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Counselors and the Climate Crisis: An Opening Conversation

1 CE Hour

Presented By

Recorded On

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  • On Demand
    Sessions will be available On-Demand

The impact of the climate crisis on mental health has been well-documented in a number of key reports, such as the IPCC report (Human Health, Chapter 8), US National Climate Report, the U.S Global Change Research Program, and ecoAmerica’s Mental Health & Our Changing Climate, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Climate Reality Project, the American Public Health Association, and the Psychological Impact of Climate Change. Researchers predict a sharp rise in mental health issues resulting from the climate crisis in the coming years. These issues include depression and anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, suicide and outbreaks of violence. The elderly, the poor, and children were identified as being among those who will be most psychologically vulnerable. Counselors hold expertise in trauma-informed approaches to resilience, disaster response and recovery, developmental and wellness approaches, and a humanistic connection to the lived experiences of clients. We also have a strong social justice lens that will be helpful in work with clients, our communities, and other professionals. This workshop introduces the role of the counselor in facing climate change with our clients and communities.

Target Audience
  • Counselors
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
Learning Objectives
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to understand the mental health impact of the increasing climate crisis with specific local and regional implications.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to describe the social justice impact on vulnerable populations, migration, and community resilience as well as the roles counselors can play.
  • Upon completion, participants will have an understanding of the work conducted by the American Counseling Association’s Task Force on the Climate Crisis and Mental Health and reflect upon their own point of advocacy or intervention.

This program has been approved for 1.0 continuing education clock hours by the Louisiana Counseling Association as authorized by the Louisiana Professional Counselor Licensing Board of Examiners.

Addiction Counselors

This course has been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #198061, is responsible for all aspects of the programing. Counselor Skill Group: Counseling Services.


1.0 Credit – Click here to review AMEDCO Accreditation

Social Workers

1.0 Credit – Click here to review AMEDCO Accreditation

Full Details: AMEDCO Learner Notification

CE Policy and this educator have no conflicts of interest and have not received any commercial support for this program or its contents.
Dr. Debbie Sturm

Dr. Debbie Sturm is a 2008 graduate of UNC-Charlotte’s Counselor Education program, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and currently an Associate Professor at James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her clinical specialties include trauma, community violence, family systems, and nature-connectedness. She has graduate coursework, training, and teaching in environmental advocacy, environmental education, climate resilience efforts, environmental justice, and communication strategies. She is a member of ACA’s Climate Crisis Task Force and Human Rights Committee. She received the 2013 SACES Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 2020 SACES Courtland Lee Social Justice Award. She is a trained member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, “a global network of activists committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions to the greatest challenge of our time” and a Climate Café leader with the Climate Psychology Alliance. In 2017, Dr. Sturm wrote the first article on climate and mental health to appear in ACA’s Counseling Today. Since then, she has published two book chapters and two encyclopedia entries on the impact of climate on mental health. She has produced a dozen (including in-press) peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered 18 conference presentations on climate justice and climate-related issues. She is deeply passionate about expanding this conversation among counselors across the country.

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