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Jim Holloway Counselling and therapy in Cambridge

The climate crisis and therapeutic dialogue

“We are a society of altruists governed by psychopaths”GEORGE MONBIOT

Depending on where you get your news from, and who you listen to, or which blogs you read, you'll have your own view of what many people call “the climate crisis”. Global climate change is widely recognised as catastrophic. What do we do with this information? Where does it take us, mentally and emotionally? How can we talk about it in therapy?

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 support from a counsellor or therapist to help 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?

Evolving psycho-social dialogue
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 psychological and emotional effects of climate change. Many of my professional colleagues 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 Larger Us (previously known as The Collective Psychology Project) and Perspectiva.

Climate and psyche. InsectsGroup1C

The best professional resource I have found for studying climate psychology is the accessible, widely informed, non-polemical work of the Climate Psychology Alliance, especially the multi-authored Handbook of Climate Psychology (first published 2018, regularly updated, available online only).

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