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This presentation will provide a foundational background about the climate crisis, its impact on mental health, how to identify clients’ climate distress, and therapeutic practices that enhance resilience, adaptation, and coping. The climate and environmental crisis is the most complex existential threat humanity is facing. According to recent research (2021) by the Yale School of Climate Communications, 73% of Americans feel that the climate crisis is real and 60% believe it is human caused. In the world of mental health, we know that internal factors such as emotions, beliefs, and attitudes influence behavior, but behaviors occur within a powerful context of cultural beliefs, social networks, social status inequalities, race, and income, as well as government policies and the larger environmental ecosystems within these individual factors exist.
Psychotherapy of climate distress must occur within these larger systems, but coping skills and action that enhance an individual’s resilience are important. Research and psychotherapeutic practices will be presented that help to identify climate distress within the context of a client's biographical and psychological frame, and to integrate these knowledge bases. In addition, the nascent field discussion of ethical responses to the climate crisis from mental health practitioners will be discussed.
Learning ObjectivesUpon completion of this presentation, participants will be able to:
- Describe common emotional responses, defenses and behaviors that accompany awareness of the climate crisis (i.e. denial, dissociation)
- Explain the way in which climate crisis awareness amplifies emotional dysregulation and the application of Polyvagal Theory to identify treatment targets
- Create a treatment plan that addresses intersectionality of race, income, social factors agency; emotional regulation; resilience and a sense of connection to nature while at the same time helping those working in climate science and activism to avoid burnout.
Barbara Easterlin, PhD is a California Licensed Psychologist and, until recently, a clinical faculty member at UC Berkeley’s Department of Psychology, Graduate Division where she provided training in neuropsychological assessment. Prior to her career as a clinician she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Psychology at UC Irvine where she researched the impact of nature exposure during the work day as a means of reducing stress. Ecology, systems thinking, and the relationship between the environment and mental health have been enduring professional and personal concerns of hers.
A long-term Buddhist meditation practitioner and scholar, she was awarded a Fetzer Foundation grant to study the impact of stress on long-term mindfulness meditators for her doctoral studies, well before mindfulness became a widely accepted concept in this country. Barbara has been an advocate of empowering girls and founded Authentica Center for Girls in Marin County, California, creating a curriculum for girls’ social skills development, primarily targeted at helping girls to develop a healthy sense of self, self-regulation skills, a connection to the natural world, and community apart from the “pop culture” influences which surround them. She subspecialized in neuropsychological assessment and couple therapy, employing neurobiological and attachment-based theories of stabilizing and improving intimacy and stability.
Several years ago, Barbara resumed her early work in environmental psychology. She says it was working with youth and listening to their concerns about the state of the world that made her decide to leverage her skills into studying and communicating about the psychology that underlies the climate crisis, the function of denial as a way to defend against the very difficult scientific evidence about the warming planet, and also the resilience skills that can lead to improved mental health and positive action. She has co-created a 70-hour Climate Psychology Certificate program, the first of its kind, to be launched in fall of 2022, at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Barbara also serves on the Steering Committee of Climate Psychology Alliance, North America where she is working on educational training for clinicians in the domain of treating climate distress.
Attendance at the live event and completion of the evaluation qualifies for 4 Continuing Education hours.
PLEASE NOTE: This event will be recorded. By registering for this event you are consenting to a recording being made which may include your voice and/or image. This recording may be available for review and downloading. By registering for this event, you are agreeing for your likeliness to possibly be used by Marin CAMFT.
Upon registering you will receive a Zoom link and password.
- Date: Saturday, April 16
- Time: 9:00 am to 1:30 pm Pacific (4 hours of instruction plus 30 minutes for breaks)
- Location: Online via Zoom. Password and link sent upon registration.
For more information about the Saturday Workshop Series or about joining the Committee, please contact Marin CAMFT's Director of Programs Norman Hering.
- Continuing Education: This workshop meets the qualifications for continuing education units for LMFTs, LCSWs, LEPs and/or LPCCs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. The number of CEUs awarded is specified in the event description. These CEUs will be provided by Marin CAMFT (CAMFT Provider # 56895), which is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs. We regret that at this time we are not able to provide CE units for Licensed Psychologists. Participants must attend the full live session and complete the evaluation at the end to receive CE completion certificate. Marin CAMFT maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. Contact the Director of Programs for more information.
- Continuing Education Goal: Marin CAMFT is committed to offering continuing education courses to train LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs to treat any client in an ethically and clinically sound manner based upon current accepted standards of practice.
- Refund Policy: Refunds are available up to 7 days in advance event, subject to a $20 administrative fee. We're sorry but we do not provide refunds in case of non-attendance by the registrant. Please contact the Director of Programs with any questions.
- Request for Accommodations: If you need accommodations for this event, please contact the Director of Programs.
- Grievance Procedure: Marin CAMFT will respond to complaints in a reasonable, ethical and timely manner, when submitted by program attendees in writing to the Director of Programs.
- Anti-Discrimination Policy: Marin CAMFT shall not discriminate against any individual or group with respect to any service, program or activity based on gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, creed, national origin, citizenship status, religion, age, ability, or other prohibited basis. Marin CAMFT does not require attendees to adhere to any particular religion or creed in order to participate in training. Marin CAMFT will not promote or advocate for a single modality of treatment that is discriminatory or likely to harm clients based on current accepted standards or practice.
CEUs are available for "live" Zoom attendance only. You must complete the course evaluation at the end in order to receive a completion certificate. Certificates are sent out by email within one week of the event, pending receipt of the evaluation.