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Working with the Environment and Climate Crisis as therapists

by Tim Sumner
Published on 21 December 2020

Results of the PCA Environment & Climate Crisis Working Group survey

Over the summer months, the Environment & Climate Crisis Working Group conducted a survey within the PCA to gauge counsellor knowledge and interest on the current climate crisis and how that impacts on them both personally and professionally in their work with clients. We thank all those who participated in the survey and we gained some valuable insights into what the membership feels is important. The Survey was in three parts, each focusing on different areas, the first section asked about the participants personal experience, the second section asked about how this was affecting their work professionally, the final section asked about the issue of activism.

Personal Response

We found that there is overwhelming concern amongst respondents about the climate crisis, with 80% reporting they were ‘very concerned’ and the remaining participants being at least “a little bit concerned”. We found that most respondents have taken on the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ mantra, trying to increase their green transport use, reducing waste, using reusable containers and recycling where possible.

Professional Implications

There was an even split between counsellors who had worked with concerns about the climate crisis and those who hadn’t. We believe this shows that though not everyone is currently being impacted by the climate crisis, there is enough concern amongst clients that they are bringing it to the therapy room, the most significant of these were the personal impacts experienced directly by clients.

The Question of Activism

We had a 100% “yes” response to the question “Do you think it is appropriate for therapists to be involved in climate activism?” which tells us that counsellors want to get involved!

We’ve taken this on board and are considering ways in which our Working Group can encourage this amongst the membership, including, training, pamphlets and encounter groups. Finally, we had some really insightful and useful feedback in the additional comments section, which gave us some food for thought on where we should focus our energy next.

Next Steps

We hope to be announcing our next course of action in the coming weeks and months so if you’d like to get involved in what we do, please get in touch with the organisation and they can direct you to our group. We meet online once a month for an hour so the commitment is low and if you feel moved to advocate for change, we are open to new members. We look forward to hearing from you!

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