514 Therapists as Agents of Hope

Our Role in a Polarized World

In the toxic polarization of our society, most of us stay focused on our traditional work of personal healing, trying to steer clear of the struggles in our wider culture. But that outside world keeps impinging on our clients’ lives—and our own. COVID mask fights and vaccine wars, voter suppression versus stolen elections, racial justice versus hating America, climate catastrophe versus ruining the economy—the troubling list is long. As therapists, do we just take sides and hold contempt for the political “other,” therefore becoming part of the polarization? Or can we apply a larger therapeutic vision to the problems of our society? Explore a larger vision for our role as therapists. You’ll discover how to:

  • Identify the connection between your current clinical work and societal polarization.
  • Develop skills in bridging gaps between individuals and groups who see themselves as opposing the political “other”
  • Practice depolarization skills in your own life and work
  • Connect with organizations and initiatives where you can use your knowledge and skills for the public good

William Doherty, PhD, is a professor and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota. He is cofounder of Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America. His books include The Ethical Lives of Clients: Transcending Self-Interest in Psychotherapy.

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November 16, 2021
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