Get to know us
As Psychologists for Future / Psychotherapists for Future (Psy4F) we apply our psychological and psychotherapeutic expertise towards:
- the rapid and comprehensive resolution of the socio-ecological crises;
- the promotion of a sustainable, healthy, democratic, socially and globally just future.
The socio-ecological crises and their consequences
The ruthless exploitation of ecosystems, living beings and resources is becoming more and more drastically evident in multiple crises: among others, the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, the destruction of nature, environmental pollution, large-scale animal cruelty and resource crises. This has strong societal disruptive potential and far-reaching social consequences such as increasing conflicts, bigotry, psychological distress, diseases, poverty, hunger, forced migration, disputes about the distribution of resources, or wars. This presents a severe danger to democracies worldwide. Our livelihoods and future are under considerable threat.
For a socio-ecological transformation
Heavily industrialized and growth-oriented societies and their influential corporations are especially responsible for the socio-ecological crises. Fundamental changes in human economies and ways of living are therefore necessary to preserve all of our livelihoods. This major socio-ecological transformation requires decisive action at all levels of society. This also means that the ecological and the social question must be thought of together in the sense of a socio-ecological imperative. Three objectives are central to this:
- Mitigation: the rapid mitigation of the causes and exacerbators of the socio-ecological crises;
- Adaptation: the adjustment to the partly irreversible deterioration of the conditions of living, including comprehensive protective health measures;
- Sustainability: the globally just and circular organization of economic, ecological, and social relations in harmony with planetary boundaries.
These objectives also serve to maintain mental health as well as a capacity to act for us and our systems.
Psychological dimensions of the socio-ecological crises
The socio-ecological crises have many additional psychological dimensions. Without a deeper psychological understanding, it seems hardly possible to implement the three central objectives. Some of the questions we want to address are:
- How can it be achieved that all political, economic, and social actors, especially influential elites and decision-makers, develop the motivation to participate in the socio-ecological transformation?
- How can it be achieved that even the extremely challenging, unpleasant, and yet necessary changes are supported by the majority of the population?
- How can avoidance and defense mechanisms be dealt with constructively, both societally and individually?
- How can public communication be designed in such a way that ensures a politically informed public and the free exchange of ideas and prevents discourses of delay, manipulation, and misinformation?
- How can democracy be developed further in such a way that political and economic power serves the common good and all members of society can participate in a non-discriminatory, self-determined and efficacious manner?
- Finally, how can it be achieved that the privileged parts of the world’s population reflect on their ethical values and privileges, use their privileges in solidarity for the common good, and voluntarily partially give them up for the benefit of the people and regions most affected by the socio-ecological crises and in favor of social equality?
Professional-ethical orientation and focus of our work
As psychologists and psychotherapists we feel obliged – also in view of our professional and ethical principles – to contribute to the process of social-ecological transformation. We consider ourselves as part of the climate justice and “For Future” movement and support the demands of Fridays for Future.
Main aspects of our work are:
- Strengthening individual, participatory, and collective efficacy by providing psychological knowledge (e.g., through talks, workshops, podcasts, guides, and professional consultation)
- Support for activists (by providing informational material, group sessions, and psychological consultation for individuals and organizations)
- Press and public relations work and high-profile campaigns
- Involvement in professional politics (via committees and associations as well as international networking)
- Participation in psychological and interdisciplinary research projects and publications
We implement these key aspects of our work based on science and work independently of institutions and parties. We actively oppose all forms of discrimination.
Psychologists/Psychotherapists for Future was founded in May 2019 as a grassroots movement by a few colleagues who were looking for allies in their struggle against the climate crisis.
As we researched the field it quickly became clear that the climate crisis is a psychological crisis. Within weeks, more and more colleagues joined who have been willing to spend part of their spare time to volunteer for this initiative ever since.
On 21 May 2019 we published our statement with more than 100 signatures. Every week, new teams and regional groups were founded, inspiration flowed, new approaches were discussed, and the network grew. Our aim is to publicly leverage our psychological and psychotherapeutical knowledge and skills and to exert influence on society.
Our first focus has been centered on „Mental Health for Activists“ and establishing regional connections with our colleagues from Scientists for Future.
Our declared goals include informing the Fridays for Future movement and other opinion leaders about psychological issues related to tackling the climate crisis, becoming active ourselves, and raising awareness for the possibilities of this social movement.