‘Safe Spaces’ and Community Building for Climate Scientists, Exploring Emotions Through a Case Study


  • Neal R. Haddaway
  • Joe Duggan


Environmental scientists are acutely aware of the increasing dangers posed by the climate crisis, and this professional awareness is linked to raised levels of climate anxiety. In this paper we explore the use of group therapy as a tool to create a safe space for researchers to share their feelings on climate change. We examine the transcripts of a 2-day group therapy session provided to seven environmental scientists based in the United States by a professional therapist. We analyse more than 12 hours of anonymised audio transcripts to identify patterns, observations and shared experiences. Our results suggest that group therapy may provide positive and cathartic experiences for environmental scientists through sharing emotions and experiences with peers, both about the challenges of their professional lives and difficulties in processing feelings about their work subjects and the climate crisis. Further, results indicate that participants benefited from sharing strategies for coping with the emotional toll of the climate crisis.