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 have 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.

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.

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.