Understanding the Social and Psychological Aspects of the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE)



RECORDED WEBINAR | Instructor: Merritt Juliano, J.D., LCSW 
CEs: 1.5 | Level: Intermediate 

Date of original webinar: July 28, 2021

This course will familiarize participants with the basic facts of interrelated aspects of the climate and biodiversity crises, and to inform participants about the social and psychological impacts of these crises on individuals, families and communities. Recognizing and approaching client concerns related to these crises will also be discussed. Additionally, an understanding of psychological defenses and socio-cultural factors at play in the avoidance of these crises will be described. The workshop will highlight the concepts of psychological containment and the “window of tolerance” needed for facing anxiety-generating information related to the CEE.

Participants will learn how to use relationship and containment for maintaining hope, developing a sense of agency, and avoiding “information overload.” Participants will also learn how the current economic system fuels oppression and creates a “culture of uncare,” leading individuals to feel a sense of moral injury and lack of freedom by virtue of simply being embedded within the system. Participants will understand the importance of collective action to create systemic change, and will also be able to identify examples of socio-cultural habits detrimental to sustainability goals, such as frequent air travel and participating in a throw-away culture. Common emotional reactions, as well as defenses impeding change will also be discussed. Clinical scenarios involving clients approaching these issues will be briefly discussed.

Target Audience: 

Social workers and other social service providers

Course Delivery Method, Format and Instructor Interaction :

Recorded webinar, self study. All courses are hosted on SmithOnline. Login information will be emailed immediately after registration to the email address entered during registration.

System Requirements:

Attendees will need access to a computer with internet and the capability to play recorded videos.

Registration Fees and Deadlines:

$35 (one time registration fee of $5) | Ongoing 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the various psychosocial implications of the climate and ecological emergency.
  2. List common emotional reactions to the crisis, as well as the various psychological defenses employed to avoid emotional distress.
  3. Explain how the CEE compounds existing social and environmental justice issues. 
  4. Identify at least two psychosocial ways of working to address the impacts of the CEE.


1.5 hour course outline
  • Introduction to Climate Psychology & Background on Compounding Crises
  • Emotional & Psychological Reactions
  • Psychosocial Consequences & Social/Environmental Justice Issues
  • Working with Social & Psychological Issues  

About the Instructor:

Merritt Juliano is a psychotherapist practicing in Westport, CT and is co-president of Climate Psychology Alliance North America. Juliano was recently appointed to serve on the 2021-2022 American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Climate Change. Trained by members of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) in the United Kingdom to guide others in identifying thoughts, feelings and experiences with the climate crisis using the Climate Cafe group model, Juliano facilitates Climate Cafes in the U.S. for parents, adults and mental health clinicians. Juliano has given several workshops on the topic of climate psychology, and teaches mental health clinicians how to facilitate their own Climate Cafes. Juliano has engaged in an active learning forum with experts and leaders of the Climate Psychology Alliance in the United Kingdom since 2014, and is actively involved in a collaborative effort with Climate Psychology Alliance UK and Climate Psychiatry Alliance to design a global educational resource on the mental health implications of the climate crisis. Juliano is a Climate Reality Project Leader, and facilitates both climate psychology study and support groups in her local community. Juliano specializes in maternal mental health, child and adolescent psychotherapy, reflective parenting, stress management, resilience building and ecological intelligence. Juliano believes a strong parallel exists between modern civilization’s treatment of Mother Earth, and mothers and children around the world. Prior to becoming a clinical social worker, Juliano worked as a mediator and attorney.

Continuing Education Credits and Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits offered vary by course. This course only offers the CE credits listed below.  It is the attendees' responsibility to contact their licensing board to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

Social Work
  • Smith College School for Social Work, #1755, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Smith College School for Social Work maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 11/19/2021-11/19/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 1.5 continuing education credits.
  • Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School’s Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
  • Smith College School for Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0169.
Not Approved for Counselors (LMHC/LPC)
  • Smith College School for Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7110. This program does NOT qualify for NBCC ACEP approval. 


  • Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Due to changes in continuing education requirements for NY licensed psychologists, APA CE Sponsor credits may not be accepted for re-licensure at this time. Please check the NY Psychology Board regulations for CE requirements currently in effect.

Further information on policies and CE accreditation can be found here.

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Mary Curtin, M.S.W., LICSW
Director of Professional Education

Pronouns: she/her
E: mcurtin@smith.edu or dirpe@smith.edu
P: 413-585-4198

Max Ansorge
Faculty Support Coordinator

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E: mansorge@smith.edu or sswpe@smith.edu (preferred)
P: 413-585-3506