Why Therapists Are Having Such A Hard Time Talking About Trump

By Soumya Karlamangla
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Therapists nationwide say they’ve been overwhelmed by the strong feelings triggered by Donald Trump, one of the most divisive figures in modern political history. Some mental health professionals have abandoned neutrality, while others are struggling to maintain it.

LOS ANGELES

In her 35 years as a therapist, Arlene Drake has never heard so many clients talking about the same issue. Week after week, they complain of panic attacks and insomnia because of President Donald Trump. They’re too anxious to concentrate at work. One woman’s fear turned into intense physical pain.

“It’s just a nightmare,” said Drake, who practices in West Los Angeles.

Drake was trained not to reveal her personal beliefs, but now will agree with clients if they say they don’t support Trump.

“If this were just another session, if this weren’t such a big thing, if this weren’t so evil, I wouldn’t,” she said. “But I have to stand for what I stand for, and that does cross over into politics.”

Therapists nationwide say they’ve been overwhelmed by the strong feelings triggered by one of the most divisive figures in modern political history.

Some patients who support Trump say they feel isolated because they can’t share who they voted for in their workplace or home for fear of being harassed or called xenophobic or misogynistic. With few people to talk to freely, they turn to online forums and their therapists.

Opening up about voting for Trump has stoked conflict with family and friends. One therapist mediated a case in which an adult son threatened to cut off his relationship with his parents because they voted for Trump.

Some mental health professionals, such as Drake, have abandoned neutrality, while others are struggling to maintain it.

Therapists on both sides of the political aisle are grappling with how to help patients affected by a national issue over which they have little control.

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