Finding ground in a time of crisis

In 2020 I am offering a series of 'incubation spaces' that explore our personal and professional responses to the climate emergency. These gatherings are an invitation to bring our fallible selves back into relationship with each other and the world.  Together we experiment how to weave ourselves back into a soulful connection with life, how to re-ignite our love affair with the more than human world and how to allow our hearts to break open to the world.

Incubation space for mental health professionals  

19-21st June 2020

We are entering a time of great loss. In order to meet the challenges ahead, mental health professionals need to engage with the psychological dimensions of the climate emergency.  If we keep colluding with business-as-usual in a time of climate emergency, we may well have a mental health crisis at global scale on our hands, with both, mental health professionals and clients utterly unprepared to bear the consequences.

We may come from different backgrounds and traditions, but instead of focussing on what separates us, we can meet in our shared humanity, become 'imperfect allies' and face what needs to be done together. Will you join us? We will need good company.

  • How do we work with eco-anxiety (our own and our client's)?
  • How can we invite the state of the world into the therapeutic conversation? 
  • How do we approach the  state of malignant normality? 
  • How do we grieve something we may not even realise we have lost?
  • How do we relate to the more-than-human world?

These questions are pressing, but don’t seem to have linear answers. It is time we made space for them. In this ‘Incubation space’ we aim to create the conditions for the germination and growth of fresh seedlings of thoughts, ideas, experiments and experiences to emerge:

From a professional perspective,  we will be widening the lens beyond the habitual anthropocentric and individualistic viewpoint and explore the conditions that may be needed to develop a psychology of the environment. We will reflect on our practice and how we may wish to widen and stretch it.

As psychotherapists, psychologists or social workers we are not exempt from fearing what the future will hold in store. It can be hard to  take in the enormity of devastation that we have caused in the world without safe spaces to explore our personal responses. In order to fully be able to support others on this journey, we may need to tend to ourselves and our own raw or perhaps unexamined responses. This retreat provides a container for whatever we may be holding on a personal level.

The third aspect are practices that invite an engagement with the more than human world. This does not mean that we all have to work outdoors. Many different interventions can widen the field. Our own nature immersion can however inform us about the steps we may wish to take in order to do justice to a world that may call out to us.

Informed by Gestalt Therapy, climate psychology, soul centric perspectives, nature connection and deep ritual, this gathering will include:

  • creative writing in order to loosen the ground
  • invitations for the body to be part of the picture
  • an experience of ritual as a form of community practice
  • nature connection that invites us to listen to what may lie outside of our awareness
  • grief tending that invites us into resonance with the soul of the world
  • small group work that invites us to learn from each other in inter-connected and inter-disciplinary ways
  • poetic imagination that courts the wild soul and opens a wider perspective

If you are interested, please contact me for more details.

Steffi Bednarek: Gestalt Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor with a specialist training in somatic trauma therapy. I am a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance and have published on mental health and climate change in several different countries and contexts, including a short BBC documentary on eco-anxiety. 

In my work I draw on my Gestalt roots as well as the soul centric approach of my long-term mentor, Francis Weller. I trained for 2 years in community grief tending, worked with Clarissa Pinkola Estes on how to tap into our original voice and have been involved with the 8 shields approach to nature connection for many years. The Gestalt concepts of field theory, phenomenology and relationality are deeply embedded in all I do and Thich-Nhat Hanh's ideas of inter-being guide me in these difficult times. 

  • Magical performance
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