Contemplative practices and eco-anxiety

Professor Kathryn Williams

Project lead | Professor Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams is an interdisciplinary and psychological researcher and teacher, seeking to contribute knowledge of human-nature relationships that can support flourishing of both people and the more than human world. Her research is directed toward a theoretical and empirical understanding of how physical environments shape human functioning and how human
thoughts and behaviour contribute to conservation of the natural world. Contemplation has been a theme in her research since her Phd, which focused on transcendent experience in forest environments, and has played a role in recent work exploring mindful engagement with nature.

The project team has deep and complementary expertise across the domains of nature experiences, contemplative practices and eco-anxiety. Kathryn Williams, Iain Walker and Katherine Johnson have decades of experience in the study of nature experience, with complementary expertise in the fields of
environmental, social and cognitive psychology. The team also spans contrasting perspectives on contemplative practices, with Dianne Vella-Brodrick’s expertise incorporating positive psychological approaches to mindfulness and Cullan Joyce considering contemplative traditions from a philosophical perspective. Expertise in eco-anxiety is also significant. Iain Walker has studied multiple aspects of psychological responses to climate change, including emotional responses as anxiety and
hopelessness. Katharine Greenaway has expertise in social connectedness and emotion regulation, and has applied this to assess eco-anxiety interventions.