Eric Evans

Registered Psychotherapist

Toronto Psychotherapist working with depression, anxiety, serious illness, creativity, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer issues.

Environmental sleeplessness

I woke up in the middle of the night recently and had a thought I've had before: does being a psychotherapist make a difference? It's kind of what James Hillman and Michael Ventura were asking in their book.

For me, it revolves around the issue of what we're doing to the environment in which we live. The air we breathe, water we drink, food, etc. There's a simple truth here that if we continue in this way, we won't survive. But we've built such sturdy walls around this idea,  and have the ability to think very narrowly and in such small amounts of time about it, that we have made it easy to not think about it. Or to tell ourselves that somehow everything will be ok, or that some other generation will deal with this, for now I just want to have a green lawn or a winter vacation.

I know, I know, this drum has been banged many times before. My point, I suppose is to say: as psychotherapists, do we have an opportunity, if not an obligation, to bring this into the room with clients?

Many in my profession say it's not up to me to ask those kinds of questions. If a client brings it in, that's one thing, but for me to introduce it, well that's beyond the pale. I would be imposing my own agenda, etc etc. That's fair, to a point. But it's not like these issues are all that particular or specific to any one person or community. These ideas involve every one of us. In that sense, it is similar to me bringing up the idea with a client that parents should treat their children without violence or abuse. That partners should be honest with each other. How are these things different from the idea that we might not want to destroy the earth so we don't perish?