Three mornings ago, I left for work full of rage over recent events and how they are just the latest manifestation of long-term, horrible problems. My first client of the day was a Trump supporter (though how much he is now, I’m not sure). I thought to myself, if he was going to mention Drumpf in any way or bring up what happened in Charlottesville, I would put on my social work advocacy/policy hat next to my clinical one and reflect back to him how ignorant and fearful a place he lives from. This is someone I have worked with for seven years. He’s done some good work with me and there’s deep investment in the therapeutic relationship both ways.
To my joy, right away, I was able to naturally steer the conversation to how the client can start patronizing his local farmers’ market(s) and engage more with others around him, including his public officials. I wove in his strengths and interests, such as his gardening and love of helping others. I framed this all within his ongoing need to socially network more beyond just attending AA meetings every week, to counter his isolation and subsequent worsening of anxiety and depression. He left feeling more hopeful and I did as well. Change starts within, at home, and locally.