by Eric Worrall at wattsupwiththat.com
“… I get them to envision a world that is fair; where everyone has enough resources to meet their needs. I ask them what they can do now to contribute to this world, and ask them to move towards this. …”
As a psychologist I have witnessed a surge in climate grief. This is what I tell my clients
Sat 13 Jan 2024 01.00 AEDTLast modified on Sat 13 Jan 2024 11.35 AEDT
“It sucks… and it’s only going to get worse,” my client says, disbelief colouring their facial expression.
I’m inclined to agree, it does suck.
I can feel my hands starting to get clammy as my memory flashes back to the catastrophic climate events I’ve watched unfold recently.
Bearing witness to the climate crisis can feel surreal at times, yet I do not mention this to my client. I have a job to do, and it is not to escalate their rational anxieties and fears, it is to manage what is manageable; to teach coping strategies, to encourage connection to nature and social relationships, to channel their grief into sustainable action that feels meaningful.
I work within an eco-psychological framework, in which humans’ psychological interdependence with the rest of nature is a focus, along with the implications for identity, health and well-being. What these young people deeply grasp is that humans are not separate from nature – we are nature.
I constantly return to the message that there is so much beauty and life in the world that can be saved – and is absolutely worth fighting for. I encourage people to curate their social media feeds and to seek out good news stories about the climate action around the world. I get them to envision a world that is fair; where everyone has enough resources to meet their needs. I ask them what they can do now to contribute to this world, and ask them to move towards this.
I talk to them about connection with like minded peers, and joining a local climate action group. I talk to them about nature based therapies- hiking, swimming, listening and watching wildlife, attending beach clean ups and tree planting days. I talk to them about choosing financial institutions to bank with that rule out funding fossil fuel projects. I encourage mindfulness, enjoying the present moment, working through their grief through art, and working through their stress, rage and anxiety with movement.
Carly Dober is a psychologist living and working in Naarm/Melbourne. You can see more of her work here IG @enrichinglivespsychology
What a sad bunch of fantasists. The only problem with global warming in Melbourne where psychologist Carly Dober is based, is Melbourne is not getting enough.