JEANINE CANTY, PhD
Professor, Writer, & Ecopsychologist
I’m excited to invite you to my conversation with Dr. Jeanine Canty. This is really a unique episode of the podcast as it delves into the academic principals how to transform and expand our world views. Jeanine received her doctorate from the Transformative Studies Doctoral program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she now works full time as a professor. She teaches remotely from a rural community located in the foothills outside of Boulder, Colorado.
Jeanine's love of nature started from an early age. She felt connected and at peace when exploring the the small wildernesses she found on the outskirts of her suburban New Jersey neighborhood. Nature has been a teacher and safe haven, bringing her clarity and joy while battling feelings of being an outsider in her mostly white middle-class community.
After high school Jeanine went to college to study international relations. In school, she stumbled upon the concept of ecopsychology, which marked a changing point in her academic career. She really connected to its principles and teachings. Ecopsychology is the study of how ecology and human psychology relate, intersect, and affect one another. It links mental health and illness to the health of the planet.
Through her studies and writing, Jeanine saw the historical implications of the disconnection between the earth and self, and how that disconnection is directly linked to the oppression of groups of people. She eventually did her masters on cultural ecopsychology, centering her studies on urban displacement of African American and Native populations in the U.S.
Jeanine's work has evolved to focus on how people can expand their world views so they can change their philosophies in regards to ecological and social justice. The students she teaches in the Transformative Studies PHD program are a diverse group of professionals – ranging from therapists, psychologists, pastors, change makers, politicians, and other academics who aim to affect positive change in the communities they serve.
In her research and writing Jeanine examines the interconnectedness of social and ecological justice, linking the oppression of peoples and the earth. Her work explores how we can be more aware, resilient, and change our philosophies when it comes to interacting with the natural world and with one another. Jeanine believes everyone living within the Western and global corporate paradigm is living in a state of disconnection and trauma. We are disconnected from ourselves and the earth - and our culture is very outward focused, making genuine connection difficult to achieve. Her forthcoming book, Returning the Self to Nature: Undoing Our Collective Narcissism and Healing Our Planet, will be released in September of this year.
In our interview, we speak about the steps one needs to take to shift from a "me" to a "we" mindset. One of the biggest pieces of advice Jeanine offers is to learn to how to surrender and to constantly question your beliefs and be willing to change your mind and outlook when you are given new informative and perspectives. Recognize that we don't know all the answers about life, nor will we ever. There is a freedom and an inner peace that comes from embracing the mysteries of the world, and appreciating the simple joys of life.
In our conversation we speak about the effects of cultural narcissism, our current mental health crisis, how to recreate a sense of belonging with the natural world, breaking our individualistic Western world views, the interconnectedness of all beings, rethinking our approach to the climate crisis, and how we can shift to a more ecologically-minded paradigm.
This is a story about healing, prioritizing joy and connection, the power of compassion and empathy, and choosing to imagine and work towards a brighter tomorrow.