Why Students Apply
Students who come to the Ecopsychology program at Naropa feel a strong calling to be part of the ecological revolution now under way. Our students tend to be passionate about environmental issues and the role that consciousness plays in personal and cultural shifts toward sustainability. They also find direct contact with the natural world to be a support for personal healing and profound growth.
There are at least three reasons students apply to this program:
1) They have an already-established career, and they use the program for professional growth and personal development. The Ecopsychology program expands and deepens their work, bringing more integration of the psychological and the ecological. One woman who is an Ecopsychology graduate from Eugene, Oregon, has been a clinical psychologist for more than twenty years. Feeling a bit stifled in her work doing therapy and feeling drawn to ecopsychology, she wanted to bring ecotherapy into her practice. Now that she has graduated, she is teaching ecotherapy at a local college, giving talks on the psychological dimensions of climate change, and editing two books on the human-nature relationship, while maintaining her psychotherapy practice. Ecopsychology’s insights into the health potential of contact with nature is now a central part of this graduate's work.
2) Many students who do not have an established career use this degree to move into a career that incorporates and applies ecopsychology. Working closely with an advisor, students tailor the program to support movement into fulfilling and meaningful careers. We continue to be delighted and inspired by the employment opportunities students create. One student from Wales had long had an interest in Buddhism and sustainability but did not know exactly how to combine and express these interests. Since completing his MATP Ecopsychology degree, he has become a leader and trainer in the Transitions Movement that is spreading rapidly across the U.S. and parts of Europe. His approach to this movement embodies one of the core insights of ecopsychology: appeals to positive emotions such as love, joy, and devotion lead to more effective and more sustainable environmental action than appeals to fear, guilt, and sacrifice.
3) Some students come to this program for personal enrichment and transpersonal growth. They see the MATP program as a vehicle for psychospiritual growth and transformation. Another woman from Maryland works at a yoga studio and talks to everyone who will listen about the merits and benefits of an ecopsychological lifestyle. The development of community among program students and faculty, the intellectual challenge of the program, and the experiential engagement with contemplative and transpersonal practices were all essential for her.