To support eco- and climate therapy, we revision basic competencies associated with all therapy approaches: Multicultural competency, assessment, rapport building, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment strategies, and outcomes assessment. We identify functional approaches to supporting emotions, thoughts, actions, and relationships — in a climate changed world. We also explore in-depth issues of self, values, identity and meaning-making, and psychodynamic and spiritual concerns. Dr. Thomas Doherty is also a specialist in eco- and nature-based therapies and can provide specialized training not included in typical training programs.
One of the unique aspects of Dr. Thomas Doherty’s consultation approach is the use of environmental and conservation psychology findings and concepts. This includes the process of Environmental Identity, one’s self-concept and sense of relationship with nature and the nature world, including other species, settings, and places. Environmental Identity intersects with a person’s gender, ethic, racial, sexual, socio-economic and other identities. And, like other forms of identity, “EI” tends to be implicit unless one’s consciousness is raised about it and is given tools and language to explore it. Environmental Identity provides a base on which to build eco- and climate therapy activities and to develop the practitioner’s own identity and style.
Dr. Doherty is well versed in environmental and conservation psychology research and practice and can advise on behavioral and communication programs associated with environmental action. Specific environmental behaviors or activism are not required of his consultees. The work does provide a space to reflect on what authentic, effective and sustainable action looks like for each practitioner. A general goal is to clarify and strengthen advocacy skills and move into the most effective directions for each practitioner, using an “effective altruism” perspective. This may include private sphere behaviors, integrating an advocacy or justice approach into therapeutic work, and supporting environmental organizations, businesses, government or non-profit groups,
Critical Questions of Wellbeing and Social Justice:
- How can mental health providers confront the challenges of mental health and thriving in a commodified, technologically immersive and climate-changed world?
- How are these health threats magnified for marginalized and less privileged groups providers may serve?
- In the context of daily stressors, assaults on one’s environmental values, and chronic reminders of the unsustainable and ecologically harmful systems in which people are embedded, how can mental health professionals imagine optimal health and development, flourishing, and resilience?
- How does a climate-aware person find peace or satisfaction as a “climate hostage?”