Climate Psychology: A Matter of Life and Death (Phoenix Publishing House, 2022) offers ways to work with the unthinkable and emotionally unendurable current predicament of humanity. The style and writing interweave passion and reflection, animation and containment, radical hope, and tragedy to reflect the dilemmas of our collective crisis. The authors model a relational approach in their styles of writing and in the book's structure. Four chapters, each with a strikingly original voice and insight, form the core of the book, held either end by two jointly written chapters. In contrast to a psychology that focuses on individual behavior change, the authors use a transdisciplinary mix of approaches (depth psychology and psychotherapy, earth systems, deep ecology, cultural sociology, critical history, group and institutional outreach) to bring into focus the predicament of this period. While the last decade required a focus on climate denial in all its manifestations (which continues in new ways), a turning point has now been reached. Increasingly extreme weather across the world is making it impossible for simple avoidance of the climate threat.
Wendy Hollway, Paul Hoggett, Chris Robertson, and Sally Weintrobe address how climate psychology illuminates and engages the life and death challenges that face terrestrial life. This book will appeal to three core groups. First, mental health and social care professionals wanting support in containing and potentially transforming the malaise. Second, activists wanting to participate in new stories and practices that nurture their engagement with the present social and cultural crisis. Third, those concerned about the climate emergency, wanting to understand the deeper context for this dangerous blindness.
Karyne Messina is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and am on the medical staff of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. She is the author of Resurgence of Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy (Routledge, 2022).
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