Glasgow Therapists’ Conference Wakes Up to Climate Change

Beginning seriously to speak in public about my own firm conclusion that climate change catastrophe is now inevitable, and relatively soon (10 years? 15? Certainly no more than 25), is a bit like Coming Out.

But at an inspiring conference of politically-engaged psychotherapists in Glasgow this week, speaking that truth as I see it was both less scarey than I feared, and appeared to be not without impact.

Which was profoundly encouraging and gratifying – especially the engagement of over a dozen fellow therapists in the first public workshop I’ve led on the science and emotions of climate change and peak oil, looking in particular at how our evolutionary trauma mechanisms are, as yet, preventing us as a species from taking the threat seriously or from doing something about it.

I’ve devised an experimental Climate Change Attitudes Questionnaire (CCAQ) to uncover what people really think about the changes of our current civilisation, the planet’s current flora and fauna and our current human numbers surviving the coming cataclysm in anything like recognisable form.

I’ll be interested in any comments from this blog’s vast (not) readership, but from the 14 responses I got at today’s seminar, at the wonderfully crumbling Pearce Institute in Glasgow’s former and now very forlorn shipbuilding quarter of Govan, we registered an average score of 47 out of 70, meaning in my interpretation that many more ordinary folk (OK, therapists on this occasion), know more and are more alarmed about climate change than the public discourse would suggest.

Scores ranged from two highs of 60 down to one of 31 – do the questionnaire yourself, and you’ll see what it’s intended to unearth.

The scores certainly confirm for me that there is a kind of collective unconscious beginning to stir that will soon see massively larger numbers of people around the world truly waking up to what now faces us – and by the end of the two days of meetings and workshops, our commitment in a final discussion-in-circle was to draw up a shared statement not on psychotherapy and politics in a narrow sense, but specifically on climate change.

And while I’m at it, I’ve just updated our Braynework website to include a new page on climate change, with resources and documents and further links that don’t disappear, as those on this blog do with every new post, further and further down the page…

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