Thomas Doherty, Psy.D. is a clinical and environmental psychologist based in Portland, Oregon, USA with multiple publications on nature-based therapies, the restorative effects of outdoor experiences, and the mental health impacts of climate change. His groundbreaking paper “The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change” co-authored with Susan Clayton, has been cited over 600 times. Dr. Doherty is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Past President of the Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology, a past member of the APA Task force on Global Climate Change and the Founding Editor of the journal Ecopsychology. He also founded and directed the Ecopsychology Certificate program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School, where he educated mental health counselors and therapists in outdoor and nature-based therapies. Dr. Doherty is unique in that he combines experiences providing outdoor therapy, practicing as a licensed clinical psychologist, and being a social science scholar and researcher. Dr. Doherty has directed and run his own therapy and counseling practice, Sustainable Self, since 2004.
“Early in my career, I realized that issues regarding the natural environment were important for mental health and therapy disciplines, and I have held space for this for many years, as the general public and the professions have caught up.
In my consultation work, I draw on a wealth of my unique personal experiences, from my working-class upbringing in Western New York, to my classics focused education at Columbia University, and my early career work as a professional fisherman in Alaska, a river guide in the Grand Canyon, and youth leader on a therapeutic wagon train travelling the American West with inner city teens. I integrate my doctoral training in mindfulness meditation and behavioral medicine at the UMass medical School, and dissertation research on treating anxiety and depression in cardiac rehabilitation patients. I also reflect on my formative research experiences with noted environmental psychology scholars on the American Psychological Association’s first Climate Change Task Force and with the founding of the Ecopsychology journal.”— Thomas Doherty, Psy.D.
Harper, N. & Doherty T. J. (2020) An Introduction to Outdoor Therapies in N. J. Harper & W. W. Dobud (Eds.). Outdoor Therapies: An Introduction to Practices, Possibilities, and Critical Perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Doherty, T. J. (2016). Theoretical and Empirical Foundations for Ecotherapy. In M. Jordan & J. Hinds (Eds.). Ecotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice. London: Palgrave
Doherty, T. J. & Chen, A. (2016). Improving Human Functioning: Ecotherapy and Environmental Health Approaches. In R. Gifford (Ed.). Research Methods in Environmental Psychology. John Wiley & Sons.
Doherty, T. J. & Clayton, S. (2011). The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change. American Psychologist, 66, 265–276
Writings for the General Public
- Climate Change and Grief – A Dual Process Approach
- Nature-based Stress Reduction
- Have You Packed Your 10 Essentials for Mental Well-being?
- Why You Love the Earth
Articles, Webinars and Podcasts
Continuing education article quoting Dr. Thomas Doherty: Addressing climate change concerns in practice, Monitor on Psychology March 1, 2021
Articles, Webinars and Podcasts
American Psychological Association Speaking of Psychology Podcast (April 22, 2021): How to cope with climate anxiety, with Thomas Doherty, PsyD, and Ashlee Cunsolo, PhD
Webinar “Nature, Climate Change and Mental Health” American Psychological Association Psychologist’s Toolbox, October 15, 2020
Webinar: Moving Forward, Staying Grounded: A Mental Health Toolbox for Climate-Concerned Parents & Activists — Families for a Livable Climate 10/29/20
Coach’s Circle Podcast: How Dr. Thomas Doherty weaves a focus on nature and climate change into therapy and coaching