Yup, it’s time to talk politics. I have studiously avoided political blog posts, because I would like to think that is not the main reason anyone comes in for counseling. And I have zero interest in changing anyone’s views on the subject. Yet it has become so overwhelming in the past couple of years, that I feel a need to address it. Mostly, people come into my office with whatever issues they are dealing with at the time, and those issues tend to mostly not be politically based. By the time a client has completed whatever therapy they have come in for, I usually have no clue what that client’s political leanings are. And that is fine.
Unfortunately, though, with the current administration, it is being reported by many therapists that their business has taken a leap due to the problems people are suffering as a result of the political fallout. People suffering from sexual abuse problems are being triggered by constantly seeing images of a chief executive who has been credibly accused by several women of exactly that. Those who have concerns about immigration issues are inundated with images and information about families being forcibly separated at the border, then confined in for-profit prisons with a history of abuse. And the children involved will suffer lifelong trauma. A number of those children will never be reunited with their parents, since there was initially not even a good system to identify which child belonged with which family. Rising inequality has reached even greater heights than before. The LGBTQ rights that were so hard fought for, are now under threat. That is only a smattering of the issues, and for many these issues make day to day life much more difficult. In a number of cases, these ongoing issues lead to huge feelings of helplessness. At best, they are constant background noise for those of us who are outraged. And yes, I am outraged.
When I was in graduate school, we were encouraged to avoid discussing politics with our clients. That was post-9/11, barely; I actually started grad school one week before that attack. So, post-9/11, but before we ever dreamed this country could face the issues we are facing today. I grew up in somewhat of a golden era, and could not imagine that things would not continue that way indefinitely. Consequently, I was gobsmacked.
During previous eras that involved conflict, people found ways to go on with life despite the conflicts and/or stresses, and they will do the same today. There will be those among us who devote every spare minute to activism, others will do their best to bury their heads in the sand, and most of us will fall somewhere in between. But it adds an extra layer of stress for just about everyone.
In the event it matters to you, you now know where I stand. If you are asking me to cheerlead for our current administration, you have come to the wrong place. If you want to process your own personal issues with me, you have come to the right place. And if you are one who is bothered by today’s political scene—we will not solve that in therapy, but you can at least feel secure I the knowledge that my sympathies are with you.