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Project NatureConnect
Orientation Course



Psychological Elements of Global Citizenship

Orientation to Organic Psychology: The Natural Systems Thinking Process

Counseling, Healing and Educating with Nature

  • The science of communicating with natural systems
  • The restoration of Earth's intelligence within us
  • The art of thinking with Nature

The Natural Systems Thinking Process is an advanced educational tool, a social technology that helps contemporary people safely make genuine sensory contact with authentic Nature.

  • It enables us to consciously restore Nature's balanced intelligence and restorative powers into our thinking, relationships and spirit.
  • It empowers us to realize our deeper hopes and ideals, to more responsibly deal with problems, including those we ordinarily might not address.
  • It provides us with readily available, teachable, ways to connect to "higher power" in Nature, backyard or back country.

People who use and teach NSTP benefit from a critical component that is normally missing from our thinking, and wellness. Our occupation and relationships improve along with our credibility, global citizenship and happiness.

About the course 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 coordinates the Integrated Ecology Department and Project NatureConnect. He also serves on the faculty of Greenwich University, the 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 award winning author of six books including The Web of life Imperative, Reconnecting With Nature, Einstein's World, and Well Mind, Well Earth. Email


Course Description:

Discover how our excessive separation from nature stressfully dismembers our sentient inner nature and produces our psychologically bonded "unsolvable" problems. Learn to reverse this destructive process. Master thoughtful nature reconnecting activities that dissolve stress by satisfying our deepest natural curiosity, loves and spirit. This course scientifically teaches lasting, hands-on, education, counseling and leadership skills that feelingly tap the "higher power" wisdom of nature's creation process. Its email and telephone contacts between course members let nature help us nurture warm interpersonal relationships, wellness and responsibility.

Course Fee: $35.00 basic,

plus books, application fees and discounts $150


 APPLICATION: For a course application form select here. Once you have completed the application, you will be given instructions on how to proceed with the course.


Course Overview:




Updated from PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, May-June 1994

From the druids of the Celtic forests to the great tribes of American Indians, people have sought balance, peace and wisdom by living according to the laws of Mother Nature.

Unfortunately, this century will be remembered for unprecedented exploitation of nature--and widespread psychological disturbance of individuals.

No coincidence to Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D., pioneer of what he calls integrated ecology or applied ecopsychology. A synthesis of ecology and psychology, integrated ecology proposes that both the destruction of the Earth's environment and people's isolation, stress and dysfunction stem from a fundamental denial of our connection to nature. And by psychologically reconnecting with nature, we reverse our psychological disorders.

Western civilization emphasizes only the faculties of sight, reason, and language, forcing most of us to suppress our natural senses --all 53 of them, by Cohen's reckoning. Among them: hunger, thirst, compassion; color, sex, place; trust, belonging, intuition; community, nurturing and motion. Each is a natural attraction form of love that sentiently connect sus to the world; we think with them to make sense. Spending over 95% of our lives cloistered and indoors leaves these natural sensory connections excessively wanting; human dysfunction and evils -- cigarette smoking, greed, dependencies, violence -- naturally follow to help fill our sensory void and frustrations.

Cohen is not a lone hunter of the bond between man and nature. According to Pulitzer-Prize winning sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, Ph.D., of Harvard, people have an inherent biological need to be in contact with the out-of-doors. He calls it "biophilia", and believes that nature may hold the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction. Our childhood love of animals and natural myths and fairy tales may be early evidence of our basic affinity for nature and its instructive and healing properties.

Counseling and building responsible relationships by reconnecting with Nature? Cohen has devised therapeutic home study training manuals, workshops, on-site and e-mail/correspondence courses, discussion groups and degree programs whose activities, in backyards or back country, re-create many beneficial relationships enjoyed by earlier hunting, gathering, and communal living peoples. In the American Psychological Association Journal "The Humanistic Psychologist" (Vol. 21, No. 3) and other professional publications, he reports that while on these education programs community spirit and responsibility grows, participant's personality and eating disorders subside, learning and other cognitive abilities improve, and violence and prejudice dissolve. His participants learn to do, own and teach unforgettable nature connecting activities that produce these results throughout their lives. Gradually, a deep environmental literacy evolves that rejuvenates their natural senses, balance and joy.

From his home base at the Institute of Global Education, a special public education NGO consultant to the United Nations Department Economic and Social Council, Cohen offers books, workshops, training and degree programs and information about ecologically oriented education and therapeutic methods.

Visit descriptions of the course outcomes and some students who participate in it. Read the whole course in a new book The Web of Life Imperative


 APPLICATION: For a course application form select here. Once you have completed the application, you will be given instructions on how to proceed with the course.




In learning how to think with nature is a restoration of our sanity and Earth.

Nurture your felt love for Nature. Never deny it. That love is Nature's voice, the eons, the purifying intelligence, beauty and diversity of Nature sustaining us in its perfection.

Our daily disconnection from this intelligence produces our greatest hurt, greed and destructiveness. Natural systems and people neither produce nor suffer them.

To recover our sanity we must reconnect with Nature's intelligence and restore its strength and peace in our thoughts, soul and surroundings. Now, a readily available Natural Systems Thinking Process empowers us to do this.

- Michael J. Cohen, Project Director



Course Specifications:

  • Open to all interested persons; transferable to most academic programs and professional training requirements; credit optional
  • May be used in Distance Education Ph.D. and M.S. Degrees via email
  • 8-16 days in length (minimum); average length 5 weeks.
  • Begins on the first and 15th day of each month, or by appointment;
  • A consensus based time schedule is planned by course members;
  • Enjoy a supportive 4-6 person interact study group via email;
  • Credit optional: transferable graduate or undergraduate credit or professional clock hours.
  • Post-course internships available.
  • This email/correspondence course is part of a subsidized Natural Systems Thinking Process course and online degree program offered by Project NatureConnect. It uses self-guiding materials found entirely on internet sites..(Optionally, you may use the books "Web of Life Imperative" "and"Reconnecting With Nature" in conjunction with the course and get more out of it, as well as be able to continue the program independently.) The course starts whenever you would like to proceed with an available interact study group.


NOTE: A prerequsite and instructions for this course are required to optimize its effectiveness. If you are signing up for the course you may begin the prerequsite material now while you are waiting for the course to start. http://www.rockisland.com/~process/5grnchdprerqust.html. This material may also be read, offline, in the Web of Life Imperative pages 29-39 and 121-131.

Course Fees and recommended financial contributions

A donation of $35.00 (refundable*) is requested to help cover Course organizational, administrative and instructional costs. It includes eligibility for facilitator internships, degree programs, scholarships, participation in the next level (Introductory) Course. (see application for full cost including optional books and program application fees).

If your think you may want to get a certificate or degree in this field, you may save $450 by first applying to the degree program. Details are found on the application form and at the degree website. The course and its books are free to qualified certificate or degree program applicants as they are included in the application fee.

NOTE: scholarships, payment terms, work study, credit and financial aid are available.

CREDIT OPTION: An additional $47.00 is required if you want to obtain transferable graduate or undergraduate credit to non-IGE degree programs. Credit transfer is automatic into the IGE programs

Two Textbooks are recommended but not required. The basic text for the course is on the website as part of the course when you take it. You may download it (150 pages) to read it offliine.

 APPLICATION: For a course application form select here. Once you have completed the application, you will be given instructions on how to proceed with the course.





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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

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