Update from the Climate Change SIG

Using our collective power

The Climate Minds Coalition 

The SIG has been busy linking in with an emerging coalition of mental health organisations representing practitioners, called The Climate Minds Coalition. The purpose of this coalition is to amplify our united professional voice towards UK policymakers, parliamentarians, the media and the public on the climate emergency and mental health. We are currently collectively finalising the coalition’s consensus statement with view to members of the coalition taking this statement to the board our respective professional organisations asking them to sign up to it. 

This will then enable a more collective voice to emerge from within the mental health professional communities to name the climate emergency and to focus on preparing ourselves as practitioners, and to also communicate more authentically about the mental health impact of climate change. 

The Climate Minds Coalition is also working towards an official launch, so watch this space. 

Sustainability and a green plan for EMDR UK 

The EMDR UK Association has asked the SIG to be involved in developing a green plan to help it move further towards net zero and become more sustainable. The SIG Committee is discussing and working on input with particular focus on ways to further centralise the awareness of the climate emergency within all aspects of the Association’s work and offerings. We strongly believe that a green plan should not only focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but to look more deeply at how we communicate about climate change and biodiversity loss within our psychological profession, and within the organisation, and what responsibility we as health professionals hold and therefore the Association holds. 

How EMDR UK reduces its carbon footprint 
The Association has no physical premises 
Encourages low carbon travel options 
Fossil fuel divested banking
Plants trees through Ecologi scheme 
Avoids use of non-recyclable cups, plates and cutlery at conferences 
Sources vegetarian, non-processed food for events 
Provides hybrid online training and events 
Supports Climate Change SIG 
Reduced the use of printed materials at conferences 

Increasing our awareness as therapists 

Climate cafés 

We organised a successful first climate café, fully attended, and facilitated by Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) members in September. Climate cafés are not actually cafés nor group therapy, but rather safe sharing and listening spaces with therapeutic holding. It is not a space to talk about what to do or how to work with clients, but rather a space for us to explore our own feelings linked to the unfolding climate emergency and related intersectional issues. This was an attempt to introduce a processing space for therapists within the SIG membership to support our development and express our own feelings around climate change, so that we can perhaps be better placed to support our clients down the road. 

We are now in the process of setting up a format for online climate cafés to be run on a regular basis, available to anyone within the Association. We would like to rotate the facilitation of the café to give people opportunities to gain confidence and skills to run their own climate cafés in their respective communities. The date for the start of this more regular climate café offer will be advertised in due course. 

Working with clients 

For our November 13th SIG meeting ‘Working with clients and climate distress’, we have invited Australian EMDR therapist Mishma Kumar-Jonson to speak to us about their work with clients experiencing eco-trauma and climate distress. They will be presenting for the first half hour and then we would like to open the space for questions and sharing about EMDR and working with climate related disturbance. 

If you would like to get more involved in any of the above three strands or if you would like to present client work at future meetings, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you. 

Martina Leeven