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Climate Change and Psyche: Conversations with and through Dreams

Posted by Sally Gillespie on Mar 31, 2016

In the last few years, awareness of anthropogenic global warming has become widespread as its effects are felt across the globe and warnings from scientists have become increasingly urgent. Psychological research into human reactions to reports of climate change has predominantly focused on mechanisms of denial, and cognitive strategies for effecting changes in behaviour. This paper presents research inquiring into the psychological realities of those who are actively engaged with climate change issues, asking questions about how such people can be supported, and what can be learnt from understanding their psychological processes. Utilising a depth psychological approach, a co-operative research group of activists, researchers, policy makers and social communicators met in Sydney, Australia to share their daily experiences and concerns, and nightly dreams, articulating frustrations, griefs, hopes and fears in relation to global warming. The shared dreams acted as a provocative voice within the research, facilitating in-depth discussions of topics and perspectives that might otherwise have been avoided or repressed.

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