An Education in Ecopsychology

To the soul, the most minute details and the most ordinary activities, carried out with mindfulness and art, have an effect far beyond their apparent insignificance. —Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul


What Is Ecopsychology?

We live in an ecopsychological world. Everything in nature is connected through vast webs of exchanges that are not always obvious or visible. This interconnection includes the web of relationships that create the ethics and values we choose to live by, the perception of self and others, and our worldviews.

We also know there is no waste in nature and that change happens through a decay and renewal process that includes the decay of human ideologies, attitudes and narratives when they cease to be life serving. Psychologically, sustainability also includes multiple processes that require periodic revisioning as individual and cultural realities change.

Ecopsychology is predicated on the ideas that humanity is a part of nature, and as such, share in many of the same processes and behaviors as other organisms in the natural world; that all of life’s systems (personal, social, ecological, economic, and cultural) are linked through multiple narratives and relationships; and that the psychology of the individual is reflected in the psychology of the culture, of our nations, and in our world’s complex issues.

Ecopsychology, a transdisciplinary field of inquiry, bridges the sciences and humanities in order to stimulate insight into nature and human nature; and foster a mature, empathic and ethical ethos toward all of life. It utilizes ecological, biological and depth psychological principles essential to sustainability to examine and transform deeply rooted unconscious narratives that drive human practices, civic illiteracy, policies, and decisions for how we design and craft our world in both creative and destructive ways.

An ecopsychological education cultivates:

  • Competency in dealing with complex and contested questions,
  • Civic literacy and how we develop public responsibility and consciousness,
  • Creative thought and imagination that can offer ways of transforming destructive narratives and practices into workable and sustainable solutions,
  • Self-reflection and capacity to act with principled dignity.

Ecopsychology educates humanity about our manner of living, which can make all the difference in how we survive as a species.

Our Mission

VGI’s educational mission is to provide students with the capacity to innovate, ability to solve problems creatively bringing new possibilities to life, with psychological competence and maturity to recognize and change unconscious narratives and patterns driving the destructive practices behind our world’s most complex problems.

Our Online Programs

All programs are held online through an engaging live interactive e-learning platform (WebEx). Our e-learning program is called OCEANS. Students meet weekly with professors in a face-to-face live virtual classroom.

Degree Programs

Master of Arts in the Social Sciences with Emphasis in Ecopsychology and Sustainability (MASSES)

Ph.D. Program (MASSES degree prerequisite for doctoral program)

Doctorate in Ecopsychology and Sustainability

Competency Units

Each course is 3 competency units. There are three courses per quarter totaling 61 CU’s.

Students must complete 61 CU’s to graduate with MASSES degree.

Competency-based Education

Competency-based programs allow students to demonstrate through assessments that they have acquired the set of competencies (levels of knowledge, skill, and ability) required for a particular degree or certificate. VGI students demonstrate mastery of competencies by exhibiting their understanding, skill and knowledge through the completion of application-based projects, written papers, creative projects, and completing assessments.

An assessment may come in many different forms, including:

  • Assignments involving problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and imaginative thinking, reasoning, novelty, communication and presentation skills.
  • Projects requiring the student to design based on ecopsychological principles and applications;
  • Reflection essays, individual journaling; and
  • Research papers on particular topics.

Non-Degree Programs

Executive Certificate Program (14 week intensive)

Adaptive Leadership in Ecopsychology and Sustainability

(Credits apply to MASSES degree program).

Certificate Course (5 week course)

Introduction to Ecopsychology

VGI Faculty are renowned instructors who bring valuable life experience, diversity in theory and ideas, creative expression, and sound pedagogical practices to our programs.

Our Unique Approach

What distinguishes VGI from other similar programs is our approach to the study of ecopsychology with a focus in depth psychology. We regard the human psyche as a complex ecosystem with both conscious and unconscious patterns that determine our individual and cultural practices. These interconnected narratives drive personal and cultural behaviors and environmental practices in both creative and destructive ways.

Ecopsychology offers ways of transforming destructive narratives and practices into workable and sustainable solutions, contributing to the resolution of some of the most complex problems in our world.

Students studying ecopsychology bring a more prepared, perceptive, empathic, and mature dimension to being a global citizen in order to address the pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges in today’s world.

Ecopsychology examines diverse fields of knowledge:

  • Natural science, natural history, earth science, social science, research in neuroscience
  • Depth and archetypal psychologies
  • Mythology / cross-cultural studies
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Indigenous Traditions
  • The arts: literature, music, visual arts
  • Industrial ecology
  • Human health, disease and environment
  • Economics/business/statistics (green practices)

The pedagogy of ecopsychology includes:

  • Openness to inquiry, experiential learning, and diversity in learning.
  • Depth of materials that cultivate psychological reflection, critical analysis, creative thinking, imagination, and connection to daily life.
  • Balanced scope and accuracy in presenting issues, challenges, and global problems.
  • A curriculum that emphasizes development and application of thinking and feeling, skill and ethics in order to promote personal, ecological and social responsibility, problem solving and self-efficacy.

Viridis Graduate Institute’s ecopsychology program participates in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote awareness and activities pertaining to education for sustainability.

VGI endorses to the Earth Charter.

Viridis Graduate Institute is a member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

VGI Students

Viridis Graduate Institute’s students are a diverse group of individuals ranging in age from 18 to 80, and come from around the world. They are individuals who seek to make a difference in our world, participate in creative solutions, seek a new direction in their life or career, are lifelong learners, and are curious global citizens who want to facilitate change.

Dedicated to creating a more conscious world through education and action