JUNGIAN psychotherapist Jan Rodda treats people getting stressed and anxious about climate change.
“To help us turn our fears, anger or blame around climate disruption and world turmoil into a force for change,” she says.
Scientists are predicting disaster, unless carbon pollution is reigned in, but there’s a business-as-usual capitalist approach that leaves many feeling hopeless, the East Fremantle therapist says.
The term “climate grief” has been coined for people deeply worried about the increase in natural disasters, something the scientific community is taking seriously.
Reports of weather extremes—whether the hottest, coldest, wettest or driest year on record—and subsequent natural disasters, can cause intense negative emotions in people, along with fear and grief, the American Psychological Association reports.
“Anxiety, depression and unhealthy behaviour are also common responses.”
A 2015 report for the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine states that “increasing ambient temperatures” are likely to increase rates of aggression and violent suicides.
“Increased frequency of disasters with climate change can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder and depression,” writes professor Susanta Kumar Padhy.
Many people are actively engaged with the issue, but for others: “Ignoring climate change only turns in on us. We either hide our heads in the sand, or distract or numb ourselves. There is a dead zone inside us,” Rodda says.
In a recent talk at the Jung Society, she described the impact the subconscious fear of climate change can have on the psyche.
“The disguised distress can erupt in our everyday living and health.”
Rodda has developed techniques to help people turn those negative feelings into a positive force for change.
“It’s about facing our feelings…and talking about them in a safe environment,” she says.
“It’s not about optimism or pessimism, it’s grounded hope, or active skepticism,”
Rodda is holding a series of workshops, There is Another World and It is This One, to help people manage their climate-change stress.
The workshops start in March.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0431 740 339.
by JENNY D’ANGER