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The International Journal of Ecopsychology (IJE)

Abstract

The relationships between humans and nature require interdisciplinary perspectives to develop expanded understandings at this crucial time for the planet and its inhabitants. A poignant step towards improving the global ecological situation--which includes human survival and flourishing--is to reconnect our human/nature relationships. From an Australian Aboriginal standpoint, human-nature connectedness is integrally embedded in the relationship to the natural world that is termed Country. This term not only illustrates geographical boundaries but encompasses the harmony and balance of all living things within a cultural and spiritual context. At the interface of this knowledge, ways of thinking, feeling and being include a relatedness to localised knowledge based on the guiding principles of respect, responsibility and reciprocity to place. These principles ensure a sustainable environment that incorporates a ‘whole of life’ approach to human and nature health and wellbeing. In articulating how a sense of place is critical to psychological health within the human psyche, this paper explores Australian Aboriginal eco-therapeutic approaches surrounding the proverb ‘Healthy Country, Healthy People’ that strengthen our social and emotional connections with the natural world. The article advocates for a re-evaluation of self and our embedded perspectives that we draw from nature through being on Country.

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