Trauma Informed Practices in Clinical Climate Psychology | Elizabeth Allured

This course will use a trauma lens in approaching clinical work with climate distress. Traumatic reactions are already occurring in populations impacted and displaced by the climate and environmental emergency; and pre-traumatic stresses are being experienced by those becoming climate-crisis informed. The realities of systemic societal traumas and how they are enfolded within the environmental crisis, will be discussed. The traditional process of “unearthing” trauma with a clinical approach of exploring defenses, will be noted, along with an introduction to seeing how personality dynamics as well as pre-existing anxiety and depression can be interwoven with climate anxiety and distress. Ways of “re-earthing” trauma and sharing our distress to heal our often dissociated relationship with the more than human, will be discussed.

Scaling Up: Group Work | Andrew Bryant

This module explores the particular benefits, as well as potential challenges, of addressing climate-related emotions in a group format. We will review research supporting the use of groups to process emotions, promote resilience and connection, and encourage healthy forms of action and engagement. We will review various group therapy and support group models that have already been developed to address climate-related emotions, and will utilize experiential group exercises and discussion to enhance understanding of the impact of group process. Some specific themes we will address include: the role of the clinician in group process; group formation; fostering peer support; utilizing ritual; and group termination.

Ecopsychology: Healing the Split Between Humans and Nature | Jeanine Canty

An ecopsychological approach to our climate crisis situates in unraveling the roots of our disconnection from nature, reawakening our inherent abilities, and restoring our deep connections with all of life. At the heart of ecopsychology is the recognition that anyone living under a western/corporate globalized worldview is traumatized and our pathologies are not individual, but collective. Our society is very rooted in a false reality that numbs out ecological and social concerns and instead focuses on our small, often self-centered needs. In our work together, we will examine the roots of ecopsychology, how to move from an egocentric to more relational selves, especially the ecological self, and look at both qualities and practices of healing.  Participants should be prepared to experience heavy emotions, engage in experiential exercises, and to be attentive to our learning community.

Climate & Well-Being | Susan Clayton

This session will describe mental health impacts of climate change, including climate anxiety, with a focus on the importance of clear definitions and measurement. We will discuss the range and complexity of emotional responses to climate change, including ecological grief. Switching to the potential for positive impacts of the natural environment, we will review the idea of environmental identity and the personal connection to the natural world.

Integrating Through Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) | Ariella Cook-Shonkoff

This course provides an overview of how the expressive art (EXA) therapies can be applied to climate psychology clinical practices. An introduction to how EXA is currently utilized with different populations, including research supporting how it fosters growth, healing, recovery, and resilience by activating unconscious and neurobiological processes will be covered. One goal of the course is to explore how EXA might be incorporated into different theoretical frameworks applicable to climate psychology. The course will also survey projects outside of the therapy realm that are at the intersection of creativity and climate work, as a way to stimulate ideas. Both experiential and interactive, there will be several arts-based exercises, break out room discussions, and sharing and learning from one another in a collaborative manner.

Climate Psychology Overview | Leslie Davenport & Barbara Easterlin

This course lays the foundation of the causes and mental health implications of the climate emergency. A summary of current climate science as well as the systemic environmental/social issues rooted in culture and politics are introduced. There will be discussion of how these concepts are rooted in a climate aware therapeutic stance, with an introduction to skill development highlighting resilience, hope, encouragement of activism, and self-regulation. Key climate psychology terms and concepts will be explored, including unconscious processes that underlie our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors about sustainability; evidence-based therapeutic practices for addressing mental health impacts of environmental disasters and longer term climate-induced chronic stress; as well as our psychological and physical interdependence with nature. 

Clinical Development and Integration | Leslie Davenport & Barbara Easterlin

This set of classes provides a review of climate-informed skills as well as important time for small group discussions to deepen and integrate these themes. Additional topics include: reflective, expressive, and nature-themed processes for developing different ways of knowing and adapting to the climate crisis; a discussion of how climate distress is different from and/or amplifies pre-existing vulnerabilities of socioeconomic resources, racial oppression, sexuality and gender bias as well as mood, anxiety, attachment, and trauma; a demonstration for working with common climate-related dilemmas and feelings; and Q/A to expand and clarify core climate aware therapy principles.

