A Day on Psychology & Nature - The Weekend University

Learn about the fascinating interconnectedness between human psychology and the natural world.

Our scientific worldview has enabled us to achieve incredible things.

It has led to the creation of modern cities, instant communication with people on the other side of the planet, and even put us on the moon.

But has our technological progress and mastery over the environment come at a cost?

Increasingly, we feel ourselves to be separate from nature, disconnected, cut off from the world around us.

Arguably, this sense of separation is the root cause of many of the problems we face today; both for the planet and for our own mental health and wellbeing. This is why services like this evidence-based Naturopath Kingston are getting more popular because people are looking for more natural ways to look after their health instead of relying on modern methods. By using botanical medicine, taking supplements, etc. they will be able to stay healthy in a more natural way.

But is it accurate to view ourselves this way?

Or might nature and human psychology be more interconnected than we commonly believe?

In this series of talks, we’ll explore:

  • Forest Bathing & Nature Therapy; the psychological effects of immersing yourself in nature, how the ancient art of ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ (forest bathing) improves wellbeing, and how this exciting new area of research can be applied clinically in the mental health field – Shirley Gleeson
  • The Psychology of Climate Change; the cognitive biases that affect how we think about, and act on climate change, why some people deny it altogether, and how you can think differently to protect our planet and make a positive impact – Professor Geoffrey Beattie, PhD
  • The Science of Psychedelics & Nature-Connectedness; how ancient plant medicines are interacting with human psychology in the modern world, their effects on our ecological awareness, and how these mysterious molecules alter human consciousness – Dr David Luke, PhD

You’ll learn how these insights can deepen your own connection with the natural world, and how to help others do the same.

Event Schedule:

  • 10:00am – 12:00pm: Forest Bathing and Nature TherapyShirley Gleeson
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm: The Psychology of Climate Change – Prof Geoffrey Beattie, PhD
  • 3:00pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon break
  • 3:30pm – 5:00pm: The Science of Psychedelics & Nature Connectedness – Dr David Luke, PhD

Full Day Pass: 38.25 + VAT + booking fee

Student Pass: 20.25 + VAT + booking fee


Sunday 28th June 2020

09:30 – 17:00 BST

Add to Calendar
28/06/2020 09:30 AM
28/06/2020 5:00 PM
Online Video Conference
The Weekend University – A Day on Psychology & Nature

Online video conference

Lectures & Speakers

Forest Bathing & Nature Therapy: An Introduction – Shirley Gleeson

Forest Therapy (also known as Forest Bathing or Shinrin-yoku) was developed in Japan in the 1980’s. The practice has since spread worldwide. Forest Therapy is a mindful, multisensorial, nature immersive practice. As this is an emerging area, little is known in relation to its clinical applications in the mental health field.

In this talk, I will give an overview of the definitions and development of Forest Therapy Internationally. I will discuss the different components of Forest Therapy including key aspects of the forest environment, nature connection pathways, circle work, mindfulness, the use of expressive arts and sensory immersion. The talk will also focus on the practical applications of Forest Therapy in relation to the mental health field. The issues of personality, culture, level of nature connectedness, trauma history and risk management will be reviewed. Finally we will look at the challenges of working outdoors and suitable site selection criteria.

Reading Recommendations:

  • Hansen, M. M., Jones, R., & Tocchini, K. (2017). Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) and nature therapy: A state-of-the-art review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(8), 851.
  • Kotte, D., Li, Q., & Shin, W. S. (Eds.). (2019). International Handbook of Forest Therapy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Li, Q. (2018). Shinrin-yoku: the art and science of forest bathing. Penguin UK.
  • Selhub, E. M., & Logan, A. C. (2012). Your brain on nature: The science of nature’s influence on your health, happiness and vitality. John Wiley and Sons.
Shirley Gleeson - The Weekend University

Shirley is a Nature and Wellbeing Consultant and Director of both Ecowellness Consulting and the Forest Therapy Institute. She holds Masters Degrees in both Health Promotion and Social Work and has over twenty years experience working in the areas of mental health and social care in Ireland.

She designs nature based interventions to improve people’s health and wellbeing and facilitates nature-based training for mental health professionals. She has extensive postgraduate training in expressive arts therapy, ecotherapy, counselling, therapeutic play, dialectical behavioural therapy skills, behavioural family therapy and therapeutic use of mindfulness.

