An Anarchist Psychotherapy: Ecopsychology and a Pedagogy of Life

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel Rhodes (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Glenn Hudak

Abstract: Drawing from my background in education and psychotherapy, I reflect on how both of these fields are heavily influenced by developmental and behavioral psychology. Today's psychological model is influenced by a western scientific theory that is reductionist and views the natural world and those in it as commodities to be dissected, segmented and studied. I trace the evolution of this western scientific model and reflect on how it has shaped contemporary psychology. Once psychology has adopted this western scientific model as the only model, it demands that both education and psychotherapy view those with whom they work as commodities. This model is hierarchical, patriarchal and linear in its approach, which rejects the individual's needs and desires to be independent and autonomous. During this process I intimate an alternative scientific model. The scientific model that I postulate is more inclusive and views the natural world and those living in it as organic and interconnected. I draw from an array of philosophical ideas ranging from Eastern philosophies such as Taoism and Buddhism to western philosophical ideas such as anarchism and Marxism. Anarchism and Marxism strongly critique western capitalist endeavors. Both are models of critical theory that challenge the hierarchical aspects of western psychology. I also look at ideas of ecofeminism and its critique of Neoliberalism and globalization, which is promoted by the western scientific model as a way to support the exploitation of Third World countries by transnational corporations and agribusinesses. Ecofeminism is a strong critic of the patriarchal structure of western science and western psychology. I will then reflect on the ideas of religion and spirituality that are more ecological and "engaging;" or what I call ecospirituality. This ecospirituality places strong emphasis on the ideas of contemplation, dialogue and community building, which provides an alternative to the linear thinking in western psychology and science. Ultimately psychotherapy and education need to become an intellectual endeavor and educators and psychotherapists need to become "cultural workers." Through this process there will be an embracing of radical democracy, communalism and ecological consciousness. In this dissertation I suggest that western psychology should shift from its developmental and behavioral influences with its reliance on a western reductionist scientific view to what Theodore Roszak calls an ecopsychology. This ecopsychology is inclusive, and therefore views the individual and the natural world as more than a commodity and becomes a pedagogy of life.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Psychotherapy, Ecopsychology, Pedagogy, western scientific model, reductionist, Eastern philosophies, Taoism, Buddhism, anarchism, Marxism, ecofeminism, Neoliberalism, globalization, ecospirituality,
Education $x Philosophy.
Critical pedagogy.
Inclusive education.
Multicultural education.
Education $x Aims and objectives.
Education $x Psychological aspects.
Education $x Political aspects.
Psychology and philosophy $x Education.
Postmodernism and education.

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