Environmental Identity-Based Therapies for Eco and Climate Concerns | Thomas Doherty

To support eco- and climate therapy, we re-vision competencies associated with all therapy approaches including multicultural awareness, assessment, and rapport building. An important new tool is familiarity with the process of environmental identity, one’s self-concept and sense of relationship with nature. “EI” intersects with a person’s other identities in unique ways  and provides a base on which to build eco- and climate therapy interventions.

In this experiential course, you’ll discover how to:

  • Explore your environmental identity, beliefs and experiences (including sources of wellbeing and resilience, and of trauma or injustice)
  • Adapt your existing therapeutic orientation and skill set to address environmental and climate concerns faced by your clients or patients
  • Apply these interventions into your practice with diverse individuals, being mindful of ethics, context, effective preparation and messaging, and your personal style.

The Environmental Youth Movement | Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru

This course provides an in-depth introduction to the climate youth movement, an international network of youth organizations and individuals that collectively aims to inspire, empower and mobilize a generational movement of young people to take positive action on the climate crisis. Connecting the youth climate movement to the social movements of the 20th century, this course will introduce students to the intergenerational power of youth organizing and perseverance. 

Children, Youth, & Parenting | Caroline Hickman

As future generations, children and young people have the largest stake in finding solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergency, but so often the narrative around climate crisis communication and related psychological trauma can split between protecting children from the facts or terrifying them by telling them too much. But maybe we need to hold this tension of opposites. Can we find ways to protect children whilst validating and acknowledging their fears? As children take to the streets and the law courts to express their pain, frustration, and despair, do we, the “adults”, need to examine our defenses and learn to really listen to them more honestly, to tolerate their distress, to face our guilt, grief and shame and find ways to navigate the new world that is emerging together?  

In this course, we will discuss recent research on the mental health and psychological impacts of climate change on children and young people, make links with legal cases in the European Court of Human Rights arguing that failure to act on climate change constitutes a violation of human rights of children, and reflect on the emergent mental health crisis of climate anxiety from a global perspective drawing on research from the UK, US, Philippines, Maldives, and Europe. 

Developmental Models | Kelsey Hudson

This course will provide an overview of developmental factors to consider when providing climate-aware care to young people and their families. A summary of empirically-supported strategies for working with young children, older children, teenagers, and emerging adults will be provided. Considerations for supporting caregivers of young people experiencing climate distress will be discussed. Research on young people’s climate-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will be provided and case examples will be used to highlight developmentally-sensitive clinical applications.

Befriending Eco-Anxiety and Strong Emotions: Trusting and Grounding in the Body | Kaira Jewel Lingo

During times of crisis and strong emotions, we still can find space inside to be present with ourselves and with others. In this session, we will learn intentional, somatic practices and discover how to return to the reality and safety of the present moment, remaining connected to the earth in full awareness. We will explore the relationship between slowing down to heal ourselves and slowing down to heal our planet. Engaging powerful teachings from Buddhist Psychology on how our minds function, we will also do a deep dive into how to fully meet and soothe anxiety, anger, and grief in these challenging times of climate and social upheaval. We will learn and practice how we can access mindfulness to help us recognize whatever painful emotion is arising, accept it, and then embrace it like a loving adult would hold a crying baby. As we do this, our emotions settle down and we are able to see into their roots within the deeper layers of our mind. This leads us to insight and gradual transformation of habit patterns so that we are freed up to respond with trust and courageous vulnerability to the aching needs of our world. 

Climate Psychology Outside the Consultation Room | Renée Lertzman 

The field of climate psychology has expanded exponentially over recent years. How do practices, insights and methodologies honed in the consulting room, get translated and applied outside of clinical settings? This course, presented by Dr. Renée Lertzman, features a review of how she’s been actively translating clinical approaches in non-clinical settings, particularly with organizations working on the frontlines of climate and environmental threats. Dr. Lertzman will share her journey from psychology major in college in the late 1980s, to a practicing psychosocial consultant and founder of Project InsideOut, a global initiative; and present a series of case studies and examples from her consulting practice. She will share lessons learned and frameworks developed for Project InsideOut, and lead a series of interactive activities based on her work with organizations that support attunement, emotionally intelligent approaches, and integrated theories of change.

