Ecopsychoanalysis and Climate Psychology

Authored by: Joseph Dodds

The Routledge International Handbook of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Print publication date:  November  2022
Online publication date:  November  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367276454
eBook ISBN: 9780429297076
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter traces the development of ecopsychoanalysis, a new transdisciplinary approach to thinking about the relationship between psychoanalysis, ecology, nature and the problem of climate change. It draws on a range of fields including, psychoanalysis, psychology, ecology, philosophy, science, complexity theory, aesthetics and the humanities, with far-reaching implications for psychoanalysis – clinical, theoretical and applied. Psychoanalysis has long explored the connection between psyche and world, starting with Freud’s ‘animal’-infused case studies and his writings on nature and civilisation, but in general psychoanalysis remains largely a psychology without ecology, with little interest in our relation to the nonhuman world, with important exceptions such as Winnicott’s transitional object, and Searles writings on the nonhuman environment. With the new millennium, the climate crisis brought a sense of urgency with a cluster of important books and articles applying psychoanalytic approaches to ecology, and the formation of the Climate Psychology Alliance, which attempts to create a community of psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and psychologists working on issues of ecology and climate change. Along with the psychoanalytic origins for contemporary ecopsychoanalysis, other important sources include influences such as Batson’s ecology of mind, the nonlinear sciences of complexity and chaos, Deleuze and Guattari’s geophilosophy, the development of ecopsychology, philosophical approaches to nature from deep ecology to post-nature and the new materialisms, and as well as ecology itself.

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