSTP empowers caring individuals to help people, nations and religions share with each other their conscious sensory contact with regenerative natural attractions in natural areas. This unification improves personal, social and environmental relationships and restores peace.

Further information about NSTP is available at http://www.ecopsych.com and in the book The Web of Life Imperative (Trafford) and Reconnecting With Nature (Ecopress).







1. Bloom, Howard. (2000.) Global Brain. New York. John Wiley and

2. Cohen, Michael (1996) A Survey of Participants: Reactions to NSTP and Studies of Effects, Friday Harbor, WA, Institute of Global Education

3. Cohen, Michael (1997) Reconnecting With Nature: Finding Wellness Through Restoring Your Bond with the Earth, Eugene, OR, Ecopress

4. Cohen, Michael, Editor (2001) The State of Planet Earth: Results of Ecozombie Thinking (http://www.ecospsych.com/zombie2.html

(5A-E.) Chard, Philip Sutton. (1994.) The Healing Earth: Nature's medicine for
the troubled soul. Minnetonka MN. NorthWord Press.

(5B). Kahn, Peter H. (1999). The Human Relationship with Nature: Development and Culture. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

((5C). Frumkin, Howard (2001). Beyond toxicity: Human health and the natural environment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 234-240 (March)

(5D). Wilson, Edward O. (2001). Nature matters. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 241-242

(5E). Stilgoe, John R. (2001). Gone barefoot lately? Nature matters. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 243-244

(5F). Irvine, K and Warber, S (2002) "Greening Healthcare: Practicing as if the Natural Environment Really Mattered" reviewed in "Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine" September/October 2002 (Volume 8, Number 5).

6. Einstein, Albert et al (1952) Science and Philosophy http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/philos1.htm

6A. Jones, M. Who is the Boss of You? Institute of Global Education, Project NatureConnect, Technical Report 42002, http://www.ecopsych.com/wholeness66.html

7. Laszlo, Ervin. (1995.) The Interconnected Universe. London. World

8. Laszlo, Ervin. (1996.) The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the
Emerging Vision of Science. Rockport, MA. Element.

9. Newberg, Andrew. (2001.) Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science
and the Biology of Belief. New York. Ballantine Books.

10. Pojman, Louis P. (2001.) Environmental Ethics, 3rd Ed. Belmont, CA.

11. Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes & Allen D. Kanner. (1995.)
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco.
Sierra Club Books.

12. Shepard, Paul. (1982.) Nature and Madness. San Francisco. Sierra
Club Books.


Reviewed material
Other material that appears in this article is drawn from Michael J. Cohen's professionally reviewed publications in

The Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
Journal of Environmental Education,
Interpsych Journal of Mental Health,
Greenwich University Journal of Science and Technology,
Councelling Psychology Quarterly,
Proceedings of the North American Association for Environmental Education,
Journal of the Oregon Counseling Association,
The Trumpeter,
U.S. Department of Education Educational Resources Information Center,
Outdoor Communicator,
Clearing Magazine,
Nature Study,
Between the Species,
Cooperative Learning,
International Journal of Humanities and Peace
(for additional references, see the author's personal page at

Scientific validation
For further information about natural attraction see Nature Connected Psychology in the Greenwich University Journal of Science and Technology

For references to frequently asked questions, visit http://www.ecopsych.com/references.html


About the Author

Recipient of the 1994 Distinguished World Citizen Award, Ecopsychologist Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D., is a director of the Institute of Global Education, a special NGO consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he directs the Integrated Ecology Department and Project NatureConnect. He also serves on the faculty of Greenwich University, International University of Professional Studies and Portland State University. Dr. Cohen has founded several sensory environmental education programs, conceived the 1985 National Audubon Society Conference "Is the Earth a Living Organism," and is the author of The Web of Life Imperative (Trafford), Reconnecting With Nature (Ecopress, 1997), and Einstein's World (Institute Of Global Education Technical Bulletin 2000)



"The Natural Systems Thinking Process provides a readily accessible ....and.wonderfully effective means for students to acquire, understand, and act upon the transforming experience of being connected to nature; of being in respectful relationship with the natural world of which they are a part."

J.Marc McGinnes, J.D.
Senate Lecturer
University of California at Santa Barbara
Environmental Studies



After you obtain information about the Project NatureConnect program from this web site by using the Navigation guide (left column), a free, helpful 15 minute discussion by phone with a faculty member is the most effecient way to customize the program to your goals.





Share this website with a friend:

get this gear!



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

Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

send email

All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
The Web of Life Imperative.