The InterPsych Newsletter 2(4)



IPN 2(4) Section C: Research


                      SECTION C: RESEARCH (1/3)

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                          * INDEX *

               PSYCHOTHERAPY by Michael J. Cohen


Starting with our February issue, the InterPsych Newsletter
will be posting calls for collaborators and information in this
section.  The formats for each of these sections are described
below.  All submissions should be sent to the IPN mailbox


Submissions should be sent to the above address in the
following format:

The header of the message should read "SEARCH:" with
additional information in the header describing the general
subject matter (i.e., NEUROSCIENCE). The body of the message
should contain information on the type of collaboration
involved and also the submitor's full name, institutional
affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail


Requests for general information, personal experiences,
inquiries on grants and funding opportunities, information on
research programs, feedback from experts, sponsors, and
sponsorship offers are explicitly welcome. Our distributional
channels on the Internet are very well-suited to serve this
purpose in a time and resource-efficient manner.

The header of the message should read "REQUEST:" with
additional information in the header describing the general
subject matter of the study (i.e., SCHIZOPHRENIA).  The body
of the message should include the submitor's full name,
institutional affiliation (if any), mailing address, phone
number, and e-mail address.

                    SECTION C: RESEARCH (2/3)

                     COUNSELING AND NATURE:

                       Michael J. Cohen
                 University of Global Education


This study identifies the natural world as a exceptional
resource for learning how to therapeutically build responsible
relationships and it offers sensory activities that let nature
teach its wise and balanced ways. Once participants identify and
differentiate their "natural-sensory" and cognitive "language-
reasoning" ways of knowing, a coloring task challenges them to
express in words their natural sensory knowledge. The task
induces stress which disappears when language is introduced that
validates their sensory way of knowing. This paper observes the
dynamics of this transaction and examines its stress management
and mental health implications, It offers unique nature
connecting activities and home study training programs that
reduce stress and reports their mental health and environmental

Many outdoor educators and therapists confirm my observation of
a reduction of social and psychological problems when our
clients are in natural areas. This reduction parallels the
relative absence of psychological problems and insanity found in
nature-centered tribal communities. It suggests that the purpose
of modern psychology and psychotherapy is to heal the sensory
wounds inflicted by Western Civilization's excessive
disconnection from the natural ways and wisdom of the global
life community. My findings confirm this, for by teaching my
clients to use and own nature connected activities and
reasoning, their problems wane while their wellness, spirit and
ability to learn increase (Cohen, 1994).

Can sanity truly be measured by Western Civilization?  Do we
promote true sanity if we teach our clients to support and
depend upon an irresponsible society?  This paper describes a
practical answer to this question, a working model for
responsibly creating personal, social and environmental balance.

Since 1959 I have constantly lived, learned and taught
throughout the seasons in natural areas, the places Thoreau
called  "A civilization other than our own".  That non-language
civilization taught me how to let its "magic" therapeutically
counsel people. I discovered and use counseling activities that
let Earth itself teach its integrity, a wisdom joy and beauty
devoid of pollution, war and insanity. This was not difficult to
learn once I recognized that as natural beings we are born with
this ability. All I had to do was let Earth nurture it, and that
is how I help others learn it now.

The natural world produces no garbage. On a macro level, it
values everything from proton to planet. Nothing in nature is
discarded or unwanted, a way of relating that defines
unconditional love in action. Scientifically validating and
connecting with nature's "unconditional love" and its effects
allows us to enjoy it.

We, as part of life, inherit the natural world's integrity as
our inner nature, a profound globally shared creation blueprint
which too often demeaningly we call "The little child within
us"(Cohen, 1993b). True education includes learning to read that
blueprint, to draw it out from within and resonate with it,
validate it and support its integrity. Instead, to our cost,
society often teaches us to conquer it within and about us.

Reading the blueprint connects us to our common origins, that we
might start anew to co-create a truly civilized society rather
than become even more personally and socially "bewildered"
(nature-separated).  In this article, I offer critical thinking
tools and activities for reading the non-language blueprint.
Appropriately, the tools come from modern knowledge, from
experience with today's science, problems and relationships
(Knapp, 1988), not from other times, environments and cultures.
The tools I use let familiar contact with natural systems teach
us how to enjoyably walk in balance. Counselors, educators and
interpreters increasingly use theses tools to reverse apathy,
stress and dysfunction.

