In a compelling example of the ripple effect of CCARE’s Applied Compassion Training (ACT), Dr. Barbara Easterlin, a passionate participant in the program’s 2021 cohort and distinguished graduate, harnessed her enhanced confidence and skills to effect enduring change in the field of mental health. Easterlin’s Capstone Project, an innovative compassion workshop for clinicians addressing the psychological consequences of the climate emergency, not only altered the course or her career but also yielded remarkable achievements and far-reaching impact.
Under the guidance of ACT, Easterlin successfully integrated the process and principles of applied compassion into her Capstone Project, focusing on the psychological impacts of the climate crisis, an aspect frequently overlooked. With support and feedback from ACT colleagues and mentors, she developed an applied compassion workshop designed to engage clinicians. The workshop emphasized the critical importance of mental health professionals offering empathy and understanding of the emotional toll endured by both clients and clinicians in the face of the climate emergency.
“My journey with ACT instilled in me the confidence to apply compassion and make a real difference in the world,” Easterlin shared. “It empowered me to delve deep into the intersection of mental health and climate change, leading at first to the development of an applied compassion workshop that would spark awareness and drive compassionate action in addressing the climate emergency.”
The impact of Easterlin’s project extended far beyond her immediate circle. The ripple effect of her applied compassion workshop became evident as clinicians who attended it were inspired to apply their newfound knowledge and compassionate approach in their practices. Their supportive feedback further rippled, leading Easterlin to co-develop the first-ever Climate Psychology Certificate (CPC) program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco (CIIS CPC Program)—a historic milestone in the dynamic convergence of mental health and environmental crises.
The CIIS Climate Psychology Certificate (CPC) represents a significant breakthrough in providing mental health professionals with essential knowledge and skills to apply compassion in addressing the unique psychological consequences arising from the climate emergency. The ripple effect continues to spread as these professionals, equipped with specialized expertise and deep compassion, bring this knowledge to their clients and communities.
“The ripple effect was remarkable, not only in my own life but also in the lives of many clinicians our program reaches and onward to their clients,” Easterlin noted. The creation of the certificate program has empowered mental health professionals with the confidence and expertise to apply compassion and their existing mental health know-how to this complex problem to understand better and address the climate emergency’s unique psychological consequences.
Easterlin’s experience is a testament to the impact that people, bolstered by the principles and practices of applied compassion and confidence, can have on the world. Her unwavering determination and the support of ACT at CCARE Stanford have contributed to a transformative shift within the field, bringing heightened awareness to the mental health repercussions of our ecological fragility and, most importantly, how to respond effectively and collectively to the climate crisis.
As we grapple with the complex challenges of our time, Easterlin’s story inspires us, reminding us of the power of the ripple effect. Through Applied Compassion Training (ACT), individuals like Easterlin are leading the way to a more compassionate and sustainable society. Their actions have a cascading impact, fostering positive change and addressing pressing global issues with understanding, care, and the application of compassion at their core.
Barbara Easterlin’s experience is just one of the many examples of the ripple effect of ACT capstone projects. Around the world, across various fields and communities, ACT Graduates of CCARE Stanford are leaving their mark and transforming lives by applying compassion.
This story offers a glimpse into the immense impact that ACT Participants and Graduates are generating, as the ripple effect extends far beyond the initial individual transformations. It touches and enriches countless lives while also fostering a more compassionate society.
Learn more about the California Institute of Integral Studies Climate Psychology Certificate Program at CIIS CPC Program.
Join the global community of ACT Graduates and make a difference in your field and community.