• Holding the Hope: Reviving psychological and spiritual agency in the face of climate change

Holding the Hope: Reviving psychological and spiritual agency in the face of climate change

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ISBN 9781915220271
Cover Price: £23.99
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Join us for the Holding the Hope: Psychological and Spiritual Agency in a time of Climate Crisis Conference and Workshops on 8th March at 9am with Onlinevents - more info and tickets here

Catastrophic climate change and the growing reality of the destruction of Earth’s ecosystem and species extinction hang over us all. These topics are increasingly coming up in the work of all talking therapy professionals – counsellors, psychotherapists, coaches and psychologists. They must be able to hold their clients’ and communities’ emotions and responses – fear, anger, denial, grief, helplessness and hopelessness – and manage their own.
The chapters in this thought-provoking, honest, moving and sobering book explore the frameworks, theoretical constructs and ways of working talking therapists have devised to hold hope and build agency in the face of this immensity of complexity, uncertainty and injustice. Contributors from a range of cultural backgrounds and professional disciplines discuss our inter-relationships with the natural world, indigenous practices and understandings, how to face the reality with our children and young people, how to go on practising at the edge of despair, and much more.

Politics has been seen as something done to us, but many of the authors in this book stress that health and healing can come from getting together with others to make politics what you do. Hope flowers in an act of guerrilla gardening, in the supporting of a vulnerable community member. It is not wishful thinking but mindful acting.’

Natalie Bennett, Green Party peer, former Green Party leader, and author of Change Everything: How we can rethink, repair and rebuild society

Foreword by Sally Weintrobe



1. What your biology teacher didn’t teach you: Reclaiming a Western indigenous relationship with nature for a post-mechanistic world – Roger Duncan

2. What does it mean to be well in unwell times? – Bayo Akomolafe

3. Towards a sacred framework – Niki Harré

4. How green is your mind? – Robin Shohet


5. Radical hope: A dimension of the rooted soul – Hetty Einzig

6. Rewilding hope – Nick Totton

7. Coming home to a post-human body: Finding hopefulness in those who care – Caroline Frizell

8. Holding hope, letting go – Emma Palmer


9. Building change-making capacity: Active Hope Training  – Chris Johnstone

10. Imaginative engagement with the climate crisis: The role of climate and ecology fiction – Maggie Turp

11. Breaking the silence: An integrative psychotherapy model for working with eco-anxiety – Pedro Oliveira

12. Deep adaptation coaching in a time of planetary meta-crisis – Matthew Painton

13. Cultivating kinship through therapy – Yasmin Kapadia

14. Solution-focused practice at the edge of despair: Nursing a planet in hospice – Fred Ehresmann


15. Feeling okay with not feeling okay: Helping children and young people make meaning from their experience of climate emergency – Caroline Hickman

16. Changing the world in one generation: Raising children to grow resilience amid climate and social collapse – Jo McAndrews

17. Climate crisis as emotion crisis: Emotion validation coaching for parents of the world – Andy Miller

‘Politics has been seen as something done to us, but many of the authors in this book stress that health and healing can come from getting together with others to make politics what you do. Hope flowers in an act of guerrilla gardening, in the supporting of a vulnerable community member. It is not wishful thinking but mindful acting.' 
Natalie Bennett, Green Party peer, former Green Party leader, and author of Change Everything: How we can rethink, repair and rebuild society
'Holding the Hope charts the way to fertile ground through the wild lands of climate shock, overwhelm, paralysis and despair. These essays, written by trailblazers in climate psychology and related domains of existential coaching, psychotherapy and philosophy, will validate, strengthen and inspire those looking to help others on this path. A gritty gift for these times.’ 
Britt Wray, PhD, author of Generation Dread and Planetary Health Fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine 

‘Climate change is a crisis confronting us all, clients and therapists alike. This innovative and important collection of chapters can help us meet this challenge with hope and with a sense of possibility for overcoming inactivity, resignation and despair. An essential read for therapists who want to face the reality of our world in crisis with their eyes open.’
Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton, and author of Psychology at the Heart of Social Change

‘Mild concerns about climate change only a couple of decades ago have now shifted to intense fears of an impending climate crisis and disaster. Every season, somewhere on the planet, there are weather conditions that are more severe than any experienced only 50 years ago. This existential threat is not just restricted to Homo sapiens but impacts upon flora and fauna across the globe, with the inevitable losses in biological diversity. This book is a call to action for coaches and counsellors and their professional bodies to face up to the challenges of the ensuing climate catastrophe while remaining hopeful that it can be addressed. Instead of just becoming overwhelmed by the current situation, practitioners will find this book helpful to stay focused and motivated.’
Professor Stephen Palmer, Director, International Centre for Ecopsychology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and editor of the Journal of Ecopsychology

‘The global ecological challenge requires humanity to fundamentally change the way we think and how we understand and engage with the world around and beyond us. This book provides so many helpful different perspectives on how we can undertake the transformation the Earth is requiring of us in our personal and professional lives, to move from overwhelm to hope in order to co-create a radical new future in the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world.’
Professor Peter Hawkins, Chairman of Renewal Associates, author and global thought leader on ecology, leadership, systemic coaching and societal change