Nature seldom sustains itself by using "techno"-logic meaning:
"A thinking logic that creates artificial stories and
techniques".  Instead, the natural world uses "bio" logic. In
people, Bio logic consists of being multisensory, of heeding
each moment's natural attractions that call to our inner nature
through our more than 53 , not just 5, genetically inherited,
but culturally devalued, natural senses and feelings such as
thirst, smell or nurturing. These feelings are ancient, globally
evolved memory signals, multisensory ways of knowing and being
for harmonious survival. For example, not only is water a vital
flowing foundation of life, so, equally, is our natural survival
sense and feeling of thirst. Thirst is a biological memory that
re-connects land beings to water and survival. Thirst fluctuates
to self-regulate our water flow so we neither bloat, burst or
dehydrate. The feeling of thirst makes bio-logic sense as do
each of our 52 other natural senses. And although we seldom
describe it as such, most counseling is multisensory learning, a
sensing or re-sensing (remembering) one or more natural
sensations along with their degree of integration, fulfillment
or frustration.

Too often, our techno-logic words and stories exclude our
natural sensory wisdom. Each word, story or moment that doesn't
bring to awareness our natural sensory interconnectedness
further separates us from the support of nature's multisensory
integrity (Cohen 1994). However, an account by Rodney Romney
exemplifies how multisensory experiences with the natural world
sensibly modify human behavior: In Scotland, farmers were
overturning their hay bales to exterminate rats that lived
beneath them. A trio of rats tried to flee but, unlike the other
fleeing rats, these three stayed closely together which limited
their ability to escape. Upon investigation, the farmers found
that the middle rat of the three was blind; its companions were
guiding it to safety. Deeply moved, the farmers did not kill
these rats.

The farmers responded to many natural senses and feelings
triggered by the incident including consciousness, sight,
nurturing, place, curiosity, hunger, motion, trust, empathy,
sound, compassion, community and reason. We sometimes call this
response human morality, values, ethics, or being humane.
However, these words separate us from a truth of nature. They
hide that natural senses are nature expressing itself, for
natural senses are solely of, by and from the natural world.
Note that the rats "morally" responded to the same group of
senses and rats have done so for millions of years before
humanity evolved. We observe similar animal and plant behavior
throughout the natural world. However, our culturally ingrained,
prejudicial anti-nature stories prevent us from saying the
farmers acted naturally, like rats, pigs or fungi.

Many researchers validate that psychologically and
physiologically, a human being's inner nature consists of a
variety of distinct, different natural sensations that we call
faculties or instincts (Cohen, 1994; Murchie, 1978; Pearce,
1980; Rivlin & Gravelle,  1984; Rovee-Collier, 1992; Samples,
1976; Stevens, 1993; Spelke, 1992; Wynne-Edwards, 1991). They
include senses like color, thirst, language, smell, taste,
consciousness, excretion, belonging, space, distance, form,
temperature and touch. Each is unique, each offers a specific
message and wisdom. Note that reasoning, language and
consciousness are also natural senses that serve a survival
function in nature. In some form and
intensity, each sense or sensitivity pervades the natural world
including our inner nature.

Since the Spring of 1993, University of Global Education
Department of Integrated Ecology instructors and associates have
completed an informal study of over 1100 people, mostly aged
16-51, of differing occupations (Cohen, 1993a). Our object was
to determine if we could observe the effects of separating
people from nature by assigning inappropriate words and labels
to a person's sensory inner nature. We did this by first asking
the study participants "When did you first learn to know the
color Green? Participants responses fell into two main

A. Some participants remembered when they learned to associate
the word green with their green color sensation, thereby knowing
green by its name or label. For example: "I remember that my
parents told me that the name for the color of the grass and
trees was green."

B. Some participants recognized that they naturally registered
green (greenness) as a sense or sensation at birth or before:
For example "Like many other species, I was biologically born
knowing green. It is a God thing. I could naturally sense and
distinguish the green grass from the blue sky even though at the
time, I didn't know the names of their colors."

