World and Self

Each new stage of history demands a new psychology – one that can explain and support the psychological development of the people who must undertake the most important tasks on the historical agenda.  –  David Adams, Psychology For Peace Activists (1987)

Don’t let school interfere with your education.  –  Irene Tobis

Don’t let your job interfere with your work.  –  Irene Tobis


Philosophy is a walk on a slippery rock, as Edie Brickell’s song says. But we owe it to ourselves and the world to give it its due, to not give short shrift. As a psychologist, my focus is on my clients, on how to think about the issues they’re bringing me, on helping them better. That keeps me pretty busy. But out of some sense of moral obligation I try to spend at least some time, on a semi-regular basis, thinking about how to think about the planet and also about myself.

My biggest client.  It’s not that I haven’t been aware of climate change. Michael Tobis has been talking to me about climate science for some 25 years now. It’s that just couldn’t handle it, the enormity of it, the implications. So I did what most everyone did. I used every defensive strategy I could get away with. I tried not to think about it. I became an ignorist.

P3ballA few years ago (Spring 2013) I finally began reading and thinking and writing about the psychology of engagement with climate change. I’m finding it pretty difficult, but I’m committed to staying engaged, and I’m trying to help other people stay engaged. So maybe we can make progress. I joined the management and editorial staff of Planet3.0, an online magazine.