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Exploring the Ecological Self in a time of Environmental Crisis with Andrew Bryant, MPH, LICSW

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Exploring the Ecological Self in a time of Environmental Crisis with Andrew Bryant, MPH, LICSW

Saturday, November 13, 2021 9:30am to 12:00pm
Saturday, November 20, 2021 9:30am to 12:00pm
via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This class has been cancelled. 

The Ecological Self has been defined as “our unfolding human experience in relation to the non-human world” (Spitzform, 2000). In this seminar we will use this concept to explore how we (as individuals, and as a society) relate to our environment, and how our environment impacts our sense of self. We will discuss these themes within the context of environmental crisis, and will explore how we, as mental health clinicians, can help our clients process environmental loss and change; and perhaps move towards a more mature, less divided, more satisfying, and less destructive relationship with our planet.

In 1927, Sigmund Freud wrote that: The principle task of civilization… is to defend us against nature...  But no one is under the illusion that nature has already been vanquished; and few dare hope that she will ever be entirely subdued to man. (Freud, 1927)  Freud, in these words, was expressing the dominant worldview of Western culture, inextricably bound up in patriarchy and white supremacy, which places humans not just outside of, but in conflict with “nature”. This worldview has had immense planetary implications. On a societal level, it has led to an economic, social, and political system that is disrupting the planetary ecosystem on which we depend through climate crisis and ecological devastation.

The aim of this seminar is to integrate an understanding of the “ecological self” into our psychoanalytic perspective; and to explore how this perspective can be applied in clinical practice so that we can more clearly understand and support our clients (and ourselves as clinicians) in the face of ecological crisis.

We will start by exploring the writing of those psychoanalytic writers who have delved into the topic of the ecological self (e.g., Searles, Spitzform, Rust). We will incorporate the contributions of ecopsychology, feminist theory, postcolonial psychology, and transpersonal psychology, and will explore how the worldviews of indigenous societies contrast with those of the dominant Western model, and how they can help us rethink our relationship with the ecosystem we are a part of. Discussion will also incorporate research into the renascent field of psychedelic psychotherapy, and will explore how entheogenic experience can illuminate our understanding of expanded states of self and experiences of union with nature.

The format of this training will be experiential and interactive, using a mix presentation, breakout room exercises, and discussion. Participants will be invited to explore their own responses to the concept of an “ecological self”; experiences of connection with nature, as well as experiences of separation and alienation; and the application of these themes in clinical practice.

About the Instructor

Andrew Bryant, MPH, LICSW, is a Clinical Social Worker, psychotherapist, and co-Director of North Seattle Therapy & Counseling (, where he specializes in working with clients around climate-related anxiety and depression. He is also the founder of Climate & Mind ( a project dedicated to gathering and promoting resources related to climate psychology for clinicians, the media, and the public. As part of this project, he has provided lectures, seminars, and study groups on climate mental health through the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work and the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study; and has been interviewed and featured in a range of media stories about climate psychology, including Time Magazine, KOMO News, Yale Climate Connections,, The Walrus, and other news sources. Andrew is a member and organizer of the Alliance of Climate Therapists-Northwest (ACT-NOW), and a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will be able to describe the meaning of the term “Ecological Self” and how it can be applied in clinical practice.
  2. Participants will be able to describe how a concept of the “Ecological Self” can be used to address feelings and reactions relating to climate change and ecological crisis.

Fees: $150 Members / $180 Non-Members

Class Size: Class is limited to a maximum of 25 participants.

    Refund Policy: Refunds less a $10 handling fee will be given up until one week before the class.

    The instructor will send participants the Zoom link before the seminar.

This presentation has been approved for a total of 5.00 CE’s for licensed mental health counselors and associates, marriage and family therapists and social workers by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work. 

Contact Person: 
Andrew Bryant
Contact Email:
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