Saturday 10th February 2018, 9.45 am – 5.00 pm
Bath Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 1 Trim Bridge, Bath BA1 1HD
There are many split off feelings surfacing in the social media, on the streets and in the therapist’s consulting room. Feelings that do not just arise from early life histories but also from a cultural malaise in which painful, challenging feelings are dumped as toxic. This has created a powerful cultural shadow that manifests itself as entitlement, grievance, shame and hate and is projected onto ‘Others’ as carriers of this toxic mixture. Along with resentments about having been left out of the greedy rush to neoliberal globalisation, there is the strange sense of chickens coming home to roost.
Climate change is sometimes referred to as a ‘wicked problem’ because it is distant, amorphous and scary evoking helplessness in an age that espouses control; but it has also become a nexus for terrifying unconscious feelings that threaten our precarious identity. Catastrophic fantasies of authoritarian take-over, ecological collapse and social chaos cannot be simply explained away. They are in our dreams and have infiltrated the membrane of our collective ego. It is not surprising to those of us working with unconscious process that climate change in particular is avoided like the plague – of which it may bear an uncanny resemblance. As Camus suggested, the citizens of Oran “did not believe in pestilence” but thought of it as “a bad dream that will end”.
This day will follow the therapeutic principle of staying close to the trouble and attending to what is usually avoided. We will check our understanding of grievance and resentment in the light of new work and explore how to support courage and resilience in facing into what sometimes feels overwhelming.
Sally Weintrobe: ‘As if’ versus ‘what if’: Moral Dimensions of Climate Change.
Sally Weintrobe is a psychoanalyst and climate psychologist currently working on how neoliberal culture drives disavowal of climate change.
Paul Hoggett: Resentment as a Political Force: From Nietzsche to Trump.
Paul Hoggett is a psychotherapist, the Chair of Climate Psychology Alliance and Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at UWE.
Chris Robertson: Attending to the Trouble.
Chris Robertson has been a psychotherapist since 1978. He co-founded Re-Vision in 1988 and attempts working at the edge between psychotherapy and culture.