Rewilding the Unconscious

Environmental Writing

May 6-8, 2022

Wilderness is an antidote to the war within ourselves.
-Terry Tempest Williams

Environmental writing is a vast and varied literary genre. In earlier
times “nature writing” treated landscape as a romantic backdrop or a
source of inspiration for our human contemplations, adventures, and
exploration. Today environmental writing is an evolving, diverse, and
psychologically complex genre that reflects our concerns with
conservation and preservation and asks how, in this time of turmoil,
should we live fully and ethically in the world so enormously impacted
by our human needs and desires.

How do we find our voice without losing heart when writing about the
natural world under siege? Perceiving humans as separate and
sovereign over “nature,” and the natural world as a mere commodity
for our exploitation, is a major contributing force behind the
environmental crises we are facing. As writers and psychoanalytic
thinkers, we are in a position to help individuals reconnect to the
natural world and become aware of our intrinsic interdependence with
the totality of our environment. As we harness this awareness, we are
in a position to re-engage with the wildness in ourselves and our
imaginations. Rewilding requires seeing ourselves as intrinsically
connected to, and effected by, every other aspect of our ecosystems.
It is an idea fundamentally consistent with relational psychoanalytic

Throughout this weekend we will explore the psychological defenses
that contribute to the dualistic, and ultimately self-destructive way we
have historically related to the environment, and the impact such
thinking has on the world. We will consider how writing and
psychoanalytic ideas might help us address these defenses and other
human qualities that have contributed to the erosion of our earth’s
ecosystems. Furthermore, we will explore what it would mean to
rewild our minds, our lives, and our world, and to expand a sense of
self to include the totality of our experience on this fragile and
beautiful planet.

Coordinators: Delia Kostner, Ph.D and Rachel Jadkowski, Psy.D