Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment

Begininng Tuesday June 1 – Friday June 25th IARPP will be hosting an online seminar: Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment: A Dialogue.  Given what has transpired in the Gulf Coast, this topic couldn’t be more timely.  The seminar ($10.00 fee) is open to all IARPP members ($135.00 membership fee).  During that time period this blog will report on what transpires during this seminar.

Description: As the recent Gulf oil spill makes clear, denial, dissociation, trauma, anxiety, and depression play a role in the climate change story.  And, as the limits of technology to deal with the oil spill become more apparent (and hence the idea that science will rescue us becomes more tendentious), an international conversation about psychoanalysis and the environment is timely. The goal of this seminar is to generate a dialogue among professionals who think about how the changing environment influences the mind and how the mind is responding to the ever increasing threat. The hope of this seminar is to develop both a network and a body of thinking that can anchor and connect the many people working on this issue. The panelist faculty (Glenn Albrecht, Susan Bodnar, Thomas Doherty, R.D. Hinshelwood, Paul Hoggett, Renee Lertzman, Rosemary Randall, Andrew Samuels, Nick Totton, Sally Weintrobe) will present some of their thoughts about this topic, using an eclectic reading list as a jumping off point. The seminar participants can share their own thinking, ask questions and respond to the readings. As we think and dialogue together we hope to consolidate some form of coherence out of the ideas generated by this dialogue. Among others, we will examine how concepts like solastalgia, embodiment/disembodiment, dissociation, object relations, repression of the unconscious, and concepts borrowed from human geographers can enhance the now international dialogue about mental and emotional processes and the environment.  Panelist bios after the jump.

John Skrovan, Ithaca, New York.

Seminar Faculty:
Glenn Albrecht: Professor of Sustainability and the Acting Dean of the School of Sustainability and Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Perth Australia. He is a transdisciplinary philosopher with a focus on the intersection of ecosystem and human health. He is the author of many book chapters and academic papers on environmental and animal ethics, social ecology and the existential impacts of environmental transformation. Glenn has become internationally well known for creating the concept of ‘solastalgia’ defined as the distress and loss of solace connected to a person’s lived experience of the chronic desolation of a loved home environment by transformational agents such as mining and climate change. Solastalgia is now widely applied in academic contexts and has also inspired creativity in art, literature and music. With around 100,000 hits in a Google search, solastalgia is now well established in many languages and has generated feature articles in the New York Times Magazine, Wired and WorldChanging. In 2009, Glenn forwarded the new concept of ‘soliphilia’ defined as the love of and responsibility for a place, bioregion, planet and the unity of interrelated interests within it. To oppose solastalgia, he argued, we need a powerful new meme based on solidarity and affiliation to provide the political and cultural counterpoint to forces that are non-sustainable and destructive of the planet (home) at all scales.

Susan Bodnar: Adjunct faculty Teachers College/Columbia University, The Mitchell Relational Center, Assistant editor Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Editorial Board Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Co-Chair of IARPP seminar series, Author of “Wasted and Bombed: Clinical Enactments of a Changing Relationship to the Earth” and other scholarly publications about psychology, cultural systems and the environment, private practice, NYC.

Thomas Joseph Doherty
: clinical and environmental psychologist. In addition to his therapy and consultation practice, Dr. Doherty trains counselors at Lewis & Clark Graduate School and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Ecopsychology journal. Thomas has presented to organizations such as the Association of Oregon Recyclers, New Seasons Markets, and the Climate Master Program. His work has been featured in media such as the Oregonian, the New York Times, and the Monitor on Psychology. Thomas lives in Northeast Portland with his wife and daughter.

R.D Hinshelwood: Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is currently Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. In 1989, he wrote A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought, and in 1994 Clinical Klein. He has been interested in the relevance of psychoanalytic ideas of the unconscious to social science, political and social issues, as well as to the dynamics of psychiatric institutions, including the books Observing Organisations (2000, with Wilhelm Skogstad) Thinking about Institutions (2001), and Suffering Insanity (2004). He founded the British Journal of Psychotherapy in 1984, and Psychoanalysis and History in 1988.

