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Politics on the Couch: Observations from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“Donald Trump is in the therapy room and he is blowing it up. Counselors, clinicians, and life coaches report that their clients are showing up with exacerbated experiences of paranoia, hypervigilance, anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, somatic complaints, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, and nightmares.” -Bella DePaulo, PhD

Many of my articles focus on psychological abuse, specifically narcissistic abuse. I have been quite vocal on my social media platforms about denouncing this kind of behavior in all settings (romance, family, work, community, and politics). As a licensed clinical social worker, one of my main professional ethics is social justice and with that, shining a flashlight on the darkness of civil rights infringements (criminalizing immigration, overt racism and misogyny, enabling unchecked power of gun lobbyists, ridiculing people with special needs, among many other troubling and enabled human rights abuses within the current administration).  It has been impossible to keep politics out of the therapy room, when the vast majority of my clients are survivors of psychological (and other forms) of abuse and discrimination.

 

Like many U.S. citizens, I am digesting the 2018 midterm election results. The NASW (National Association of Social Workers) supports progressive Democratic ideals which embrace cultural diversity, equality, integrity, universal access to good education and healthcare, gun regulation, legislation that holds abusers accountable to their actions, elimination of discrimination of oppressed groups and populations, and humane immigration policies, among many other concepts including but not limited to dignity and worth of the individual, and the importance and centrality of human relationships (NASW, 2018).

Here is what we know (facts) from the 2018 midterm election :

  1. Both Democrats and Republicans showed up to vote in large numbers.
  2. The Democrats took the House with approximately 35-40 new Democrats elected, the majority being women (two were the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress, as well as the first ever Native American woman, and the youngest woman ever elected).
  3. Democrats flipped 7 governorships (including the first ever openly gay governor winning).
  4. Republicans retained control of Senate (growing only by 3 Republicans…most open seats were in deep red states…however NY, ME, and CO got Democrat seats).
  5. The popular vote for both House and Senate was won by Democrats. Democrats got 3 million more votes than Republicans in House votes. Democrats got 10 million more votes than Republicans in the Senate.
  6. The three states that gave DJT his electoral college win – MI, WI, and PA – all went blue this election.

So what’s next for social justice warriors?

  • Continue to stay politically involved, engaged and informed. Call out policies and politicians who are abusing their power. Let the momentum of this midterm election transform into more political action to hold abusive leaders in check, so important for the upcoming 2020 election.
  • Remain community-minded. Studies show that the happiest people are thinking about the greatest good for all concerned, not about how they are going to profit as an individual at the expense of other fellow human beings.
  • Connect with other like-minded people. There is strength in community. Isolation breads depression and anxiety.
  • Do not succumb to gaslighting. Gaslighting is a tactic used by abusers on all levels designed to cause the targeted individual(s) /group(s) to doubt their reality of the situation and to fall prey to the abuser’s power and control tactics. Cult leaders, demagogues, batterers, and narcissistic politicians, and pathological religious leaders all deploy this weapon. Be on guard and fact-check your news-feed.
  • Remain hopeful and optimistic. Remember that our country is still in its infancy. Study and learn how older and well-established countries have evolved. We are experiencing tremendous growing pains in our country, much of which centers on evolving past narcissism on a political, collective and individual level.

 

Retrieved from Nov. 7, 2018: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/201806/what-s-trump-doing-in-your-therapy-room

Retrieved from Nov. 7, 2018: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/03/ten-easy-steps-that-will-make-you-a-happier-person

Retrieved from Nov. 7, 2018: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/calendar-primary-results.html

Retrieved from Nov. 7, 2018: https://www.socialworkers.org/Advocacy

Politics on the Couch: Observations from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Los Angeles, CA. She provides psychotherapy for individuals experiencing trauma and loss (ranging from women's reproductive mental health to recovery from toxic relationships in love/work/family, from special needs parenting to grief work). She is also a writer, educator, and podcaster. Website:

http://www.andreaschneiderlcsw.com/


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APA Reference
Schneider, A. (2018). Politics on the Couch: Observations from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 19, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/savvy-shrink/2018/11/politics-on-the-couch-observations-from-a-licensed-clinical-social-worker/

 

Last updated: 9 Nov 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Nov 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.