So far this review has drawn on a literature from a wide variety of disciplines including natural history, sociology, politics, and a variety of forms of psychology and psychotherapy. This attempt has been in line with Scull‘s (2004) call to honour the diversity of approaches within this diverse field, rather than to propagate a monoculture of approaches to ecopsychology.
The danger of including these diverse disciplines in this review is that the whole may become incoherent and self-contradictory, and therefore difficult to confidently apply clinically. In the model below are some suggested clinical applications of the ideas from prior chapters, arranged in a model intended to assist clinicians in navigating the bewildering array of possibilities.
A Dialectical Clinical Model
This model does not imply that the four groupings of ecopsychological ways of working with the human-nature relationship are separate and unrelated to each other. The placing of these ways of working on two axes is not meant to suggest that empathic or analytic stances, or materialistic or idealistic theories are incompatible. Instead, each axis is intended to be seen as a dialectic, a spectrum at some point along which clinicians might situate themselves with different clients, in different contexts, or at different moments of the therapy. Furthermore, each axis represents potential splits for clinicians to hold in awareness. The historical Western tendency to split mind and matter is represented in the idealistic-materialistic axis, whilst the tendency to split victim vs victimiser or guilty vs tragic is represented in the analytic-empathic axis. Being represented as a dialectic, the invitation is to hold both ends of the dialectic in mind, as well as to hold in mind the paradox that one end may be right or wrong at different times, or that despite seeming contradictions both ends of the dialectic may be true.
More practically speaking, different clients in different therapeutic relationships may be more open to being engaged by one of the approaches than by others, or may profit from developing in an area that they are underdeveloped in, or which they might be consciously or unconsciously avoiding. Similarly, clinicians may wish to play to their strengths or develop in areas they feel are their blind-spots or that they are less capable in.
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