V112 Eco-Therapy in Action

Addressing Climate Concerns in Clinical Work

Last summer was this country’s hottest on record. Worldwide, all living creatures suffered through excessive droughts, heatwaves, and a wildfire season that only halfway through the calendar year was larger than any in previous history. With two-thirds of the population anxious about climate change, and more than half worried about its effects on their mental health, becoming a climate-aware therapist is a competency we should all be considering. The mainstay of good ecotherapy is your familiarity with your own “environmental identity.” This self-concept and sense of relationship with nature provides the base on which to build client-specific, ecotherapy interventions. In this experiential workshop, you’ll discover how to: 

  • Explore one's environmental identity, beliefs, and experiences  
  • Adapt your existing clinical orientation and skill set to address clients’ environmental and climate concerns 
  • Unpack your clients’ sources of environmental well-being and resilience as well as their sense of environmental traumas or injustice 
  • Stay mindful of ethics, context, and messaging when applying environmental interventions with diverse individuals 

Thomas Doherty, PsyD, is a clinical and environmental psychologist specializing in the connections between mental health and the natural environment. Author of the paper, “The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change,” he’s founder of one of the first environment-focused certificate programs for mental health counselors in the U.S. 

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January 21, 2022

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