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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

 Psychotherapists Who Advocate Politically To Their Patients

A July 16, 2023 article in The Wall Street Journal ("The Doctor Won't See You Now - Therapists who judge, recoil, or quietly rage at their patients can't provide effective therapy") quoted psychologists who advocate political positions to their patients, blaming the patient's unhappiness on these rather than unwise personal decisions. But here the patient is smarter than the doctor.

People know why they come to therapy. No patient raised a political issue during my long work as a psychologist in hospital, clinic, and private practice settings. They spoke of anxiety or depression or marital/parenting/job problems but never that, not even people holding political office.
What it comes down to the clinician's  lack of understanding what psychotherapy is and not acknowledging the historically accepted belief in the power of the unconscious. As a psychiatrist colleague, a long-time government consultant, once remarked to me, "The unconscious is very powerful and one must respect its power."

Lacking sophistication of developmental psychopathology (a term devised by my doctoral advisor) and child psychological development has created other issues including the current gender misconceptions. Long ago, during a months long graduate school course at Columbia University ("Human Reproduction and Sexual Development") taught by an OB/GYN, the word "gender" was never uttered.
A reader's comment to The Wall Street Journal article spoke of clinicians having their own emotional problems and suggested that sufferers avoid mental health treatment. While a 1970s paper in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic acknowledged this ("The Sad Soul of the Psychiatrist"), having experienced and resolved life issues can create a more effective, intuitive clinician. They having unresolved emotional problems are, of course, another matter. Nuff said.

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