Climate emergency and therapeutic dialogue
“The times are urgent, so let us slow down” — BAYO AKOMOLAFE
When ecological, political and societal systems are in crisis, our deepest individual human emotions — anger, grief, sorrow — become vital resources for collective resilience.
Therapy is largely about waking up to one’s whole self and living an emotionally satisfying and socially connected life as a flawed yet flourishing human being. Most people have agonising personal struggles at times and some of us get help from a counsellor or therapist to see us through, and often this works: we arrive somewhere irrefutably better than where we started from. But when an individual or a community wakes up to the reality of the multiple effects of climate breakdown, what possible kind of “professional help” is there?
Growing psycho-social rebellion
I’m one of an increasing number of counsellors and therapists working independently and collaboratively to find ways to make ourselves more widely useful in response to the emotional and spiritual effects of climate change. Many of my professional colleagues support the activities of groups like Extinction Rebellion, and agree that new kinds of therapeutic thinking and new forms of therapeutic action are needed by all kinds of people. Right now, some of the philosophical activists associated with Rebel Wisdom have a lot to say about how this could happen. See also The Collective Psychology Project.