What is the difference between Ecopsychology, Ecotherapy and Climate Psychology?

Ecopsychology is informed by systems theory and connects ecological principles with psychology’s contributions to stress reduction and wellness. Ecotherapy promotes human well-being through direct experience of nature, sometimes working from frameworks of ancestral healing and Indigenous knowledge, to encourage awareness that our psyches and bodies are not isolated or separate from our environment and promotes caring for and connection with the Earth. Climate Psychology is an emerging, related discipline that embraces many of the same values and aims to specifically understand the impact of the climate and ecological emergency (CEE) on mental health as well as the barriers to changing the “business as usual” mindset that perpetuates ecocide. Climate psychology provides guidance for understanding and confronting society-wide reluctance to take appropriate action in relation to the escalating threat of climate change as well as psychological defenses which make it more difficult to develop solutions. Environmental, racial, and economic justice are seen as key to the reclamation of a healthy planet and transformation of the systems that have contributed to the CEE. Awareness of these inequities along with climate science facts, examination of consumerist values, development of resilience, and use of empowering climate messaging are all part of the field of Climate Psychology.

Why would I choose to pursue this as part of my professional development?

Emotional distress triggered by climate change is already showing up in our practices and will only increase in the coming years. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications, 70% of Americans are very or somewhat worried about global warming and more than half state they are being harmed right now (2021). While much of our mental health training is applicable to addressing eco-anxiety, grief and other forms of climate-triggered dread, there are specific competencies required to skillfully address this escalating crisis. This program will equip clinicians and related professionals with clinical perspectives and therapeutic tools to effectively work with this rapidly emerging issue.

I’m not a licensed or soon-to-be licensed therapist (MFT, LCSW, PsyD, etc), but I’m interested in applying. Am I eligible?

Yes, allied professionals are encouraged to apply. However, it's important that all practitioners who are not clinically licensed are aware that we are teaching from a context of both clinically licensed therapists and coaches who work within different professional frames.

Am I eligible to receive Continuing Education Credits (CE)s from the certificate?

The Climate Psychology Certificate program is offered by an accredited university and this program meets the requirements for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) and is approved for 60 CEs for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT licenses: 

  • LCSWs and MFTs from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board for approval.
  • CIIS is not authorized to issue APA CEs. However, we will work with a third-party provider to offer APA CEs for certain courses within the certificate, upon request.
  • For questions about BBS CEs, contact CIIS Public Program at publicprograms@ciis.edu.

Can I audit this course?

No. In addition to providing skills and training in climate psychology, this program intentionally limits the size of the cohort in order to cultivate strong connections among the participants that supports the possibility of long-term collaborations. For this reason, participants must be able to attend all the sessions and the classes will not be recorded.

Can I use federal student loans to pay for the certificate?

Unfortunately, certificate programs are not eligible for student loans. Certificates are technically considered “Continuing Education” and students are not considered matriculated college students, and so most tuition-based scholarships and loans do not apply.

Who qualifies for the CIIS Community Discount?

All CIIS current students, faculty, staff, and alumni are eligible for the CIIS discount. Former graduates of our other certificate programs are also eligible for the discount.

What are the details of the payment plan?

All accepted applicants will receive the option to pay in one, two, or four installments. Payment plans are offered at no additional cost. The payment dates for the two-payment plan are typically in February & May for the Spring, and September & December in the Fall. The payment dates for the four-payment plan are typically in February, March, April, & May in the Spring, and September, October, November, & December in the Fall.

How does the sliding scale work?

All accepted applicants will be given a payment form, where they will be able to select their program fee from the designated range, as well as choose their payment plan option.

If you have any further questions, please contact CIIS Public Programs at publicprograms@ciis.edu.

Subscribe to the Public Programs Newsletter

Stay Connected to CIIS