Therapists as Allies: Helping Clients Navigate Political Stress

Are you struggling with the uncertainty and unpredictability of our current political climate? Are you concerned about how to help your clients weather the impact of the rapid changes taking place? You are not alone. It has been over a year and a half since the transition in the American government, but the impact continues.

Many of us are feeling the pressure of political stress—and so are our clients. According to the American Psychological Association, a poll taken in 2017 showed that 63% of Americans are stressed about the future of the United States. Further, 59 percent believe this to be “the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.”

Regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, collective uncertainty and social discord is challenging, in and out of the office. Transition of power is especially difficult when the speed of change accelerates more quickly than expected. If you are among the marginalized and oppressed, it is likely that the change in power and ensuing polarization is causing enough stress to trigger adaptive coping strategies, both functional and dysfunctional.

This means that those who have been dealing with discrimination and oppression all their lives may now, due to the divisive social and political landscape, be navigating even more stressworryanxiety, and depression. For mental health professionals, this means the people seeking help from us may be initiating more conversations about discrimination and oppression than in the past.

In an unstable political climate, many experience stress, anxiety, and other mental health effects. How can therapists act as allies in the face of oppression?

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