So we know green in two ways: by the biological, inborn natural
color sense (sensitivity) to green (greenness) and by the
word-symbol green which labels that sensitivity. However,
consider the following findings and considerations of the study:

When Carol was an infant learning to talk, her father, an
experimental psychologist, used her as an experiment. He
purposely taught her that the name for the color green was
orange and the name for orange was green. The word and the color
bonded.  Today she is 34 years old and she still gets confused
when naming these colors. She still tends to call orange green
and green orange. Carol often "thinks about" and "figures out"
the correct terms for these colors rather than automatically
knowing them. Sometimes she feels stupid and stressed for having
to do so, sometimes she still mistakes one for the other. We
found several participants who said they had similar experiences
with color, and with other areas too, for example
left-handedness: "The teacher broke my left had by hitting it
with a ruler because I wrote with it."  "Unfortunately, as a
lefty,  I did not learn to write left handed--I learned right
handed, if you want to call it learning.  Today, the only way I
can communicate in writing without an interpreter is via
typewritten characters."  "I must wear a red glove on my left
hand and a green one on my right while sailing in order to tell
port from starboard."  "Writing with my right hand stressed me,
it resulted in me biting my fingernails."

Consider this scenario: A teacher tells her first grade class
"Today we are going to learn green" and a child says "I don't
need to learn that again, I've known green since before I was
born."  The teacher responds "Can you read 'green'? Can you
write 'green'?  Can you spell it or tell me how many times it
appears on this chart?  If you can't, you are ignorant,
illiterate, a failure, a problem for yourself and society."
The color green, a vital natural part of the child experiences
itself as garbage, something unknown in nature, something that
is rejected and unsupported.  How can this part naturally find
its identity?  It senses abandonment and a child's natural self
inherently knows abandonment to be death, for nothing survives
without support in nature. So much for the child's security,
self-esteem and self-confidence in this sensory area until his
or her scholastic skills are achieved.

Hopefully other intact ways of being support the child through
this period, but many of them are under assault too.  In all too
many young people we see violence, tranquilization and
dependencies used to relieve the discomforting hole we dig by
not learning to validate nature within and about us.  Too often
we call this process normal adolescence or rebellion against
authority, too often our nature-blind eyes don't even see the

Can we learn to feel good about ourselves as natural beings in a
nature separated society?  We asked each of our study
participants to verbally call upon their inner nature, their
inborn, non-language, natural sense of color, to express itself,
to do its natural "inner child" thing. The vehicle we used for
this purpose is the list of color names found in figure 1, not
unlike the Strop Test. The words naming the colors were written
in different colored inks (for example, the word "brown" was
written in yellow ink). Participants were asked to quickly go
down the color chart list and say aloud the ink colors, not the
color names. For example, the first color is red, not orange.

(Figure 1)
ORANGE      -written with red ink
RED         -written with purple ink
BLUE        -written with black ink
BLACK       -written  with blue ink
BROWN       -written  with yellow ink
YELLOW      -written with green ink
PINK        -written with orange ink
GREEN       -written with green ink

As a control for this task, we first asked participants to
quickly identify blocks of identical ink colors that we painted
on a separate page.

When using figure 1, although practically every participant had
no difficulty labeling, the control blocks of ink colors, most
participants had difficulty quickly identifying the same ink
colors when they spelled out words. The overwhelming tendency
was for participants' culturally trained sense of language to
dominate and, out of habit, or "word addiction" read the colors
as words rather than as colors. In addition, when doing this
activity quickly, over 40% of the participants "deluded" in
that they spoke a written color name aloud but actually believed
they had said the ink color. For example, in the fifth item in
figure 1, Paul believed he read the ink color correctly even
though he said the word "brown"  while seeing the color yellow.
If another person had had not been with him and caught the the
error, Paul would not have known that he made it. It's similar
to you, the reader, perhaps not noticing that the words "the"
and "had" were doubled in the previous sentence until I now
alert you to this fact. The difference is that Paul lost
awareness of a vital sensory signal from his inner nature, not
simply a typographical error.

