Ariella Cook-Shonkoff is a psychotherapist, art therapist, and freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a steering committee member of Climate Psychology Alliance North America.
During a recent dinner party, the hosts intercepted a colleague of mine at the door. “Please,” they begged, “whatever you do, do not talk about climate tonight.”
My colleague is on the East Coast and I’m on the West, but climate avoidance is happening everywhere. While attending my daughter’s preschool orientation last month, one student’s parents told me, “We keep reserving campsites each year and do our best to pretend like wildfires aren’t going to be a problem.”
As a mental health professional in Berkeley, California, I’m keenly aware of how almost everyone — clients, neighbors, and friends — prefers to not discuss the fires ravaging much of the West. For that matter, when I posted a call-to-action in April for colleagues on my local list-serve, citing urgency in developing our professional tools to meet the climate emergency, only one therapist out of several hundred resp... Read more