The Adaptive Mind: Addressing the Needs of Frontline Climate Workers | Susanne Moser

What are the psycho-social challenges faced by those who work day in and day out on the "frontlines" of climate change? This session will introduce course participants to the particular psychological challenges "climate professionals" face, why it is essential to focus on this audience, why they find it difficult to seek out psycho-therapeutic or peer support, and what kinds of skills and support they need to continue to do their essential work. Participants will learn about the implications of failing to support these climate professionals. Drawing on empirical research, practical experience and a pilot program to meet climate professionals' needs, the session will engage course participants in exploring approaches and modalities that might be supportive of climate professionals.

Colonial Trauma, Ecocide, and Ancestral Healing | Jennifer Mullan

This course will highlight the connection between the climate crisis and legacies of oppression, colonization and historical trauma, as root causes of the climate crisis. As climate anxiety grows, therapy is disproportionately oriented toward what the culture of oppression will lose, rather than on regenerative themes of healing, repairing, and truth telling and to providing mental health services to the people who are most impacted by climate change. Therefore, the first half of the course will focus on the roots of colonization, historical and intergenerational trauma, weaving how these concepts and experiences are expressions of current day trauma and collective disconnect. There will be a review of the ways in which emotions that are most frequently pathologized, such as grief and rage, are healthy expressions of historical trauma and the ongoing climate crisis. The second half of the class will focus on the inclusion of repair and healing in therapeutic work, and the inclusion of ritual and ancestral healing. Throughout the course students will develop new language that offer a shift in our therapeutic lens: shifting from “treatment,” to “healing engagement.” Students will be asked to not just intellectualize decolonial healing, but to embody it in this course. 

Decolonization & Indigenous Health and Healing | Melissa K. Nelson

Indigenous peoples and their unique place-based knowledge systems promote a holistic vision of health and healing that understands the profound link between human and planetary health. The current climate crisis is a symptom of a deeper imbalance in human’s relationship with the natural world. Until this fundamental, metaphysical and psychological root is addressed, the planet and all its peoples and life forms will continue to suffer. Through an Indigenous, decolonial framework this course will explore root causes and interventions to personal and planetary well-being. It will also introduce participants to different Indigenous models of healing and community transformation through environmental and climate justice, food sovereignty, and regenerative agriculture.

Ethical Considerations | Lise Van Susteren

In this course participants will understand the urgency of the climate crisis as a call to action through the moral lenses embedded in culture. Climate and social tipping points will be explored in the context of what science tells us is a race against time. After this presentation, participants will be prepared to discuss climate inaction in terms of a moral crisis through the context of social and individual psychological factors:

  • Identifying the key forces that explain the accelerating peril
  • Understanding why we have thus far failed to take sufficient action and how to get around resistance  
  • Describing the moral ground upon which action is based from a legal, religious/spiritual, and professional perspective
  • Making the case that inaction on climate action is a violation of human rights – especially those of young people 
  • Advocating for powerful actions to restore the stability of our climate and our mental health

In addition, there will be an activity to identify climate reactor types adapted from Dr. Van Susteran’s book, Emotional Inflammation (with Stacey Colino), along with powerful success stories and ideas for action.

The Ecology of our Inner Landscapes | Adrián Villaseñor Galarza

This course explores how our innate belonging to the Earth may provide the inner resilience to better face the climate crisis and mobilize psycho-emotional resources of health and wellbeing. Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects—a world-renowned group-work methodology that brings together systems science, deep ecology, and non-dual spiritualities—is presented in its theoretical and practical dimensions. Within the exploration of the ecology of our inner landscapes, particular emphasis will be made on how overwhelm, anxiety, and other afflictions point at the urgent need of a more ecological understanding of the human mind. Some key therapeutic and clinical applications of the Work That Reconnects in relation to self-regulation, hope, and inspiration will be expounded.

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