Schizophrenic? Start a Compost Heap.

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Outside magazine, December 1995

Schizophrenic? Start a Compost Heap.
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta

“Let yourself be absorbed by the creek or the cloud formation,” psychologist William Cahalan urges his clients. “Feel its healing power.” For Cahalan and a growing fringe of therapists who espouse “ecopsychology,” backpacking and composting promise far more relief for the troubled mind than gestalt ranting. Driven in part by the recent Ecopsychology–Restoring the Earth and Healing the Mind, by California historian Theodore Roszak, the movement maintains that anxiety stems from industrial society’s having “armored” people against the natural world. How to crack the armor? “Gardening works great with couples,” says Cahalan. “I’ll also have them go hiking in silence and signal each other when
they observe something. Then they can discuss those things later.”

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