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Carol Smaldino

The Human Climate

Facing the Divisions Inside Us and Between Us

Published January 2019
300 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1-937570-83-5
14.95 USD, 13.13 EUR

About the book

The Human Climate starts with this idea: We are divided on the inside and on the outside—where we live, love, hate, or are frozen in fear. Unless we come to know our emotions better than we do, they will continue to control us. In this small yet provocative book, psychotherapist Carol Smaldino connects the personal with the political, the past with the present, and the individual with the global.

She explores the human climate, a term she refers to as encompassing culture, assumptions, rules, mood, and the atmosphere of a given time and place. She sees addressing these elements as indispensable if we are to effectively resolve divisions related to social and global issues, and, our most intimate relationships. Smaldino shares clinical experiences, her own stories, and provides insightful reflections.

The Human Climate offers us a way to face our shadows – places where we hide and try to bury (unconsciously) the parts of ourselves that we dislike. If we don’t face and integrate our difficult emotions, we continue to demonize other nations, other people – even those we love and marry. In working through our resistance to change, we have the chance to access compassion and empathy.

Table of Contents



1. A Human Climate

2. Feelings as a Second Language

3. Talking Out Loud

4. Across the Developmental Divide

5. The Cost of Belonging at Any Cost

6. The Bully and the Brain Freeze

7. Visiting the Shadows: A Nod to Carl Jung

8. Don’t Know Much about History

9. Having a Heart

10. In Support of Not Knowing


About the Author

How to buy

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What others say

What can we do to make the human climate less adversarial, less hateful, less scared and scary? Carol Smaldino's must-read book is life-saving for humankind. She is among the world’s few voices focusing on the dark sides of the human soul, its shadow. Only by understanding and befriending our shadow can we heal the climate, both human and physical.
– Evelin Lindner, MD, PhD, Founding President, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies; Nobel Peace Prize nominee

This is a very accessible book, free of clinical jargon, but packed with clinical insights into the importance of the recognition of emotions throughout human relationships. She advocates for attunement to one’s feelings, self-reflection, and empathy for others whether they are our children, our adversaries, or world leaders—all in the service of promoting a peaceful human climate.
– Peter Buirski, PhD, Dean Emeritus and Clinical Professor, Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver

In an era rife with dangerous divisions in the nation and the world, The Human Climate is a must-read for us all. Carol Smaldino’s “talking out loud” in this book had me doing the same -- with the book, with myself, and with others. Read this book and prepare to emerge with an awakened curiosity -- questions you never before asked, answers you never before envisioned, and a burning desire to do things differently.
–  Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth

Carol Smaldino has written an accessible, highly germane exploration of our emotional and social climates, at once searching and enlightening. She stimulates engaging reflection on therapy with individuals and society, a sense of inner-outer difficulties and possibilities. A probing and sharing book relevant for the present moment and beyond.
– Michael Eigen, The Challenge of Being Human; Faith; The Sensitive Self

This book is giving our family a better story to live. The five of us have been wanting to work together to live in a way that is environmentally restorative and sustainable, but we’ve been stuck. Carol helped us realize that before we can hope to change the climate around us, we must first change the climate within us. This book is its own invaluable, sustainable resource.
– Dr. Kelly Flanagan, Clinical Psychologist, author of Untangled

A passionate, refreshing, and lucid account of how the stuff therapists know about “feelings” may serve in the creation of a more empathic social and political world.  I like the way direct and robust challenges to certain therapeutic orthodoxies are mounted without punches being pulled. Lastly, there is a quiet humor that pervades the book, which adds to its refreshingly humble approach—no easy answers.
–  Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex, UK, author of A New Therapy for Politics?

This concept-rich, psychologically penetrating exploration of our human climate is a compassionate, fearless look at one of the core issues of our times.
– Greg Jemsek, M.A., author, Quiet Horizon: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self- Knowledge

Carol Smaldino, in The Human Climate, helps us recognize how a yearning to belong can tragically, when not recognized and fulfilled, turn into a desperate need that can even lead to extremism. She helps the reader penetrate our tendency to demonize, on all social levels. This is important reading for our time.
– Christian Picciolini, author of White American Youth, cofounder of Life After Hate

As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I had been witness to the many different moods harbored by my father, and understandably so. But reading this book helped me understand both his and my moods much better. The notion of “climate” as a way to describe those moods is a wonderful metaphor to help one on the path toward self-improvement. The sprinkling of case studies also helps solidify the message. Thank you for this book.
– Eli Adler, documentary director and co-producer of Surviving Skokie

In this compelling volume, Carol Smaldino demonstrates with clarity and wisdom the connections between our childhoods and family dynamics, on the one hand, and the world we then create...with either salutary or horrific consequences. Stitching ourselves and our world together will require an appreciation of the brokenness of both, and The Human Climate can help us gain that appreciation.
– Tim Wise, author, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son


About the author

Carol Smaldino is a psychotherapist, speaker, and consultant on conflict resolution, emotions, and social justice issues. She was a Huffington Post contributor 2009-2017. She is originally from Brooklyn, NY.