Imagine Alcoholics Anonymous mixed with an environmental humanities course and you’ll begin to get a sense of the ”good grief” group started by Schmidt. Its goal is to help people cope with what’s been called “climate grief”— anxiety, sadness, depression, and other emotions provoked by awareness of the planet’s march toward a hotter, less biologically diverse, and potentially unsustainable future. The psychological consequences of climate change have been the subject of greater study in recent years, with the Obama White House releasing a report in 2016 that predicted growing numbers of people would experience direct mental-health effects from exposure to weather-related natural disasters as well as indirect stress and anxiety. In March, the American Psychiatric Association approved a policy committing to mitigate the adverse mental-health effects of climate change.

Thomas Doherty, a psychologist who specializes in applying an environmental perspective to mental health, believes the A.A. approach could provide valuable inspiration for coping with the planet’s warming. “The philosophical realization that there are certain things beyond your control is a big part of A.A.,” he says. “We are also on some level powerless against climate change.” But the “key question,” according to Doherty, is “where we can claim some power on these issues.” If done correctly, these sorts of groups could help people overcome the numbness they may feel regarding the existential threat of climate change and determine strategic ways to take action, he says.

Read the rest at the source: Feeling helpless about the future of the planet? Now there’s a 9-step program for that | Fusion

Published by Thomas Doherty

Psychologist Thomas Doherty's work on environmental sustainability and health has been featured in publications like the New York Times and in talks worldwide. Thomas consults with individuals and organizations through his business Sustainable Self. He was the founding Director of the Ecopsychology Certificate Program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School and Founding Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ecopsychology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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