Participants concluded: "My trained habitual dependency on using
words overwhelmed my natural sensory inner child, an important,
loving natural part of myself. I had trouble expressing my
natural ability to recognize green in a non-language way." One
participant offered: "I love nature yet I have a hard time
loving myself. This helps explain why."

Participants never experienced "difficulty,"  "tension,"
"conflict" or "stress" on the last word on the color chart, the
word green written in green ink. In all cases, "Green" written
in green ink felt more sensible, relaxing and attractive than
did the other color words.  "It feels like a refreshing oasis",
says one participant.

Can we learn to feel good about ourselves as natural beings if
we don't first meet the challenge of bringing into our awareness
who we are as natural beings?  This study suggests that our
awareness, our consciousness, is overwhelmingly dominated by
words that disconnect us from nature within and about us.  We
have to learn how to use language and reasoning get past our
stories, to find and validate our true colors.

)From early in our lives, our formal and informal education
excessively conditions us to bring the sensory world into our
awareness by labeling it with language abstractions  -words,
symbols and images- and validating the reasonable cultural
meanings of these abstractions. Usually two different natural
sense groups lying in two different parts of the brain are at
work when we "know" something natural like the color green
(Samples 1976):

The Old-brain: Our natural sense of color lying in the large,
anciently evolved "old-brain" enables us to experience color as
an unlabeled, non-verbal sensation or feeling. The old-brain
registers non-language tensions, sensations, feelings and
emotions. It makes up approximately 87% of the brain and is the
home of 51 naturally pervasive sense groups, some of which I
have mentioned. Most of our old brain sensitivities we inherit
from and share with the plant and animal kingdoms (Cohen, 1994,
1993; Murchie 1978). These natural senses are facts as real as
rocks, oceans and gravity; our desire to breathe is as much a
property of air as is the wind. In multisensory concert natural
sensitivities make the balanced "natural sense" that is nature's
beauty, peace and wisdom. In the natural environment natural
sensitivities provide a non-language, interspecies attraction
communion. This communion permits natural systems to act
sensibly as a community, "to make common sense," "work by
consensus," to organize, preserve and regenerate themselves
responsibly, intelligently and diversely without producing
garbage, war, or insanity (Cohen 1994).  If assigning these
powers to nature and the old brain seems invalid, consider this:
The naturally pervasive patterns that colonies of food seeking
bacteria form (in the shape of the snail vortex, common
snowflake, tree branches, and starfish chiral) result from how
individual organisms in these bacterial communities communicate
with each other and disseminate information throughout the
colony.  The behavior of these earliest forms of life shows that
they change their behavior in response to changing environmental
conditions, not through random genetic mutation.  They
cooperatively signal, calculate, network, regulate and control
their community behavior, then their genes mutate and respond to
environmental conditions.  The patterns they produce are the
same as those found in minerals, suggesting that the same
process exists on molecular levels (Lipkin, 1995).

The New-brain: Our two senses of language and reason lie in our
small, more recently evolved, "new-brain" the neocortex. These
two senses learn to know greenness as the culturally correct
word or label  (like the word "green") for sensory experiences.
The new-brain makes up about 13% of the total brain. It creates,
experiences, validates and processes culturally trained
symbolism: language, letters, words, numbers, drawings, logic,
abstractions and stories. Society teaches us to mostly think and
reason in new-brain symbols and stories, be they accurate or
inaccurate, destructive or constructive, limited or wide-ranged.

Our new brain presently manages the world. Are we satisfied with
the effects?  Can we learn to do better?

