Doctoral Program Coursework and Degree
"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."
D. H. Lawrence
"In learning how to think in communion with nature's self-correcting ways is the
salvation of our sanity and Earth.
Stressfully separated from nature's sensuous
rewards, we often psychologically bond to destructive gratifications.
Genuinely reconnecting our thinking with nature
replaces our destructive bonds with the restorative power of natural constructive
Michael J. Cohen, Department
Laymen and experts alike recognize
that the manner of thinking of human cultures in their current
state of being separated from nature is inflicting damage on
people and the life sustaining systems and resources of the planet.
Critical stress arising from the nature disconnected way we think,
adversely impacts people and the environment. It deteriorates
human relationships, and the air, water, and soil, our climate,
and plant and animal species. The thought process of industrial
society damages earth's ability to provide for life in balance
and risks damaging vital personal and global systems beyond repair.
Nature connected cultures and
individuals who have not been touched by, or have outgrown, the
destructive aspects of industrial thinking neither display nor
promote the runaway problems we face. Until recently, no process
has been widely available that enables people to think like nature
works and thereby help our troubles subside.
Our destructive ways are not
logical. They are psychological, they arise from our excessive
disconnection from nature disturbing the logic of the psyche
which, in turn, disturbs our thinking into producing our dilemmas.
It is illogical to try to solve our problems by using the same
thinking process that causes them
People are part of nature.
Research in natural areas during the past 30 years has produced
the Natural Systems Thinking Process, a nature reconnecting distance
learning program. It empowers individuals and institutions to
learn how to make conscious sensory contact with natural areas.
People psychologically tap into nature's wisdom, beauty and balance
there, and think with it by letting it heal, nurture and energize
into awareness the loving intelligence of nature that inherently
pervades our rationality, psyche and spirit.
Documentation of the Natural
Systems Thinking Process and its beneficial effects is found
in 32 articles published by ERIC, The Association of Humanistic
Psychology of the American Psychological Association, The Interpsych
Newsletter Journal, Journal of Environmental Education, the 1986-97
Conference Proceedings of the North American Association and
Association for Experiential Education and many other professional
In view of our rising personal
and environmental problems, the dire need for a cadre of experts
who can implement, use and teach the Natural Systems Thinking
Process is unquestionable.
Although environmental and
humanitarian issues are at the fore of modern society, virtually
unrecognized are their psychological roots in our disconnection
from nature. The objective here is to help resolve these psychological
issues by learning how to reconnect and think with nature.
This program has shown to develop
professionals who not only have the academic and scientific background
to study key nature disconnected psychological issues, but who
also design, develop, promote and implement practical nature-connected
ecopsychology solutions to the problems which face people, society
and the environment. Participants are challenged to think about
and relate to problems and issues from a sensory, interspecies,
global community, web of life point of view. Within this framework
students learn to apply the Natural Systems Thinking Process
to their other interests. Mastery of the process helps them develop
sustainable balanced relationships on critical fronts.
The educational philosophy
of the Applied Ecopsychology/Integrated Ecology program at an
affiliated University is to empower motivated adult learners
to become experts in implementing, teaching and researching the
Natural Systems Thinking Process. Graduates will be able to evoke
responsible personal and global relationships.
Participants will be empowered
to effectively use, teach and promote the use of nature connecting
activities and materials that enable people to:
-Learn ways of thinking critically
that reconnect with and heed natural callings within ourselves,
others and natural areas.
-Understand why we naturally
deserve to have good feelings and how to obtain them in personally
and globally responsible ways.
-Learn how to self-regulate
by letting nature connections nurture the balanced spirit, wisdom
and unity of nature within and about us.
-Reverse apathy, stress and
dysfunction by energizing our natural senses and feelings.
-Scientifically let our natural
connectedness regenerate and rejuvenate the hurt and abandoned
parts of our inner nature.
-Enjoy nature's enchantment
within and about us.
-Learn how to speak to Earth
and let it teach us.
-Know nature as nature knows
-Replace cultural substitutes
for nature with genuine connections with authentic nature.
-Recognize the culturally induced
unbalanced relationship between the old-brain and the new-brain
and conscientiously let tangible contact with nature re-balance
-Apply to appropriate parts
of their personal and professional life the Natural Systems Thinking
Processes described in the program.
-Learn to personally or professionally
organize, facilitate and introduce the ecopsychology of Project
NatureConnect's Natural Systems Thinking
-Process and to network with
others with similar goals for responsible personal and global
Additional information about Natural Attraction Ecology and
the Natural Systems Thinking Process and program is available
and in the book, Educating, Counseling and Healing with Nature, by Michael J. Cohen.
