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9781906254360

Wild Therapy: Undomesticating Inner and Outer Worlds

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Author: Nick Totton

Publisher: PCCS Books

Published: 01/03/11

ISBN: 9781906254360

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Therapy is by nature wild; but a lot of it at the moment is rather tame. This book tries to help shift the balance back towards wildness by showing how therapy can connect with ecological thinking, seeing each species, each being, each person inherently and profoundly linked to each other. Hence we develop a sense of the endless complexity of existence; and realise that wildness, a state where things are allowed to happen of their own accord, is far more deeply complex than domesticated civilisation, just as a jungle – or even a piece of wasteland – is more complex than a garden. Psychotherapy has often opposed the cultural message ‘Be in control of yourself and your environment’: it has tried to help people tolerate the anxiety of not being in control – of our feelings, our thoughts, our body, our future. But the struggle over control has now reached inside the field of therapy itself: the push for management, measurement and regulation is getting stronger. On a larger scale it seems that our efforts to control the world are well on the way to wrecking it through environmental collapse: the more we try to control things, the further out of balance we push them. “Wild Therapy” offers a context for all this in the ‘Neolithic bargain’ whereby humans exchanged freedom and wildness for domestication and safety. Connecting the attitudes of forager cultures with contemporary Western understandings of consciousness, it delineates a mode of being present in all cultures, ‘Wild Mind’; and explores how this can be supported through a ‘wild therapy’, bringing together a wide range of already-existing ideas and practices. It suggests that wild therapy has a role to play in the work of creating a new culture which can live well on the earth without damaging ourselves and other beings.