Shirley is an international expert on Forest Therapy and has presented her Forest Therapy research and practice at conferences in Ireland, the UK, Austria, Switzerland and Greece and has addressed the United Nations on the topic of human health and forests. She has trained Forest Therapy Practitioners from over 15 countries. Learn more about Shirley’s work at: www.ecowellnessconsulting.com/

The Psychology of Climate Change – Professor Geoffrey Beattie, PhD

This lecture will explore the evidence for our changing environment, and suggest that there are significant cognitive biases in how we think about, and act on climate change. It will examine how organisations have attempted to mobilise the public in the fight against climate change, but these initiatives have often failed due to the public’s unwillingness to adapt their behaviour.

The talk will also explore why some people deny climate change altogether, and the influence that these climate change deniers can have on global action to mitigate further damage. By analysing our attitudes to the environment, Professor Beattie will argue that we must think differently about climate change to protect our planet, as a matter of great urgency.

Reading Recommendations:

  • Beattie, G. (2018) The Psychology of Climate Change. Routledge: London
  • Beattie, G. (2018) The Conflicted Mind. And Why Psychology Has Failed to Deal With It. Routledge: London.
  • Beattie, G. (2018). Optimism bias and climate change. The British Academy Review, 33, 12 – 15.
  • Beattie, G., Marselle, M., McGuire, L., & Litchfield, D. (2017). Staying over-optimistic about the future: Uncovering attentional biases to climate change messages. Semiotica, 218, 22-64.
  • Beattie, G. & McGuire, L. (2015). Harnessing the unconscious mind of the consumer: How implicit attitudes predict pre-conscious visual attention to carbon footprint information on products. Semiotica, 204, 253-290.
  • Beattie, G. (2010). Why Aren’t We Saving the Planet? A Psychologist’s Perspective. Routledge: London.

Professor Geoffrey Beattie - The Weekend University

Professor Geoffrey Beattie, PhD, is an internationally acclaimed psychologist, author and broadcaster. He is Professor of Psychology at Edge Hill University and in recent years a Masters supervisor on the Sustainability Leadership Programme at the University of Cambridge and Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester from 1994-2012.

He was awarded the Spearman Medal by the British Psychological Society for ‘published psychological research of outstanding merit’ and the internationally acclaimed Mouton d’Or for his work in semiotics. He is both a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an ex-President of the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (B.A.). You can learn more about his work at: www.geoffbeattie.com/.

The Science of Psychedelics & Nature Connectedness – Dr David Luke, PhD

The traditional use of psychoactive plants and fungi for spiritual and shamanic purposes has occurred for thousands of years, whereas the Western scientific research of these substances has only been explored in the last 100 years or so, and prohibition stalled 50 years of this. Now that scientific research is resuming, what do psychedelics tell us about the stranger and more exotic side of human consciousness and its connection with the natural world, and what can be learned from the traditional shamanic practices with these substances?

Exploring the nature-connectedness, interspecies interactions and eco-consciousness arising from the use of psychedelics this talk considers what can be learned from animism and shamanism in informing both psychology and ecology. Fusing research from parapsychology, transpersonal psychology, ecopsychology, ethnobotany and the scientific investigation of psychedelics a perspective of transpersonal ecopsychology views plant/fungus-human interactions as meaningful, potentially transformative and sorely needed given the current rate of manmade species extinction on Earth.

Reading Recommendations:

Dr David Luke - The Weekend University

Dr David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019).

When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.

What TWU attendees are saying:

    5 star review  Attended my first weekend University today. Really enjoyed it, was like going back to school again... but on the weekend lol The speakers were great, lots of interesting ideas and of a high calibre of expertise in there topic area. Learnt a lot actually and left with just as many new questions as I came in with. Highly stimulating, would definitely recommend coming ???

    Pete  Taylor Avatar Pete Taylor
    March 25, 2018

    5 star review  My first Weekend Uni today .. a hot day, and a full lecture room. Three most interesting speakers to hear in person. Good on Niall for seeing the vision to arrange such days of insight. Moving our society forward with modern and real thinkers. I'd never heard of Johann Hari before, but I am now his newest fan.

    Andrew Gaskill Avatar Andrew Gaskill
    May 27, 2018

    4 star review  Great initiative! For people that like myself are passionate about psychology but wouldn't commit to long term course or training it's a wonderful opportunity to listen to qualified professionals in the area in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Carolina Abicair Avatar Carolina Abicair
    February 28, 2018
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