Eco-Morality as an Adlerian Counseling Ethic

The interconnection between self, others, and the environment is an essential foundation for human life. In modern society, there is a growing trend toward the isolation of individuals from both their communities and the earth. Historically, psychotherapeutic practice has promoted individual autonomy as a means toward improved mental health. This has created a rift between human and global problems. Adlerian practitioners have a commitment to promoting community feeling. This necessitates a morality of care and a concern for both individuals and the natural world. Introducing an eco-morality to the Adlerian counseling room is a means to accomplish this necessary paradigm shift. Throughout various time periods cultures have developed a synergistic relationship between human beings and the environment. These cultures can serve as models in defining how a horizontal, non- exploitive relationship between human beings and the earth might be included in, and fostered by, mental health counseling. Similarly, fields such as ecofeminism and ecotheology might provide useful paradigms for an emerging eco-morality for Adlerian clinicians. In addition to improving relationships and addressing the current ecological crisis, there is a growing body of evidence that supports improved individual mental health through increased contact with nature. This literature review proposes that an additional moral principle based on respect for the environment (an eco-morality) integrated with the holistic psychology of Alfred Adler represents the next essential stage in the evolution of a comprehensive approach to mental health counseling.

Sarah C. McCabe
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