It's been so busy around here, I haven't had time to think much less write something in my now increasingly "occasional" blog. But here I am.
With the end of the US election, and with how I feel about it, I am reminded of the strange position that psychotherapists like me find themselves in. In many respects, we are trained to keep events and dynamics from coming into our offices. Our clients obviously can bring them in, and do, and should, but we should not.
But when political or social events occur that affect everyone, what is a psychotherapist to do? I think there is a way that professionals like myself can talk about the bigger events, and in fact should talk about them.
For many in my field, an underlying philosophy is we are having an effect on the world by indirect means in the process of helping a client live more authentic and less conflicted lives and because of this our clients, one by one, will begin to change the culture. I believe this to be true. But when events occur more quickly and universally, I think it is also our responsibility to at least acknowledge these events if not speak about them. Our clients will want to know that we have thought about them, even if we don't necessarily say how exactly we feel about them.
Donna Orange has written a book that addresses one such situation - climate change - which explores this very situation. I think as psychotherapists, we have a responsibility to address this tension in ourselves and our work so that we can bring it to our clients in ways that satisfy both our values, but more importantly, those of our clients.