Cambridge Climate Therapists offers support to groups and individuals engaged in climate action and has been meeting as a group since July 2019. We are a small group of volunteers with limited resources working in the Cambridge and East Anglia region.

Our aims and values

Our aims:

  • to bring psychological insight to people’s understanding of the climate crisis and help people ‘stay with the trouble’
  • to offer psychological support to some of the many groups and organisations in the community who are  working to limit the impacts of climate destruction
  • to explore ways of helping wider and more diverse groups in the community to share their feelings and concerns about the climate crisis.

Our values

We are committed to ecological and social justice. In the personal, emotionally focused work we do this manifests in the importance we place on

  • listening, respecting and building trust with those we work with
  • nurturing slow, reflective, fertile spaces where people’s creativity can emerge
  • challenging our own unconscious attitudes and assumptions about class, race, gender, ability and age.

Our activities

Our most recent projects include:

Climate Listening Bench – offers people an informal opportunity to sit down and talk to our climate listeners. Contact us if you would like us to bring the Listening Bench to an event you are holding. From time to time we also set the Listening Bench up in venues around the city, most often in New Square. Dates appear on the Home Page and on the Events Page.

What now, what next?’ – a group for people who wish to meet with others to explore and reflect on their personal experience and feelings about the climate and biodiversity crises. Details of the next group will appear on the Home Page and on the Events Page.

‘Living with the Climate Crisis’ groups.  – These groups are an update of the old Carbon Conversations groups and materials for them (a website, Facilitators’ Guide and Group Members’ Handbook) are being developed in conjunction with the Climate Psychology Alliance. The group is facilitated series of meetings for people trying to find their way from climate distress to effective action. The series of seven meetings is more structured than the ‘What now, what next?’ group and explores how to cope with the difficult feelings, find strength in collectivity, communicate well both with those close to you and with the public, and find a place in whatever forms of action – personal, community, workplace, political – feel right for you. Dates will appear on the Home Page and on the Events Page.

Since July 2019 we have offered also a variety of workshops, groups and webinars, mainly to our local community but also to organisations outside – NHS Digital, the Centre for Alternative Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education and Kings College, London. In our local community we have offered workshops through Transition and XR for community activists on:

  • Coping with climate distress
  • Talking with family and friends about climate change;
  • Finding your voice – how to engage others with the climate crisis.

We have also held debrief sessions for activists who have been involved in direct action and activists who have been imprisoned.

If you’d like us to bring a workshop on these or any other climate related themes to your organisation please contact us on https://cambridgeclimatetherapists.org

Our members

We are a group of seven qualified and experienced therapists – Anne Murray, Daniela Fernandez-Catherall, Isobel Urquhart, Jacqui Davis, Ro Randall, Simon Lacey and Sue Lewis. We have backgrounds in individual psychotherapy, group therapy, community psychology, clinical psychology, art therapy, child therapy and eco-therapy.

Anne Murray has worked as a teacher and an educational psychotherapist for almost 30 years and is currently undertaking a qualification as an adult psychotherapist. Her core concern is being able to hold the confusion and conflicting feelings that come with people’s awakenings to the climate crisis.

Dr Daniela Fernandez-Catherall is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist (BPS) She is originally from Brazil where she studied psychology, trained as a clinical psychologist, practiced psychoanalytic psychotherapy and participated in multidisciplinary projects supporting the incubation of popular cooperatives. Living and working in the UK for almost 20 years, her practice re-focused on adult mental health services within the NHS, where she offers Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Family Interventions. In 2018 she became very concerned with the climate crisis and since then has been exploring with CCT how collective narrative and community psychology can support people through this emergency.

Isobel Urquhart. I am a psychotherapist and a lifelong Socialist. The emancipatory potential of progressive ideas was central to both my early work as a classroom teacher in predominantly working class areas and my later work as a teacher-trainer in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge. Training as a psychotherapist opened up another potentially emancipatory space to me and I see this group as a base from which we can offer different ways of engaging with climate activism within a shared therapeutic commitment to dialogue and reflection.

Jacqui Davis is a group therapist. She was a social worker for several years before moving into Education, supporting disaffected school pupils. It was at this point she realised the power and enjoyment of groups of learners and embarked on training in group therapy. She then became a senior training organiser with the County Council and currently works freelance as a supervisor and training organiser. Her involvement in environmental issues dates back to the 1980s when she ran a wholefood shop with a friend.  She deems the venture a success, (not financially as you have to sell a lot of lentils) but her daughters embraced the venture and are committed environmentalists.

Ro Randall is a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist who has been involved in the climate movement since 2005. She has run numerous workshops and written and spoken widely on the psychological dynamics of people’s responses to climate change. She blogs at www.rorandall.org. She is co-founder of the Carbon Conversations project and a founder member of the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Simon Lacey. I am a gardener, psychotherapist, group facilitator and eco therapist. I work privately, for the NHS and for local charities. I live and work on our family run organic farm on the edge of the Fens. Through my practice, I am interested in the relationship between people and land, the impacts of climate breakdown on our capacity to be in the world, and the healing potential of nature from the physical to the metaphorical.

Sue Lewis. I am an artist and an art psychotherapist. I’ve worked with children and young people for nearly 30 years in community settings, palliative care, special education, the NHS (CAMHS) and primary education. I now work as a supervisor and private practitioner. I have a long-term interest in ecopsychology and more recently ecopsychotherapy. At the beginning of 2019 I was greatly moved by children I met who were involved in the school climate strikes and I became more deeply aware of the emotional and psychological challenges we can experience when engaging with the climate and ecological crisis. I’m interested in bringing my art and therapy skills to imaginative and collaborative projects supporting both adults and children. I am currently involved in listening projects and nature-focused play in schools.