University of Victoria, Ph.D. (Interdisciplinary Studies – Ecopsychology) 2014
Hilary Leighton, MEd, PhD, IBP is an educator, ecopsychologist, integrative body (eco)psychotherapist and lifelong learner who draws insight and wisdom from ecopsychology, depth psychology, integral systems thinking, mythology, indigenous, arts and nature-based practices, literature, the poetic traditions, reflective practices and deep play. From a tender age, Hilary formed a vivid fascination and deeply imaginative relationship with the natural world. This early childhood enchantment formed the roots of her academic (re)search examining: the ethical dilemma, suffering and deep concern over our loss of relationship with the other than human world; the human quest for wholeness and maturation; and the roles that both applied ecopsychology and education can play at the confluence of these two.
With a passion to foster a sense of wonder and connection to nature, Hilary was co-creator of Get Outside: It’s In Our Nature conference in 2008 (with keynote Richard Louv), which was the impetus for the Child Nature Alliance of Canada of which she is a founding director. She was also part of a small passionate group who started the first nature kindergarten in BC to deliver Ministry curriculum hosted on the campus at Royal Roads University where she is currently Director of Individualized Studies in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. In this role, Hilary assists graduate students in finding their unique and individual pathways toward a personalized degree and meaningful future employment. In addition, Hilary teaches in a number of areas at RRU and beyond – in public programs through Continuing Studies, as guest lecturer in a myriad of graduate and undergraduate programs, as associate faculty in the MA Environmental Education and Communication and the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development, and as co-teacher with Dr. Duncan Taylor in his fourth year undergraduate environmental program. She supervises both graduate and undergraduate students in terms of directed studies, major projects and theses. Often she is called upon to lead Open Space and café type dialogue sessions for select groups and campus-wide at the university and within the community.
Hilary is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a private eco-psychotherapy practice in Victoria (True Nature Counselling & Psychotherapy), holds a Master’s degree in Education (curriculum and instruction) from Simon Fraser University and an Interdisciplinary Doctorate from the University of Victoria (ecopsychology) that combined her research interests of Curriculum and Instruction, Psychology and Environmental Studies. She also studied ecopsychology at the graduate level at Naropa University and through intensive workshops onThe Work That Reconnects with Dr. Joanna Macy. Hilary attributes her greatest learning thus far to a decade long apprenticeship that delved into the mysteries of nature and psyche out on the wild lands of the southwestern US with the Animas Valley Institute, its sapient guides and AVI’s founder, Dr. Bill Plotkin. Hilary views her vocation as supervisor, teacher, guide and therapist as a blessed call to encourage the genius and soul-furthering of others at all ages and stages of life.
- Integrative Body Psychotherapy Certification
- IBP Institute, CA, 2010 M. Ed (Curriculum & Instruction)
- Simon Fraser University, 2004