MSc course module

Transpersonal ecopsychology

Knowing your role in a conscious Earth

We are living in unsettled times in which systems essential to life itself, ecological, social and personal, are being dis-integrated by human desires and behaviours. We created the strange, some would say illogical, predicament of undermining our existence through the psycho-cultural systems we have designed to make our lives better.

This option provides means of understanding the psycho-spiritual and psycho-cultural causes and consequences of ecological breakdown, and the human transformations necessary to resolving it.

It is alchemical work since:

  1. All life is made of the primal materials of earth, water, fire (sunlight) and air that has evolved increasingly complex forms and capacities to the point of a species (us) that has the capacity to use its knowledge literally to destroy or integrate on a planetary scale
  2. We, humans, have been warning ourselves of the consequences of exploiting the ecosystem (aka evolved creation), rather than aligning with it, for millennia through the spiritual sages and wisdom of all traditions.

They did not have ecological language, however, their teachings contain profound psycho-ecological warnings and insights in ‘coded’, symbolic language.

Transpersonal ecopsychology, then, brings the spiritual, psycho-emotional, socio-cultural and ecological aspects of existence together in a related way. It explores the extent to which the quest to ‘find our meaningful place in the scheme of things’, our niche or calling in the context of the whole, both as persons and as species, is also the key to returning to a healthy ecological functioning of the living body we call planet Earth.

We explore how and why Homo Sapiens, in all our dimensions, are dependent on and participants in the planetary ecosystem, and how this is a living transpersonal embodiment. For decades, ecological scientists have explained and warned about the breakdown of ecological life-support systems that human ways of living have generated, and that we are now experiencing. This option seeks to shed light on the deeper human, unconscious, instinctual dynamics of it as well as the possibilities of evolving our way through to sustaining psychospiritual life as members of this ecosystemic body. This is explored through readings and other resources, and discussion with peers and the tutor.

Overview

Accordion Content
  1. Explore the relevance of ecopsychology to today’s systemic crises, and in particular a transpersonal approach to ecology and ecopsychology.
  2. Explore the place, role and purpose of psyche in the ecosystem.
  3. Explore how life evolves ever deeper complexity and more expansive diversity all of which generates a harmony of parts and dynamically stable communities.
  4. Explore what happens with the emergence of the human species.
  5. Consider what alternative directions may be possible with regards to human membership in the ecosystem.
  6. Discuss your own ideas about ecopsychology with peers and the tutor in interactive forums.
  7. Join live webinars, combining relevant analytical discussion and exploration of your own lives.

Course leader

Paul Maiteny

Hennie Geldenhuys, M.B.,Ch.B M.Fam.Med

Psychotherapist, ecologist and anthropologist with 30 years experience in ecological education and research.

Student stories

Enquire now for February 2021

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