‘Hope dies, action begins. These words helped us to set the tone for Extinction Rebellion back in 2018, and between then and now there has been a lively debate about this malleable concept, hope! I know that where we are headed we will need therapeutic relationships and practices. In fact, I believe that we will soon need to find ways to grow supportive and therapeutic systems and networks exponentially. So this is a timely contribution to the world we find ourselves in, and with excellent breadth and depth. I congratulate the editors and contributors for this enriching compilation. It will be very helpful if this will assist people to find courage after despair and reckon with the responsibility we now shoulder to make hope possible through engagement, care and action. For in these times, we must earn our hope.’ 
Clare Farrell, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, fashion designer and lecturer

‘This beautifully curated and intelligent collection reminds us of the interconnectedness that is our birth right and the wisdom that lies in accessing diversity of voices and cultures. Not a comfortable read, given the territory – ecological emergency – but also the authors choose depth, authenticity and courage over cheerleading and false hope. Yet the overarching sense is that there is hope. A vibrant, and vital read for all helping professionals, including coaches.’ 
Liz Hall, editor of Coaching at Work, leadership coach, mindfulness teacher and author of Mindful Coaching

‘In these times increasing numbers in the “psyche” professions are engaging with what climate breakdown means for them. The rich contributions here provide prophetic clarion calls for (bio) diverse transformation and engagement, simultaneously synthesising the environmental, political and personal. The chapters are strung together on a thread of hope, with hope itself critiqued rigorously. The reader is left in no doubt that mindless optimism has no space here; rather, what is needed is the radical hope of Jonathan Lear, reflected on deeply in Hetty Einzig’s chapter, or what Totton calls for – a releasing of hope, out of our control and into the wild, to make its own way. There is nourishment here, too, for our clinical practices – not fast food, but substantial slow cooking. I am deeply grateful for the work of so many behind this essential curation.’
Judith Anderson, Chair, Climate Psychology Alliance

‘The editors of Holding the Hope have brought together practitioners from around the world to share insights, examples and pragmatic processes that can help us all – personally and professionally. As a systemic practitioner, who has been hugely influenced by Gregory Bateson, I am struck by the ways in which this book makes significant contributions to reintegrating the natural environment that supports our very breathing, eating and drinking, back into our professional and cultural paradigms, helping us all through the emotions of letting in such a disturbing current reality. This book is a powerful call to reconceive the individualistic foundations of our notions of health and therapy. In chapter after chapter, I found myself jotting down ideas to include in my executive coaching and leadership development programs – and to reflect upon personally.’
Dr Josie McLean, co-founder of Climate Coaching Alliance, coach, leadership and organisational developer and past President of ICF Australasia

‘This book is full of love and intensely moving, drawing as it does on the insights of practitioners worldwide, with different experiences and perspectives. I went through a gamut of emotions – tearful, joyful, grieving, thoughtful, hopeful – and found it insightful and relatable personally and professionally. This is a book of breadth and depth that puts climate change in a wider social context. And the section on children and young people wasn’t just enlightening, it really gave a sense of their perspective. Here’s one example from Caroline Hickman’s research: “It’s personal, this is being done to us. But we’re not the ones doing it.” Please do read this book.’
Eve Turner, co-founder of Climate Coaching Alliance, coach, supervisor, researcher and author of Ecological and Climate-Conscious Coaching

‘Every word of this text spoke to not only my mind but my heart and soul as well. It brings courage and compassion, wisdom and humility – and it honours the idea that the climate crisis is a human, emotional crisis. There is so much that the world of coaching – executive, life or other – can learn, appreciate and take from it. And the book is peppered with signposts for coaching, psychotherapy, counselling and mentoring, signalling where they need to evolve, mature and stretch into. All of the helping professionals – and every industry and society – faces a crucial adaptation ahead, and this collection is a key text on what we can think, feel and do about it. I loved the variety of thought, backgrounds and approaches of the different contributors. I will be recommending this book widely for years to come.’ 
George Warren, coach, supervisor and mentor coach, faculty member of the Academy of Executive coaching Association and co-creator of the podcast series ‘Coaching in the Climate Crisis’ 

Linda Aspey

Linda Aspey is a leadership coach, facilitator, psychotherapeutic counsellor, BACP Fellow, and activist. She works with people and organisations to support them in engaging and acting on climate, environmental and social crises.

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Linda Aspey

Catherine Jackson

Catherine Jackson is Commissioning Editor with PCCS Books. She has worked in mental health journalism and publishing since the early 1990s, after a brief career as a cartoonist. Previously she was editor of Therapy Today, the founding editor of Mental Health Today magazine and managing editor of Bereavement Care journal. She also worked in mental health advocacy for several years.

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Catherine Jackson

Diane Parker

Diane Parker is a coach, group facilitator and creative movement therapist with a background in dance and performance. She is also an experienced freelance writer and editor, and she has edited the BACP journal Coaching Today since its launch in January 2012.

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Diane Parker