)From early in our lives, the ancient sense of color, lying in
the old-brain, enables us to naturally register green color as a
sensation. This sense experiences green directly as "greenness",
as a non-language, unadulterated, unedited, unmediated sensation
and feeling experience. The old brain brings to awareness how we
naturally feel and is often called our inner nature, Our inner
self, or this sensory global wisdom is misnamed our inner child.
When we operate from the old brain, in western culture we often
say we are being too loving, emotional, sensitive, childlike,
feelingful, intuitive, subjective, inexperienced, flaky,
illiterate, or over reactive. However, Carl Jung and many others
note, "Our feelings are not only reasonable, they are as
discriminating, logical and consistent as abstract thinking."
Natural senses and feelings are the foundations of bio-logic, of
nature's civilization which can best be unprejudicially measured
by its long term survival effects, by its ability to create an
optimum of life and diversity without producing garbage,
insanity or war; without civilization's violence, stress or

In the small more recently evolved new-brain, the neocortex,
Western culture often trains the senses of language and reason
to apply cultural words, labels or stories to the natural
senses. We teach the new brain that it is reasonable to know
greenness as the written or spoken word green, or verde
(Spanish) or vert (French) or other words in different languages
and cultures.  We applaud it for doing so. When we operate from
senses of language and reason we proudly say we are literate,
cerebral, sensible, abstract, cognitive, reasonable, logical,
educated or thoughtful.

Most of the study participants were unaware that a cause of
their inability to express their inner nature is that the
average American spends over 95% of his or her life indoors,
isolated from nature. Studies indicate that we spend almost
18,000 critical developmental childhood hours in classrooms
alone. Collectively, we spend less than one day per person per
lifetime in tune with the non-languaged natural world. We live
over 98% of our nature-estranged adult lives abstractly knowing
the natural world through detached words and stories about it
rather than through intimate, non verbal enjoyment of it. My
observations outdoors tell me that our estrangement from nature
restricts our natural sensory inheritance from growing and
strengthening from natural connections with the natural world.
This disconnects us from the wisdom, spirit and peace of nature
and creation. Conversely, when I've sentiently connected people
to natural areas, their problem solving abilities and harmonic
relationships have increased dramatically (Cohen, 1994b).

In America, the stressful anger, anxiety and sadness catalyzed
by our overlooked or rejected natural feelings depresses us. It
fuels our problems at every level. We are not islands. As we
remain estranged from the wisdom, spirit and unconditional love
of the natural world in ourselves, others and natural areas, our
negative personal, social and environmental indicators rise.
Even outdoor education that does not teach us how to daily
validate and fulfill our inner nature's need and right to be
connected, loved and nurtured by nature, does not resolve these
problems (Cohen 1993).

To reverse our troubles we must reconnect with nature.  We must
learn to effectively communicate with nature in order to know
its ways and needs. To accomplish this we must either teach the
natural world to speak English or learn to understand its
non-verbal language. The latter course makes the most sense
since we already know nature's sensory callings. We inherit
them, they are our old brain and its many distinct sensory

                    SECTION C: RESEARCH (3/3)


The color chart activity is one of 97 Well Mind, Well Earth
nature-connecting activities used by counselors, educators and
mental health workers to catalyze "green in green."  These
pioneering applied ecopsychology experiences counteract the
adverse effects of the estrangement of our 53 natural senses
from the natural world (Goldman, 1993). In classrooms,
counseling programs, environmental education, mental health
facilities, nature interpretation and recovery work the
activities help teach the new-brain the reasonableness of
discovering, validating and respecting the old-brain and its
sensory connections to nature's wisdom, to part of creation's
higher power (Cohen, 1993, 1994). The activities move
participants. Even when participants learn the activities from
our inter cultural internet e-mail courses or our self guiding
training manuals, we see significant improvement in their
self-esteem for they discover that nature's perfection outside
themselves flourishes within them. (Cohen, 1994b). Nature-
connecting lets the natural world itself teach us to revere
nature in ourselves, others and the environment and we naturally
refrain from hurting that which we hold sacred. This is the new
frontier for counseling psychology. With over 70% of the nation
suffering from stress, with environmental deterioration
continuing and alarming over 85% of the public, counseling with
nature holds a key to our destiny (Cohen 1995).

