The material found in the literature search is challenging to organise because it consists of many different perspectives and disciplines. The relevant literature is broader than the category of ecopsychology, and is written not only by psychotherapists but also those from other disciplines including historians, sociologists and ecologists. Rather than trying to organise the material according to discipline or modality I have attempted to organise it according to two other major divisions in the field that cross over the borders of modality. These divisions will hopefully be relevant for thinking about clinical implications, and also for thinking about the material in terms of relationship as required by the research question.
The first division is clearly defined (at least in the most extreme forms) in philosophy, as the divide between idealism and materialism. According to Roszak (1992), philosophies of idealism hold that our minds have the primary responsibility for forming our experience of reality, whereas in philosophies of materialism our minds more passively reflect material reality as it is governed by the laws of the science. Idealism tends to focus on the inner processes of our minds, because it holds that mind determines our experience of matter. Materialism tends to focus on the external material world because it sees the material world as determining our inner reality. Most of the literature found in the search relates more to one or the other of these perspectives, which will therefore be the perspective it will be considered from.
The tension between idealistic and materialistic perspectives is a tension that is alive within a range of literature. For instance, in ecopsychology literature one of the ways this tension is referred to is as a split between the person and the environment (Clinebell, 1996.) In some sociological literature this same tension is thought of in terms of theories privileging the material environment, versus theories of social constructionism (Sampson & Goodrich, 2009.) Materialistic and idealistic theories both speak to the relationship between matter (nature) and mind (personal subjective experience), and each assign one partner in the relationship as having the dominant or determinative role.
The second division is based on distinctions drawn in psychotherapy rather than philosophy, and is perhaps a more obviously relational distinction. According to Fay (2010) both empathic and analytic lineages of psychotherapy exist in Aotearoa. While he does not strictly define the terms empathic and analytic, I will attempt a loose characterisation of each, for the purposes of clarifying psychotherapeutic views of the human-nature relationship.
The empathic perspective is attuned to unmet needs and attempts to join with the other in relationship (whether the other is nature itself, the client, or a culture.) In terms of psychoanalytic psychotherapy the empathic stance might correlate most closely with selfpsychology and attachment theory. In contrast, the analytic perspective uncovers and interprets unconscious and unacceptable psychological material, it interprets the defences against this material‘s uncovering, and also the way in which this material emerges in the context of relationship . The analytic perspective might correlate with insight-oriented approaches to psychotherapy, including more classical psychoanalysis. This analytic/empathic division is imperfect and somewhat arbritary in terms of theory as, for instance, analytic perspectives can encompass empathy (K. Tudor, personal communication, September 7, 2010.) However, as long as its limitations are held in mind, the analytic/empathic division may be useful clinically in thinking about the ways in which a clinician might shift their stance and emphasis whilst working across the breadth of the ecopsychology field, which is by its nature vast in scope.
As with the first division, literature will be sorted according to the perspective it can be most usefully related to. Sorting the literature into these divisions results in four different possibilities: analytic materialism, empathic materialism, analytic idealism, and empathic idealism. These form the next four chapters of the dissertation.
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