Citizen Therapists for Democracy is an association of psychotherapists with a mission to:

  • Learn and spread ways to practice therapy that address the "public stress" experienced by so many of our clients,
  • Help people in our communities (including us therapists) to keep their emotional balance, enact their values, and avoid toxic polarization during the "Trump era" and beyond, and
  • Resist anti-democratic ideologies and practices through positive, democratic engagement.

What we mean by

Citizen Therapist

What we mean by


We are developing and spreading the theory and craft of psychotherapy as a democracy-building practice in the consulting room and society.
We’ll start with three interest areas:

Clinical Conversations

Exploring the connection between personal and public issues in therapy, helping clients cope in this difficult era, promoting personal agency necessary for healthy living and democratic citizenship, and developing an ethical framework for this kind of practice.

Community Engagement

Working outside the office to help other community members cope in a difficult era, to promote understanding and common ground in divided communities (without ignoring differences), to promote collective agency across differences in the public domain, and to speak out in opposition to policies and practices that undermine public mental health and threaten democracy.

Self of the Therapist

Developing and sharing ways to keep our emotional balance during these troubled times, avoiding becoming numb or constantly agitated, managing our reactivity when dealing with clients and community members whose values and beliefs concern or alarm us.

Here's what membership can mean to you: 

  1. Being connected to a movement of therapists that can make a difference.
  2. Learning skills and strategies for helping clients who are struggling in the Trump era and for working sensitively with clients whose values are different from yours.
  3. Locating concrete ways to get involved in your community during the years ahead, including presentations for people who are distressed and dialogues across the political chasm.
  4. Getting self-of-the therapist support during this challenging time: how to keep your balance in the therapy room, in the community, and in your personal life.
  5. Exploring the ethical implications of citizen therapist work, including boundary issues in therapy and in the community, and the social responsibility of therapists in communities and society.
  6. Regular webinars and access to free continuing education ethics credits .

Is Citizen Therapists for Democracy Right for You?

There are many pathways ahead and many different groups to possibly affiliate with. So it’s important to know if this group is likely to fit with your priorities for action. Read more to find out if Citizen Therapists for Democracy is right for you here.

You're probably a good fit if most of the following describes you.

  • You’re strongly motivated to heal toxic divisiveness and bolster democratic values and practices at this time of threat.
  • You’re intrigued by how psychotherapy can include conversations about how the public realm and the personal realm intersect.
  • You want to engage in your community as an agent of de-polarization and support for people looking for alternatives to going numb or being continually agitated. [Note: not everyone will be interested in this one]
  • You want to move beyond calling out Trump’s obvious flaws.
  • You’re curious about people who supported Trump instead of being confident they are ignorant, bigoted, or brainwashed.
  • You don’t think that therapists or political progressives have nearly all the answers to our nation’s problems.
  • You’re attracted to the idea of being in an organization that includes political conservatives who agree with you on core values but were not fans of Hillary Clinton.

Meet Our Founder - Bill Doherty

William J. Doherty is a therapist, academic, and community organizer. He is a professor in the Department of Family Social Science in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Citizen Professional Center and the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project. With his daughter Elizabeth, he founded The Doherty Relationship Institute. He has practiced as a therapist for 40 years. In June 2016 he wrote a Citizen Therapist Manifesto Against Trumpism, which attracted over 3,800 signatories and widespread media attention. Then he decided to launch Citizen Therapists for Democracy.

Origin of Citizen Therapists for Democracy

Well, the election didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. After two days of shock and dismay, I decided that therapists had to organize for the long haul—and not just to block Donald Trump. We had to work to protect and restore our democratic way of life. We had to become engaged citizen therapists. Read full text.

How it Works

  • This is a lifetime membership
  • Application takes less than 5 minutes
  • Approval is immediate and membership material is instantly available
  • The dues are $200 for lifetime access (full-time students, $100 and retired therapists, $100)