Becoming ‘mental health-related climate-literate professionals’ : counsellors’ meaning-making in relation to (therapeutic experiences of) client distress about climate change and chemtrails. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsScott, Malcolmshow all
This qualitative study examines the concept of counsellors’ being (or becoming) a ‘mental health- related climate-literate professional’ by exploring counsellors’ notions of this concept through their encounters and experiences of clients concerned or distressed about climate change and chemtrails. Prompted by Cornforth’s (2008) question (Do Counsellors Have a Part to Play in Averting a Potential Catastrophe?) this research has gathered the views, perceptions and experiences of a small selection of practicing counsellors. The purpose of the research has not been to substantiate or validate any particular theory about the existence of climate change or chemtrails (there are many protagonists and deniers of each of these), but rather to gather and document narrative accounts of counsellors’ ‘lived experiences’ from their interactions with clients concerned about these phenomena. A process of re-storying and a dialogic narrative analysis methodology is utilised with an emphasis on reflexive meaning-making in order to present a range of perspectives on the meaning of being (or becoming) a mental health-related climate-literate counsellor.
All of the participants conveyed concerns about chemtrails, and about the impact of climate change on the environment and people’s mental health. The natural environment and a relationship with nature for therapeutic benefit featured prominently within each participant’s meaning-making about being (or becoming) a climate-literate counsellor. All participants expressed agreement that counsellors should have some level of climate-literacy, and an appreciation of how nature and the natural environment can assist clients therapeutically. Other findings referenced by this report include: Eco- therapy; the ‘life-force’ of nature; taking a pluralistic approach to engaging with conspiracy narratives in a counselling context; and the ethical obligation for counselling professional organisations to include climate-literacy in counsellor training and accreditation programmes.