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Symposium: Climate change trauma – Impacts an... - Recording
Climate change trauma – Impacts and therapeutic response
How often does trauma from climate change risks and effects come up in your therapeutic conversations? To what extent has this been mentioned in your therapeutic training? Awakening to the implications of climate change for our own and the next generations can lead to an existential shattering of deeply held assumptions and beliefs. Pre-traumatic stress, eco-anxiety, solastalgia, psychoterratic syndromes and somaterratic illness – a new lexicon is emerging to describe states of trauma profoundly impacting the lives of people and communities, yet absent from the dominant cultural, political and psychological discourses.
Could it be possible that complex trauma dynamics such as silence, denial, shame, unhealthy adaptations and attachment ruptures inform what Joanna Macy refers to as a “double life” – living our lives as if nothing has changed, whilst knowing that everything has? What is the role of the therapist for noticing and responding to these dynamics when sitting with our clients? How do we offer useful therapeutic support for people experiencing pre-traumatic stress and those already impacted by environmental instability and loss? How might we offer support to people at risk of vicarious trauma and burnout from their efforts to stop violence against the natural world and effect political change? What are the implications for our own awakening and self-care when doing this work?
These ideas will be explored from the perspective of a therapist on a learning curve who feels that as a profession we have an ethical responsibility to be discussing questions such as these.
Merle Conyer offers psychotherapy, supervision, group work, training and consulting services. She works with people and organisations impacted by interpersonal, institutional, political and cultural violence and abuse. In addition to private practice Merle contributes to institutions implementing redress programs, legal services, Aboriginal organisations, agencies informed by social justice and human rights values, and with community-based activists. Merle centres anti-oppressive and decolonising principles in her approach.
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