On the couch
It seems like every day there’s another new global warming crises. Now we learn that there won’t be enough eco-therapists to help all the eco-neurotic people deal with their guilt and “green-worry.” Young people who were studying to become rich plastic surgeons doing tummy tucks and face-lifts for all the aging baby-boomers may now want to look at the bonanza in Applied and Clinical Eco-psychology. Thank heavens The International Association for Ecotherapy is currently gearing up to treat individuals and entire communities as they try to deal with global warming challenges in this “post-carbon economic period” in which we find ourselves living in.
I can just see the following scene played out in shrink’s offices in the future.
“Lay down on my 100% hemp couch stuffed with non-petroleum based feathers that came from geese that died of old age. Now, what seems to be your problem?”
“Doctor, I can’t eat, I can’t drink, I simply cannot function any longer due to the guilt I feel that I am helping to destroy Mother Earth.”
“I feel your pain. Here, hold my hand and try to breathe normally. Continue.”
“I have nightmares Doc, about the Sasquatch-sized carbon footprints I’m leaving behind. I drive an SUV, live in a 3,500 square foot house, go on vacation in an RV and have four kids. And the refrigerator in our bar is not energy-star compliant, sob, sob.”
“Now, now. Here’s my organic hankie, please stop crying. You are just a little eco-anxious, that’s all. It’s a common condition that has reached epidemic proportions but it’s not something that can’t be treated with therapy and carbon credits, which by the way, my brother happens to sell. Here’s his business card. Now, about those huge carbon footprints you are leaving behind. Have you considered wearing vegan sandals?”
“No, but I became a vegetarian and I got so sick and tired of eating tofu and bean curd that, and this is so difficult to admit Doctor, I ate a steak. I feel so guilty.”
“This is serious. You may require a stay in eco-rehab. Luckily my other brother owns a fine facility in Hollywood. Are you suffering any physical symptoms?”
“It’s terrible Doctor. Just last week I came home and discovered that I’d left a light on and immediately I had severe neck and shoulder pain and had to spend the rest of the day in bed.”
“What about depression?”
“Oh Doctor, it’s gotten so bad I can hardly function. First I read that by asking for plastic bags at the grocery store I was doing more environmental damage than using paper ones. Then I read where the plastic water bottles I’ve used for years are filling our landfills. When I read that polar bears may become stranded due to the melting ice pack I became so morose my husband considered filing for divorce.”
“First of all, I’d recommend that you stop reading so much, and secondly, lucky for you, I am also a marriage counselor. Do you have nightmares?”
“Boy, do I. Just last night I dreamed that due to global warming, all the ice melted and we got flooded out. It was just terrible Doctor.”
“Calm down. Since you live in Denver I doubt that the waves will be that high.
“But Doctor, what can I do?”
“To calm your growing angst you need to strengthen your inner spiritual connection with nature and become more earth-centered. You need to reconnect with nature to heal your psyche by going outside and seeing for yourself that the world is not coming to an end. Unless we get hit by an asteroid, that is. May I ask, when was the last time you went outdoors?”
“I think it was 1997, Doctor.”
“Oh my, this is going to require a lot of expensive therapy. See you next week.”
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Jill Rigler is not your average 17 year old.