In this episode of EBT, the hosts discuss ecosomatics and the article Psyche within the Matrix of the Natural World: Emergence, Restoration, and Sustainability by Barbara Holifield.

Ecosomatics. Ecopsychology. Cultural Ecology.

Y’all are just going to have to listen to this one. It’s beautiful and full of meaning. The show notes are mainly comprised of quotes by the hosts. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I have. – Jamie Eggert, PLPC, Podcast Editor. 

Ecosomatics has a “core desire of looking at the combination of body, earth, and consciousness. Whether you call that consciousness, spirit, or mind doesn’t really matter. In this context, she’s looking at the way the client understands her selfhood in combination with her physical body in relationship with the natural world.” 

“We are autistic in relation to the natural world. Autistic in the sense that our deepest experiences are never voiced, and thus remain encapsulated and undeveloped.” 

  • Not knowing your own sense of rootedness in the world
  • A sensation of being separate from

“What might emerge if we adjusted our listening perspective to carefully hear what our patients experience in their relationship to nature?” 

“Do we privilege dream over the direct experience in the living world?”

  • Do we privilege cognition over direct experience in the living world?
  • What do you privilege as a therapist?
  • What do we consider valid material for our sessions with our clients?
  • Ecosomatics is attempting to highlight the belief and feeling that our relationship to the natural world and the emotions and sensations that it evokes in us is incredibly rich material to work within therapy. 
  • Ecosomatics is like the intersubjective space between humans and nature.

Transpersonal Perspective

  • The natural world and I are made of the same material. The profound feelings of connection found in nature occur because I am nature. 
  • It subsumes us because we are part of it. 
  • The natural world has no desire or mechanism to objectify a human being. It sees us.
  • Therefore, entering into a dynamic with a horse, a dog, a tree, we have this opportunity to feel a full subjectification.
  • Again, this is because the natural entity doesn’t have the ability to objectify us. 
  • So, it produces a sensation in us that is very different than human interaction. 

“The natural world embodies and holds all of the dark and the light of our experience, the carnage of it, the joy and the beauty of it, the exuberance and the creativity, the death, and the decay is all there laid out in front of us. And yet, at the same time, it finds tremendous balance and gentleness and nurturing.”

“The earth is always saying to us, ‘this is who you are.’ And so much of the psychic craving of our clients and of all humans is for somebody to tell us, who am I? What am I? What is my purpose? So there’s a desire for a very living mirror, a mirror that has something profound to offer us, and we find it in the natural world in a way that is hard to put language to.”

“In the therapeutic dynamic, because language is so much of what we do, learning how to sink into that moment to moment, body to body visceral way of interacting is how we produce the same kind of living mirror experiences with our client. In that way, we as therapists have a lot of learning from the very quiet but powerful mirroring that the earth does for people. It’s this way of saying this is what you are, I don’t have to tell you in language, I’m just going to sit here in the center of myself and show you in this way.” 

“Dwelling in the body, dwelling in direct experience with one’s earth cuts through dissociative splitting, anchors one in relation to a wisdom that is derived from a felt knowing.”

“Nature sees me. And makes way for me to see parts of myself. The most destructive, the most beautiful, the most cocooning and shelling, the most hidden, and the most illuminated. All the parts of me get seen in nature.”


Holifield, B. (2015). Psyche within the matrix of the natural world: Emergence, restoration, and sustainability. Psychological Perspectives, 58(2), 231-243.


Did you know?  After full completion of Beyond Healing Institute’s Somatic Integration and Processing training, each participant can receive 21 NBCC hours. 

Resource Links

Need more content?