According to a recent U.N. report on climate change, without radical worldwide action between now and 2040, the planet will warm so quickly that ramped-up wildfires, killer droughts, more powerful storms, and greater flooding from rising seas will likely become an unalterable fact of life.
But that's not all. As a direct result of climate change, more people are reporting anxiety, depression, anger, and even suicidal thoughts. But with climate change being a massive, worldwide problem, how much can individual therapists really do to help?
According to eco-therapist and professor Patricia Hasbach, plenty. Our first task, she says, is acknowledging our clients' fears and allowing them to do the same. The second, she explains, is helping them move into action. Here's what this looks like.
Patricia Hasbach, PhD, is a licensed professional counselor and clinical psychotherapist, consultant, author, and college educator in Eugene, Oregon. She's an author and co-editor of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species and The Rediscovery of the Wild. She's also a psychology professor at Lewis & Clark College's graduate school.
“Right now, people are feeling that they’re not safe,” Hasbach says in this Networker article. “Where we are today truly is different than where we were 10 years ago. Climate change is harder to deny. I find one of the most important things to do for clients with eco-anxiety is to help them feel validated about having these concerns. When they’re invited to explore it, a lot comes up.”
Did you enjoy this video? Check out our article, "The Rise of Eco-Anxiety," where Hasbach and other experts weigh in on the uptick in anxiety and depression stemming from climate change, and what therapists can do about it.
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