Centre for Social Work Practice

Caroline Hickman-Psychological barriers to climate change

Published March 23, 2016


This talk looks at some of the psychological barriers to taking action on climate change and argues that whilst we need to develop and implement practical and technical solutions, they will not be enough on their own. If we are going to find sustainable solutions then we have to find a way to face the paradox that it is only through facing our vulnerability, painful truths, collective denial, grief and loss that we will be able to develop the emotionally informed and sustainable action that we need to take to save ourselves as well as the planet. These inner ‘untrodden paths’ through our defences and complex feelings about climate change might just hold some of the answers we need, and counter intuitively show us the way.

Caroline has a background in social work and psychotherapy, currently working at the University of Bath as a Teaching Fellow in Social Work in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences. She has worked in social work since 1983 and as an Integrative Psychosynthesis Psychotherapist with children, couples and adults for 20 years. She qualified as a psychotherapist with Revision and studied archetypal & cultural psychology for three years with Thiasos in London. She is a PhD candidate in Education at the University of Bath researching children’s relationships with nature and climate change, use of therapy dogs working with people with Alzheimer’s’, and issues of identity affecting refugee and asylum seeking children.

Her Psychotherapy dissertation explored grief and depression and our relationship with the sea and salt water, both real and imaginal. She is also a PADI diving instructor and has spent many therapeutic hours hanging out with fish working underwater in the Sinai, Egypt.

Watch the talk

Watch the talk on YouTube

Leave a comment

Become an important part of our vibrant community: Join us