Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type




First Advisor

Cynthia Gustafson

Second Advisor

Murphy Fox

Third Advisor

John Hart


The nursing profession is concerned with the health and well-being of individuals and their physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. Each need, or dimension, must be explored in isolation, as well as in relation to each other when providing complete holistic care to the individual, for each dimension influences the other. In addition, these dimensions are impacted by the individual’s connection to the natural environment via a sense of connectedness, their perception of their place in the universe, their level of exposure to organic versus artificial energy, etc. Like human bodies, the environment is a dynamic and open system that humans are intimately a part of, and as nurses it’s important to examine not only the individual human being, but that individual in the context ofthat greater body with which he/she is intimately connected (Lincoln, 2000). Ecotherapy is a useful tool for nurses to use in holistic practice as it stems from a paradigm that regards humans as active members of a greater body of living systems, and gears its therapeutic focus on utilizing a reciprocal nurturing interaction between human and environment to enhance health and well-being (Clinebell, 1996).