The following 8 activities introduce the nature-connecting
process of our 97 additional activities (Cohen, 1994a). We
reinforce each of them through journalizing and critically
assessing the thoughts, feelings and reactions arising from

Activity 1. Natural Old-Brain Connecting: In order to identify
and support your non-languaged inner nature (for example, your
old-brain sense of color), go to a real natural area (a park,
backyard, terrarium, potted plant or wilderness, -not a tape,
picture or video). For five minutes minimum, without using
language or reason, try to connect your non-languaged, sensory
inner nature with the non-languaged natural world. Do this by
simply sensing natural attractions there (colors, moods,
textures, motions, forms, variations, tastes, smells, sounds,
atmospheres etc.) without assigning terms, words or ideas to the
experience. This is non-verbal old-brain connecting, an
unadulterated way to experience your origins in Earth. It's
important and it's a challenge. As you find your mind habitually
or addictively drifts to language thoughts or to labeling the
natural area, block it from doing so by repeating the word
"non-languaged" "one" or "union", or whatever works best for
you, over and over again as you sense the area. Try to more
intensely and completely multisense each moment. Moving through
the are without concentrating on any one thing also helps you
make non-verbal contact.

Activity 2. Validating Natural Connecting: Repeat Activity 1 and
label (new-brain connect to) the natural connections that you
make. Do this by labeling the natural connecting process, not
the objects themselves. Remember, natural things do not know
themselves by a name.  Focus your new brain on the whole of the
connection experience, rather than just the natural object or
atmosphere, by calling the experience a connection.  Call
everything you experience in nature a nature connection. That's
green in green.

Activity 3.  Repeat activity 2 but this time notice that certain
connections call to you more strongly than others. They attract
your attention, you like them more than other things in this
moment. Place this phenomenon in your new brain by labeling
these connections as attractions. For example, if a leaf
attracts you, call the leaf an attractive sensory connection to
nature. If a bird's color, motion, distance, beauty or song
attracts you, also call it a natural sensory attraction. Other
sensory terms that participants have used to describe these
natural sensory connection-attraction experiences include:
loves, attractions, feelings, spirits, sensations, intuitions,
bonds, callings, resonances, affinities, Higher Power,
blessings, affections, natural wisdoms, joys, ambiance, God,
devas, sensory facts, etc.

Each of these connection terms correctly identifies our
experience (Green in green) when a natural attraction calls to
us. The terms feelingly bring the natural sensory connection
process into reasonable new-brain language awareness. This
process enables the new-brain to begin to consciously make
sense, to register and validate the existence of many natural
sensory connections and their source.

Activity 4. Natural Attractions Feel Good (Cohen, 1993b, 1994):
While in a natural area, repeat Activity 3 with the following
addition: Notice that each time you sense a natural attraction
it feels comfortable (enjoyable, good, nice, fun, beautiful,
supportive etc.). Validate this bio-logic experience and your
sensory self by putting it into words (new-brain) such as "I am
a person who enjoys sensing natural attractions." or "Natural
attractions make me feel good." Recognize that this validation
is like writing green in green ink.  Validate that good feelings
are inventions of nature, they are nature's way to tell you that
you are beneficially connected with nature, like the sweetness
of a fruit tells you the fruit is ripe and digestible.  In the
new-brain these verbal validations produce a reasonable
languaged awareness that enjoyable natural sensations and
feelings exist, have survival value and are acts of the natural

Activity 5. Integrating: While in a natural area, read aloud the
validations you wrote in Activity 4. Note that you feel
comfortable reading and writing your validation; you enjoy
seeing or hearing in language (new-brain) what is valid and true
about your sensory inner nature (old-brain natural senses) and
its connectedness to the natural world. That's green in green,
techno-logic validating bio-logic. Now validate your enjoyment.
When it feels comfortable and makes sense to you, write and/or
say to the effect that "It feels good for my new-brain to
validate my old-brain's sensory nature and its connective
sensitivity to natural attractions." "I am aware that I gain
enjoyment by letting my reasoning-language abilities validate my
inner nature and its connections with the natural world." These
validations also feel good because they are green in green.
They integrate our total being, our languaged and non-languaged
ways of knowing and being. They also bond us to nature, they
give added value to natural areas.

