Our work is at the intersections of mental health, social justice, and environmentalism to bring positive transformation, equity and healing for the Earth, ourselves, and our communities. Our goal is to increase access to and knowledge about Ecotherapy for Everyone for peace and justice.
Liberation Ecotherapy™ as coined by our founder J. Phoenix Smith is community-based Ecotherapies that focus on practices that not only help us to reconnect to nature for our own healing, but focuses on collective care to provide safe and brave spaces for us to engage in the political work of social justice as well.
We accomplish our mission by teaching people to become Liberation Ecotherapists that create Ecotherapy Healing projects in their communities, as well as providing capacity building and technical assistance that incorporate the following principles:
1. Ecotherapy projects that are rooted in cultural humility and are aligned with social justice and equity.
2. Accessibility: Ecotherapy can take place in a variety of settings for diverse communities, including people with disabilities and those living with chronic illnesses, and in places such as clinics, prisons, schools as well as in doors.
3. Loneliness and Isolation: Ecotherapies that reduce isolation and loneliness are more important now than ever. Research shows we have an epidemic of loneliness and with a global Pandemic increased isolation. Ecotherapy is not only a solo practice but community-based Ecotherapies that reduce isolation can help bring people together for Community Care.
4. Cultural Humility: An important principle of Ecology is that Nature thrives in Diversity. The AESJ believes that cultural diversity, inclusion and Cultural Humility are important values for a Liberation Ecotherapy ™
5. Ecotherapy and Public Health: The American Public Health Association (APHA) reports, that positive nature is beneficial to one’s health throughout the lifespan and has created policies recommending the promotion of positive nature contact. At the AESJ we believe that Liberation Ecotherapy ™ can play a pivotal role in helping to reduce health disparities and to also expanding access to Ecotherapy through public health initiatives.
Liberation Ecotherapy™ projects that are created and led by under-resourced and under-estimated communities is a priority for the Alliance for Ecotherapy & Social Justice.