An Open Letter to Clients about Political Stress – Citizen Therapists for Democracy

An Open Letter to Clients about Political Stress

Some of our clients may be feeling distressed about the current political climate but not sure that it’s appropriate to bring this up in therapy, or to really delve into it rather than making it part of the conversational banter prior to starting the “real” work of the session. Some therapists have found it useful to write an open letter to their clients giving them the go ahead to talk about their public stress. Often the result is that more people say what’s troubling them.

Below is a draft that you can adapt to your own writing style and client population. You could say the same thing in a couple of sentences if you like, or you could write a lot more about other public stresses your clients are experiencing. Then put it in your waiting room or on your website - and consider sending your clients an email pointing to the link. 

Dear Clients,

We’re living in troubled times. I feel it, and most people I know feel it. I’m writing this note to let you know that I’m open to talking about something not always brought up in therapy: how what’s going on in the public and political world is affecting you and your relationships, and how are you are coping.

  • After a divisive Presidential election, a lot of people are upset and feeling discouraged by the political in-fighting in this country.
  • There is great uncertainty about what the upcoming years will look like. Some people are feeling alarmed, insecure, and threatened, while others feel hopeful that necessary change will happen. And those two kinds of people are often at odds with one another.
  • I see both liberal and conservative members of our community feeling as if their values are no longer acceptable in the public arena—and to some of their friends and family.

The list could go on. For now, consider yourself invited to bring your concerns about the public world into our conversations in therapy. No expectation or requirement that you do so, of course—just if you think it might be helpful.

I’m here to listen, support you, and help you figure out how to manage today’s stresses while living a life that’s in keeping with your personal and community values.

My best to you,

Bill Doherty