Activity 6. Being Open: Learn to let nature guide you. Trust its
attractiveness. For eons it has shown that its unconditional
love knows how to harmoniously build community and beauty. Go to
a natural area. Be open to its callings by following the natural
attractions there that spontaneously attract you, rather than by
seeking attractions you expect to find there. Your new-brain
choice to do this thoughtfully, respectfully permits and enables
nature within and around you to take the lead, to momentarily
guide you  That is natural wisdom in action, how nature works.
It naturally connects your new-brain with attractive "loving"
callings from Earth to your inner nature's readiness and desire
to help create and sustain responsible harmony. You discover
that your immediate natural attractions often differ from the
attractions in your preconceived new-brain story. They change
with your inner nature's moods and needs moment by moment. They
are attractive in a given moment because they are what you
naturally need then. Once you discover any moment's natural
attraction, repeat activities 2-5. They safely increase your
new-brain's awareness of sensory messages that your inner nature
has shown it wants to enjoy.

Personal discomfort that arises while doing this activity
usually symptomizes "green in orange", stressful inner-nature
disconnects, real or imagined. Too often in today's
stressful world we take stress for granted. For this reason, if
we don't make efforts to be aware of how we feel and to choose
to responsibly and safely find good feelings, we seldom
experience them. We can, however, naturally find them and
supportive relationships by connecting with nature in people and

Activity 7.  Matching: Our lives consist of immediate moments in
which we contain old brain natural sensations and feelings along
with new brain stories that can either conflict or integrate
with our old brain nature connected ways of knowing. Counseling
with nature activities give nature itself the opportunity to
help us wisely choose how we will know ourselves and react in
the next moment of our lives. For example: Paul finds a natural
attraction, for instance a tree, and is asked to complete the
following sentence: "I like the tree because______. "  He
creates the following sentence: "I like the tree because it is
strong and beautiful and it nurtures many things."  Because Paul
has already learned that he is also nature, the activity asks
him to remove the word "tree" and substitute the word "myself"
for it.   Paul then says aloud or writes "I like myself because
I am strong and beautiful and I nurture many things."  Paul
validates that his sentence about himself is always green in
green and as such it feels good.  When it feels discomforting,
Paul knows that he has found an area where he has a green in
orange conflict.  This leads him and his friends to search for
examples of how the sentence describes aspects of him and his
relationships. They always find the examples because attractions
to nature are always part of being a natural being.  This
activity dramatically brings into awareness and validates
natural aspects of ourselves that too often we learn to ignore.
In the process self-worth and self-esteem improve.

Activity 8. Summarizing: Write down what for you are the three
most important things you learned by doing these activities.
Write 3 green in green statements your nature connections
enable you to create.  The following anecdote illustrates
effects of doing nature connecting activities:

Once Sandy validated that she could gain good feelings and
reverse depression by following her natural attractions, she
made a conscious effort to become fully involved in that
process, For years she shunned walking up the beautiful
moss-covered rock faces that called to her. She thought they
were too steep, wet and slippery, that story made them
unattractive. But on this day, because she decided that her
nature deserved to have good feelings, she followed her
attractions to the beauty and other attractive callings of the
rocks: their color, height, space, form and texture. Moment by
moment she sought the most attractive, therefore safe, next step
across the rocks. With surprise and elation, she easily climbed
them. She then described her fun experience and how nice it
felt. Describing it felt good, and her companions enjoyed
hearing her talk about the experience, and knowing her joy.
Sandy is learning to achieve this same result by following her
multisensory attractions to her friends' inner nature. She is
discovering that the negatives in her life are signals to
discover, follow and enjoy her natural attractions.