Paul Hoggett
: Paul Hoggett is Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol. His research focuses on identity and conflict dynamics, climate change denial, the political vicissitudes of loss and grief, and the nature of human resilience. His books include Partisans in an Uncertain World (1992, Free Association Books), Emotional Life and the Politics of Welfare (2000, Macmillan), the Dilemmas of Development Work (2008, Policy Press) and Politics, Identity and Emotion (Paradigm Publishers, 2009). He is also a BPC registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist, a member of the Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy and Associate Member of the Lincoln.

Renee Lertzman:
currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Portland Center for Public Humanities, and the Center for Sustainable Processes & Practices at Portland State University. She holds a Ph.D. from Cardiff University, and her thesis, “The Myth of Apathy: Explorations of Psychoanalysis and Environmental Engagement” was based on fieldwork conducted in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Her current research is focusing on the “EcoDistrict” initiative in Portland, Oregon, and investigates affective and unconscious dimensions of both citizen engagement with the project and unconscious, defensive institutional group dynamics.

Rosemary Randall: psychoanalytic psychotherapist working in private practice in Cambridge, UK. She is founder and director of the charity Cambridge Carbon Footprint ( and its unique ‘Carbon Conversations’ project which takes a psychological approach to the problems of climate change and carbon reduction, using structured small groups to enable open sharing of the complex and painful emotions involved in moving to a low-carbon life. ”

Andrew Samuels D.H.L
: Professor of Analytical Psychology at Essex University,Visiting Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychoanalysis at New York University, Visiting Professor of Psychoanalytic Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and Honorary Professor of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies at Roehampton University. He is a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and Chair of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Samuels is a Founder Board Member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He works internationally as a political consultant, was co-founder of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (UK), and co-created the journal Psychotherapy and Politics International with Nick Totton.

Formerly, he was Honorary Secretary of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, a Scientific Associate of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, and 2003 winner of the Hans W. Loewald award of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education. His books have been translated into 19 languages and include Jung and the Post-Jungians (1985), The Father (1986), Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis (1986), The Plural Psyche: Personality, Morality and the Father (1989), Psychopathology (1989), The Political Psyche (1993), and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis Gradiva prize-winning Politics on the Couch:
Citizenship and the Internal Life (2001).

Nick Totton: Nick Totton: Editor, Psychotherapy and Politics International, body psychotherapist, trainer and workshop leader since 1981. Author or editor of 11 books including Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction; Psychotherapy and Politics; and Character and Personality Types (with Michael Jacobs). Nick has completed
an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies; attended a number of seminars in Process
Oriented Psychology; trained as a craniosacral therapist; and developed his own integrative approach to psychotherapy, Embodied-Relational Therapy, which he now teaches and practices. He has an extensive website at

Sally Weintrobe
: Works full time as a psychoanalyst, is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society (the Institute of Psychoanalysis) and Chairs both its Scientific Committee and its Environmental Working Party.    She was formerly a Member of Senior Teaching Staff at the Tavistock Clinic, Hon. Senior Lecturer in the Psychoanalysis Unit at University College London and Consultant at the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis.

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4 Responses to “Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment”

  1. Psychology and Environment: Summary « Ordinary Earth ™ Says:

    […] in an on-line seminar about psychology and the environment. The seminar ended (see previous posts here, here, and here) with many questions.  Do psychologists have any special contributions that can […]

  2. Dr. P. M. Borkar Says:

    This is amazing to know about the environmental Psychotherapy.
    Its nice to work for the societal Mental health environmentalPsychotherapy.

  3. What’s Happening in Your Environment? « Ordinary Earth ™ Says:

    […] June I ran an international webseminar on psychology and the environment. During the first week, people sent in their observations of what […]

  4. Portland Therapists Says:

    Portland Therapists…

    […]Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment « Ordinary Earth ™[…]…

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