The program is designed to
meet the educational and vocational needs of mid-career professionals
who seek to integrate the Natural Systems Thinking Process and Natural Attraction Ecology into
their personal and professional lives. It is appropriate for
being referenced in the programs of Global Studies and Environmental
The program audience includes
graduates from baccalaureate programs and/or individuals employed
in the following areas: psychiatry, counseling, guidance, therapy,
mental health, group work, social work, spiritual leadership,
peace, conflict resolution, environmental studies. environmental
education, recreation, nature interpretation, youth work, personal
recovery. chemical abuse, interpersonal abuse, self-improvement,
experiential education, wildlife management, outdoor education,
citizenship, adjudicated youth, horticultural therapy, indigenous
people, community development, landscape gardening, intentional
relations, noetic science, leadership, systems theory, public
Minimum Entry Requirements
Applicants for the Doctoral
program in Applied Ecopsychology/Integrated Ecology
must have completed a Master's degree (or documented its equivalent)
plus completed the courses in our Organic Psychology Track (below).
Students should prepare a written statement of their practice and
research interests in Integrated Ecology and communicate with lead
faculty prior to formal application to IGE. Candidates should show
familiarity with and dedicated interest in the Natural Systems Thinking
Process website at www.ecopsych.com and submit a degree program application.
Evaluation for admission mostly
considers the applicant's success on the Orientation
Course as well as the applicant's prior learning and professional
experience, letters of recommendation, and a statement of intent
from the applicant. This statement (on the application.) should include the applicant's
general education preparation not included in official transcripts,
the preparation of the applicant for graduate training, the reason
the applicant is pursuing an advanced degree, and the applicant's
future career plans and avocations.
The Degree Program
In general the Ph.D. program
follows the Certificate and
Student Cooperative Program through
3 certification levels of coursework that conclude with matriculation
into a degree
program where the student's research and dissertation are
The quality, content and process
of the core courses in the IGE program are fully accredited in
the United States and internationally as a part of Project NatureConnect's
regionally accredited cooperative University programs that review
the courses and offer credit for them.
programs are proceding with the accreditation process. Candidates
should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of programs
that are regionally accredited.
Lead Faculty Information
Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1605
Friday Harbor, WA 98250 USA
Completing at least one exploratory phone call with Dr. Cohen is required to enter the program.
Michael Cohen is an Ecopsychologist who founded
and coordinates Project NatureConnect, a distance learning degree
program with extended educational workshops and course offerings from
The Institute of Global Education, a special NGO consultant to the
United Nations Economic and Social Council. He has developed the
Natural Systems Thinking Process through degrees at University of
California, Berkeley, Columbia University and Akamai/SJDLC University
along with 36 years of living outdoors year round researching and
teaching multisensory nature activities. Dr. Cohen is faculty at
several universities and has founded degree granting environmental
outdoor education programs for the Trailside Country School, Lesley
College, and the National Audubon Society. His many books and articles
include Reconnecting With Nature: finding
wellness through restoring your bond with the Earth, the 1990
award winning Connecting With Nature:
Creating Moments that Let Earth Teach, the self-guiding
Applied Ecopsychology training manual Well Mind, Well Earth, and
Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature.
He is the 1994 recipient of the Distinguished World Citizen Award and
has been recognized as a maverick
Minimum Degree Requirements
Program participants must complete
a minimum of 48 graduate credits, or their equivalence, above the masters, as outlined
below, and a dissertation or major project in lieu of dissertation
(with permission from faculty), according to University
guidelines. Participants must also complete an admissions to
candidacy examination at the conclusion of their academic coursework
and then proceed with a full research proposal process. Following
successful submission of an acceptable first draft of the dissertation
manuscript, participants will complete a defense of dissertation
and then finalize the dissertation document.
NOTE : Students who have completed
coursework in any of the required areas may petition lead faculty
for a waiver of these requirements by documenting how they would
apply NSTP these areas. The student then qualifies for a special 18 credit core Organic Psychology Track
NOTE: Electives may be selected
from outside the program area with the approval of the lead faculty
by documenting how they would apply NSTP these areas.
University Degree Program
The quality, content and process of the core
courses in the IGE program are fully accredited in the United States
and internationally as a part of Project NatureConnect's regionally
accredited cooperative University programs that review the courses and
offer credit for them.
university degree program works with accredited and
non-accredited schools. Candidates should be aware of the advantages
and disadvantages of programs that are regionally accredited.
NOTE: inquire about an equivalent education waiver of the MS Degree if you are interested in the Ph.D.
Minimum Degree Requirements
As participants in the Graduate
Student Cooperative Program
participants that qualify must complete either 1 or 2 below: