2 students reading in the stacks

Climate Psychology Certificate

Program Overview

Program Length

5 Weeks



Next Cohort


The Climate Psychology Certificate provides psychological training and skills for therapists, healers, and allied professionals to competently and innovatively address the growing mental health impacts of the climate emergency. Utilizing an integrative and robust framework that includes multiple behavioral science approaches and philosophies, as well as a view into the broken systemic legacies from which painful eco-emotional conditions arise, climate psychology is adaptable to various therapeutic orientations.

The primary focus of the Climate Psychology Certificate is to provide training that can be incorporated into clinical practice for working therapeutically with the lived experiences of eco-anxiety, eco-grief, and many expressions of climate-invoked dread. Participants learn about:

  • Immediate mental health impacts of climate related disasters
  • Long term stress of living with the reality of climate change over time
  • Trauma-informed therapeutic and emotional resiliency skills with ways of motivating effective action
  • Existential dilemmas that come into the therapy room, such as whether to have a family, move out of a geographical area to avoid climate-related disasters, kinship breakdown, and more generally, how to navigate one’s own future with escalating threats

The program cohort is intentionally kept small to promote connections among participants that can lead to lifelong networking, shared professional efforts, and cross referrals.

About the Certificate

The Climate Psychology Certificate at CIIS takes place as live synchronous learning via Zoom. There are no in-person requirements. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a digital certificate of completion through Accredible, along with a BBS Continuing Education Certificate for completed hours upon request. 

This certificate is designed as additional training for counseling professionals who are licensed, are license eligible, or who have completed their coursework to become license eligible. Types of professionals for whom this program applies include:

  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC)
  • Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
  • Clinical and Counseling Psychologists (PsyD)
  • Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (MD & NP)
  • Allied professionals who work within the therapeutic frame

Under specific circumstances, prospective medical and mental health professionals who are not yet licensed may apply if they have completed the great majority of their coursework and have secured a traineeship or internship for gaining training hours of counseling and psychotherapy and have plans to complete their coursework in parallel.


Climate psychology themes live within a social justice context an understanding that facing climate change includes addressing racial, gender, and generational collective suffering, human rights abuses, rights of nature, and the historical responsibilities for environmental damage. Particular attention will be paid to the inequitable impacts of climate change on the mental health of marginalized and vulnerable populations, and the importance of ethical policies and decision making that prioritizes these groups. This exploration includes how to deconstruct systemic harm perpetuated in colonized minds and practices.

Guided by a developmental lens, the training will include the ways in which climate change can be explained to children of various age groups, giving kids reason to hope and become part of meaningful change without minimizing the challenges ahead. With half the youth (16 –25 year old) reporting distress about the climate in ways that disrupt their daily lives and functioning, the program will address the moral injury that government inaction has inflicted.

The ecological crisis is not only a call to action to ensure the survival of humanity and other life forms on our planet, but also has the potential to move human evolution and consciousness to the next level of social, racial, and economic equality. In addition to the rich resources found within psychology, we will explore the clinical relevance with speakers from Indigenous and wisdom traditions who can provide us with a reminder of our interconnectivity with the full diversity and beauty of life and the Earth as our sacred home.

Entry Requirements

Applications for Certificate Programs may be submitted through CIIS' online application platform. Applications include:

  • Background & Goal Statement
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • An optional Scholarship Essay

We especially encourage applications from individuals who: identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color; identify as LGBTQIA+, and/or serve marginalized or under-represented populations. Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is full. Applicants will be notified within 60 days of submitting their application.

View fees and tuition for the Climate Psychology Certificate under the Public Programs dropdown on our Tuition and Fees page.

Course Descriptions

    • Clinical Applications within the Context of Intersectionality
    • From Darkness to Illumination: Addressing Climate & Mental Health in Multiple Frontlines
    • Complexities of Childbearing and Raising Children in a Changing World
    • New Paradigms for Therapeutic Work
    • Supporting Community with Climate Groups
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This course will focus on ways mental health clinicians can think about the clinical practice of climate aware therapy. We will start with considering the therapist's own emotional reactions to the climate and environmental crisis and ways to process those responses, as well as countertransference challenges that may occur. We will discuss helpful attitudes for climate-informed practice that span all theoretical perspectives and can help enlarge our mental health models. We will examine ways that social location, privilege and other identity factors need to be included in our clinical formulations and approaches, as well as how to work with various forms of traumatic stress and grief. Through clinical examples and engagement with case material, we will discuss a variety of interventions, dilemmas and ethical questions that may emerge in clinical work. We will also consider ways to facilitate attention to climate issues that may have not yet emerged in treatment.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Cohort Schedule

DateTimeInstructorCourse Title

Weekend One

Friday, September 159am-12pm & 1pm-4pm PTLeslie Davenport & Barbara EasterlinIntroduction & Climate Psychology Overview
Saturday, September 169am-12pm & 1pm-3pm PTVanessa AndreottiGesturing Toward Decolonial Futures
 3pm-4pm PTIntegration Session 

Weekend Two

Friday, October 69am-12pm & 1pm-2pm PTWendy GreenspunClimate-Aware Clinical Work
 2pm-4pm PTWorking Groups 
Saturday, October 79am-12pm PTTheopia Jackson, Kyle X Hil, & Tori TsuiPanel Discussion: Clinical Applications within the Context of Intersectionality
 1pm-4pm PTIntegration Session 

Weekend Three

Friday, October 279am-12pm & 1pm-3pm PTAdrian Villasenor-GalarzaThe Ecology of our Inner Landscapes
 4pm-5pm PTIntegration Session & Group Discussion 
Saturday, October 289am-12pm PTSusanne MoserThe Adaptive Mind: Addressing the Needs of Frontline Climate
 1pm-3pm PTPablo Suarez, Wawa Gatheru, & Suzanne MoserPanel Discussion: From Darkness to Illumination: Addressing Climate & Mental Health in Multiple Frontlines
 3pm-4pm PTIntegration Session 

Weekend Four

Friday, November 179am-1pm PTCaroline HickmanChildren, Youth, and Parenting
 2pm-4pm PTElizabeth Bechard & Jade SasserPanel Discussion: Complexities of Childbearing and Raising Children in a Changing World
Saturday, November 189am-12pm & 1pm-3pm PTBritt WrayScaling Up: Increasing Awareness of and Access to Climate Mental Health
 3pm-4pm PTIntegration Session 
Weekend Five
Friday, December 89am-12pm PTZhiwa WoodburyInterview: New Paradigms for Therapeutic Work
 1pm-3:30pm PTAnna Graybeal & Laura SchmidtPanel Discussion: Supporting Community with Climate Groups
 3:30pm-4pm PTIntegration Session 
Saturday, December 99am-12pm PTAriella Cook ShonkoffIntegrating Through Expressive Arts Therapy
 1pm-4pm PTLeslie Davenport & Barbara EasterlinGleanings, Connection, Community

Continuing Education Credits

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.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Contact Us

Please contact us at publicprograms@ciis.edu with any additional questions.

Climate Psychology Certificate Info Sessions

Faculty News

Read about CIIS Professor Leslie Davenport's critical work on climate distress and eco-anxiety in the July 10th issue of The New Yorker Magazine