MSc course module

Transpersonal ecopsychology

Knowing your role in a conscious Earth


We are living in extremely destabilised times. We humans are undermining life-support ecosystems essential to life itself, ecological, social and personal. It is a tragic irony that we have been doing so with the aim of making our lives better. We have now reached the threshold point where the destructive results of our priorities and action is confronting us full-on. Yet, we are continuing to seek technological ‘solutions and fixes’ using the same motivations and types of thinking as have caused the devastation in the first place. 

Transpersonal Ecopsychology provides a new way of thinking about and understanding human meaning and purpose as embedded participants in the ecosystem, rather than in the binary way of thinking of ourselves as ‘other’ to ‘nature’ and ‘the environment’. 


This option brings the spiritual, psycho-emotional, socio-cultural and ecological aspects of existence together in a related way. It explores, under an evolutionary-ecological framework, 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.

The option begins by outlining the essential, baseline principles and dynamics of ecological life-support systems. All life is made of the primal materials of earth, water, fire (sunlight) and air. Out of these have evolved increasingly complex forms and capacities, to the point of a species that has the capacity to use its knowledge literally to destroy or integrate on a planetary scale.

The option then explains the biology and psychology of individual survival, security and well-being that has driven us to unintentionally put ourselves in this position of collective harm, and the cultural processes that justify our chosen priorities.

The next stage in the option presents the fundamental change of mind and heart that is required to shift from a binary to a systemic, integrative understanding of ourselves, as species and our lives as individuals; the psycho-spiritual and psycho-cultural causes and consequences of ecological breakdown; and the human transformations necessary to resolving it.

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. Consider what alternative directions may be possible with regards to human membership in the ecosystem.
  5. Discuss your own ideas about ecopsychology with peers and the tutor in interactive forums and join live webinars, combining analytical discussion and practical exploration of your own lives.

Option tutor

Paul Maiteny

Paul Maiteny

Paul Maiteny is a psychotherapist (in private practice), an ecologist and anthropologist. He has been publishing on what is now known as ecopsychology since the 1990s, focusing on its psychospiritual and cultural dimensions.

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