"Applied ecopsychology activities create thoughtful
nature-connected moments. In these enjoyable non-language
instants as many as 53 inborn natural attraction senses safely
awaken, play and intensify. Additional activities immediately
validate and strengthen each sensation. This emotionally
empowering process connects, fulfills and renews our inner
nature with the natural world's beauty, wisdom and peace. We
feel rejuvenated, more colorful and thankful and these feelings
give us support. They nurture us, they satisfy our deepest
natural wants. As we satisfy these wants we remove the stress
and dependencies that fuel our disorders.  The process triggers
green critical thinking that values natural sensory
relationships. It regenerates natural connections and community
within ourselves, others and the land. We become more
knowledgeable, more environmentally and socially responsible. We
feel better." (Cohen, 1994a).  Here's the process in action via
E-mail: Linda, an Email course member, reads her training manual
to learn what activity she and her E-mail partners, who live in
many different countries, will to do this day in their local
park, backyard or even a terrarium. As Linda begins this day's
activity, spontaneously, the delicate sparkle of a water droplet
on a fern attracts and delights her. She does additional
activities designed to reinforce this nature connected sensation
and she becomes aware of other times she has felt it.  She also
notes her past disconnections from it and the effects of the
loss. Linda goes on-line and shares with her 7-person interact
group, her thoughts, feelings and reactions from her nature
connecting experiences . She reacts to her group's and
instructors' posted nature experiences, and to their reactions
to her reactions. It's fun. She feels alive and spirited,
supported and unified by her Email partners and connections to
Earth. Her day brighter, Linda looks forward to further
connecting with people and natural places that attract her. They
gain new value and she finds new self-worth. Because she has
done the activity and knows its effects, she owns it and the
joys it can bring her and others whenever she uses it again.

New brain language-reason disconnections from the natural world
and our sentient inner nature make it difficult for us to fully
experience and express natural feelings. Disconnected and
unfulfilled, our inner nature feels stress and lackluster
causing us to excessively crave natural sensations or depend
upon artificial, excessive and often irresponsible substitutes
for them. When we want, there is never enough and that creates
runaway problems. Sensory nature-connecting activities have
shown to help reverse this phenomenon and its adverse personal
and environmental effects by offering safe, responsible, lasting
natural fulfillments. When used in conjunction with counseling
and education, the activities connect participants to the self
regulating wisdom of nature's vitality and spirit (Cohen 1994b).

A dramatic effect of this study has been for my associates and
me to accommodate any counselor or educator who desires to learn
the skills of counseling with nature. We have made this easy to
do through our self-guiding training manual, or its use in
conjunction with a free, accredited, e-mail or correspondence
home study program we sponsor internationally. In this way we
implement solutions for our findings as well as fulfill our
hearts' desire for a better world. Our course of action
addresses the underlying problem this paper identifies, the
problem expressed by D. H. Lawrence: "Oh, what a catastrophe,
what a maiming of love when it was made personal, merely
personal feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are
bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and
sun and stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor
blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and
expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the

Just as this study suggests that stress from our nature
disconnected "bleeding roots" creates the insatiable wants that
cause our personal, social and environmental problems, the
guidebook and course we offer teach how to reverse our nature
disconnection problems. Uniquely, they let any interested person
master thoughtful nature reconnecting activities that dissolve
hurt and stress by satisfying our deepest natural loves, wants
and spirit. They teach hands-on education, counseling and mental
health skills that tap the "higher power" wisdom of nature's
creation process. They let tangible contact with nature nurture
responsibility, supportive interpersonal relationships and
ecological literacy.

As did the farmers in their relationship with the rats, course
participants become more enamored with the natural world and its
wise unconditional love. They also become painfully aware of how
we learn to separate from it, to abuse it and our natural selves
to the cost of our mental and environmental health. Energized by
their new sensory connections to nature in people and places,
participants learn to use bio-logic, they validate their love
for nature and they act to reverse their disconnects as well as
protect and preserve the natural environment. We find that the
process of counseling with nature offers new hope for our
troubled times.


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The author dedicates this article to Sunkyo Kwon whose devoted
efforts improved its clarity and  desirability.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR   Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D. founded and
coordinates Project NatureConnect, a continuing education
workshop and home study program of the University of Global
Education, a United Nations non-governmental organization, where
he chairs the Department of Integrated Ecology on San Juan
Island, Washington. For 33 years, he has established
and directed degree granting environmental outdoor education
programs for the Trailside Country School, Lesley College, and
the National Audubon Society. His 8 books and 56 articles
include the award winning Connecting With Nature which is
included in his 1993 self-guiding training manual Well Mind,
Well Earth: 97 Environmentally Sensitive Activities for Stress
Management, Spirit and Self-esteem. Dr. Cohen is the recipient
of the 1994 Distinguished World Citizen Award. Contact: Box 4112
Roche Harbor WA 98250  (206) 378-6313. Email: