- Published: 10 January 2013 10 January 2013
This paper is an exploration of our psychological attitudes underlying climate change and ecological crisis
The central question is whether psychological insights can contribute to the collective change we need to make towards sustainable living. Part One explores two major myths that underpin western culture: The Myth of the Fall and The Myth of Progress. Our readings of these stories keep us trapped in destructive ways of living. In particular, western culture has developed a long-held fear of wild nature, both inner and outer. Civilisation is experienced as a defence against nature. This stands in contrast to an indigenous worldview, where humans respect the balance that needs to be kept between humans and the rest of nature. How do we find a way of working with nature in this modern age? Part Two explores our personal responses to, and fantasies about, sustainable living. Consumerism has become an opiate of the people, in order to subdue our wild internal nature. Such an addictive relationship blocks us from thinking, and prevents us from taking action. Recovery involves re-inhabiting our bodies, developing what Naess describes as an Ecological Identity. Part Three explores how these issues might enter into our work as therapists, and how we might respond.
Guild of Psychotherapists Annual Lecture, London, November 17th 2007.
Published in Psychotherapy and Politics International 6(3): 157-170 2008
Full paper here