Principles of Eco-psychology by Theodore Roszak

Theodore Roszak, in The Voice of the Earth, has formulated a number of principles that define the new psychological constructs that Eco-psychology is based on. Eco-psychology includes human interactions and connectedness with its habitat in its study of human behavior and does not view humanity as separate from or superior to wild nature.

         1. The ecological unconscious is the essence of mind. The repression of this state of consciousness, which is the essence of our covenant with nature, is the basis for the dysfunctional values and behaviors of our modern industrial societies.

         2. The ecological unconscious can be seen as the living record of cosmic evolution from the beginning of time. Evolution allowed for the development of life and mind through the organic and non-organic processes related to physics, biology, mental and cultural systems of which the cosmos is comprised. The experience of this consciousness in a personal way is one of the goals of eco-psychology.

         3. The discovery of our reciprocal relationship with our habitat is a desired outcome of eco-psychology. Another important goal is to reduce and eliminate the disposition of separation and disconnection that has developed between humans and nature.

         4. Eco-psychology views the early stages of development of the child as being extremely important in the formation of a healthy relationship with the biosphere. It also attempts to foster animistic qualities of perception and experience in grownups by employing strategies of the minority tradition, nature mysticism and the direct experience of wild places and insights of the deep ecology movement.

         5.  Maturation of the ecological ego translates into ethical attitudes and behavior towards the biosphere and the human condition including social relations and political considerations.

         6. Eco-psychology explores and evaluates patriarchy that perpetuates dominating and controlling behaviors towards women and nature and attempts to disentangle the stereotypical attitudes males and females have toward each other.

         7. Eco-psychology questions the efficacy of our technological-industrial culture and points us toward other possible orientations without advocating for regressive interventions such as forsaking science and technology.  

         8. Eco-psychology supports the theological philosophy that the health of the biosphere and humanity are mutually inclusive.


The Voice of the Earth; An Exploration of Eco-psychology, Theodore Roszak, Phanes Press, 2001, Ecopsychology—The Principles, pp. 319-320.

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