“Sharing Common Ground: Sustainable Practices in a Warming World”

I recently presented at the NZAC/ACA (the professional bodies for Australian and New Zealand counsellors) combined conference in Auckland.  It was a very enjoyable experience -even though I was a little nervous to begin with, as I’d never presented on my own before. However, I felt well prepared, having run through it with a ”guinea pig group” two weeks earlier – a group of 8 generous colleague-friends who kindly responded to my request for help! (Thanks again to you all).The title of my 90 minute interactive workshop was “Sharing Common Ground;  Sustainable Practices in a Warming World”.

At the conference workshop, a wonderful group of 18 counsellors looked at how we might consider environmental issues for ourselves as people/practitioners, as we work with others and also from within and beyond our counselling rooms. Not how we might use different dishwashing liquid or recycled paper in our practices (although those choices are important), but specifically how we might deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed with the environmental crisis we are currently facing in the world today. Often the crisis seems so big, that it seems we cannot do anything to make a difference.

A well known ecotherapist, Theodore Roszak (2009) writes:

“I discovered that, far from being underinformed, people are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the environmental crisis. Global warming, melting glaciers, burning rainforest, evaporating ozone, vanishing water supplies, acid rain – no previous society in history has faced such a schedule of impending disasters. The situation seems so far gone that many assume there is nothing they can do.”

The focus of the workshop was specifically on how we might we work with ourselves and with our clients to create sustainability on internal levels, so that each of us individually (but interconnectedly) could create a model of sustainability within our own ‘personalised earth particles’; namely our bodies and our relational experiences. From a strengths based/ empowerment model approach we looked at working with ourselves (including our feelings) regarding the environmental impacts we are facing and how we can respond both internally (self support) and in-relation-to (environmental support).  And then we looked at how we might take that into working with others.

It was enjoyable to be up the front of the room and watch people’s faces start to light up and shine as they connected with their inner knowledge and feelings of joy about the earth, and the experiences they have had. I received some wonderfully positive feedback which was very encouraging.

I realised that 90 minutes is the bare minimum of time required for this workshop, so I am keen to offer this experience as a half or full day workshop.

Please feel free to contact me via the email link on this website, if you are interested in participating (and/or hosting) a practitioners workshop in your area.

Enjoy your days and nights.

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