To support eco- and climate therapy, we revision the basic competencies associated with all therapy approaches: Multicultural awareness, assessment, rapport building, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment strategies, and outcomes. We support healthy emotions, thoughts, actions, and relationships — in a climate changed world. We also explore in-depth issues of self, values, identity, meaning, and spiritual concerns. Dr. Thomas Doherty is also a specialist in outdoor and nature-based therapies and provides specialized training not included in typical training programs.
One of the unique aspects of Dr. Thomas Doherty’s 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, including other species, settings, and places. Environmental Identity intersects with a person’s gender, ethic, racial, sexual, socio-economic and other identities. Like other forms of identity, “EI” tends to be dormant 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 can advise on behavioral and communication programs associated with environmental action. Specific environmental behaviors or activism is not required. The work does provide a space to reflect on what authentic and effective action looks like for each practitioner. A general goal is to strengthen advocacy skills and move into the most effective directions for each practitioner, using an “effective altruism” perspective. This may include private behaviors, integrating an advocacy or justice approach into therapeutic work, and supporting environmental organizations, businesses, government or non-profit groups.