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Development, Ecopsychology, and Wellness Lab



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Mission Statement

The Development, Ecopsychology, & Wellness Lab examines how physical environments complement the influence that human relationships have on psychological development and organization. We aim to understand the role ecosystems have in our lives: how they affect us emotionally, neurologically and cognitively. In order to understand how communities will psychologically respond to climate change, we need to understand how our personhood, our families, our communities and our cultures are embedded in our urban, suburban, rural or wild ecosystems. We are working with the hypothesis that the same societal factors that have impacted our planet have also impacted our minds. 


Since most ecosystems exist in collaborative relationships our lab also seeks to work integratively. Every lab member works on their own project and collaborates with others members on their projects. 


Importantly, our lab works with the awareness and mindfulness that our physical spaces and our ecosystems have often been overlooked by clinicians.  Following in the tradition of the human geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, and the ongoing work of psychologist Peter J. Khan, Jr., we hope that the work that comes out of our lab can take us one step at a time to a better understanding of the powerful connection humans have to each other, their families, their communities, their cultures and their landscapes. Our concerns are both clinical and humanistic, believing as we do in the power of children and adults to tell a bigger story through a scientific process about how we exist on this planet. 


Principal Investigator
Susan Bodnar, PhD


Susan Bodnar, adjunct associate professor of counseling and psychology at TC, has worked in NYC as a child and adult clinician for over twenty years.  Her focus as been the application of CBT and Dynamic therapy to a bio-psycho-social model of development.  In addition to teaching Child Psychopathology and Psychology, Child Development and Climate Change at TC, she is also an associate editor for Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and on the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.  She writes broadly about culture, diversity, origin stories, and the environment for academic and non-academic audiences.  At a time when there is much change in the environmental world, Bodnar looks to the consistencies of human nature to help us better understand ourselves and the planet that gives us life.

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