Heal the World. A Solution-Focused Systems Therapy Approach to Environmental Problems

Journal of Cleaner Production, December 2018

16 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2019

See all articles by Steffen Roth

Steffen Roth

La Rochelle Business School; University of Turku

Date Written: December 2, 2018


In observing a capitalist lifestyle of addiction to relentless growth responsible for an imminent self-extinction of the human race, environmentalism is a particularly problem-centred movement. The purpose of this article is to address and manage the risk that the movement is co-dependent on and co-performs the problems it tries to solve. To this end, a supervision framework is developed based on the insight that knowledge of a problem is not required for solutions to that problem to emerge. Core elements of solution-focused brief therapy, systemic structural constellations, and social systems theory are combined to demonstrate that there would be better success with the higher goals of environmentalism if environmentalists focus not on problems of capitalism and growth, but on those non-economic aspects of social life that can be grown instead. An outlook shows that this shift of focus from problem to the problem ecology resonates well with ambitions to ensure sustainable development and to design alternative indices that go beyond the OECD well-being framework or the Happy Planet Index.

Keywords: Environmentalism, Growth, Capitalism, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Systemic Structural Constellations, Addiction

Suggested Citation

Roth, Steffen, Heal the World. A Solution-Focused Systems Therapy Approach to Environmental Problems (December 2, 2018). Journal of Cleaner Production, December 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3317714

Steffen Roth (Contact Author)

La Rochelle Business School ( email )

102 rue de Coureilles
Les Minimes
La Rochelle, 17024

University of Turku ( email )

Assistentinkatu 7
Turku, 20014

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