when your therapist trolls you about the election

The day after the election, on Reddit’s /r/psychotherapy board, someone posted a question about handling the election when it comes up in sessions. TimeandPsychology, who appears to be a 26-year-old male social worker, gave the following response:

I took this as an opportunity to talk with my clients about acceptance, trust, and only worrying about the things that are within your ability to control. I had one crisis call for a child over reacting to a group of Trump supporters. I think this can be a great opportunity to help people work on their anxiety control, as well as challenging their cognitive distortions. So not believing that every Trump supporter is a racist, homophobic, and so forth, but to look at other reasons people may choose to elect them. I also took the time to talk about given the numbers people of minority status, and different sexual orientations had to have voted for him, showing that some people, regardless of personal factors found a way to relate to Trump. I wasn’t really pushing the ideology of supporting him, but pushing them to understand why other’s might support him, and find common interest with those people, while learning better social skills to better navigate those things that lead to conflict. And before anyone gets all upset, yes I did validation of feelings and let them know that they are safe to say what ever they would like to express, however I pushed them to explore the issue fully.

Everything about that is wrong, but I’m sure conversations like it are happening all across the country, adding to people’s distress. Literally every sentence is harmful.

I took this as an opportunity to talk with my clients about acceptance, trust, and only worrying about the things that are within your ability to control.

Uncontrollable stress is the worst kind, and the crux of the problem is that you can’t trust white people. After accepting reality, certain defensive tactics are within your control, but we face the danger of arbitrary and irrational violence, with the approval or participation of the state. You can’t trust the state to protect you. Who is he implying that we should trust? You can’t control the weather, but it would be foolish not to prepare for a hurricane you’ve been warned about. “There there, be passive” is worse than useless advice.

I had one crisis call for a child over reacting to a group of Trump supporters.

We know that bullying causes life-long damage to people, so what would be an example of insufficient stoicism in a child? The mere presence of vocal Trump supporters yelling “Trump” in proximity to minorities is not political advocacy. It’s racist bullying. Stigmatized children need to learn not to make such a fuss. The bullying is normal.

I think this can be a great opportunity to help people work on their anxiety control, as well as challenging their cognitive distortions.

It’s not an opportunity to work on anxiety control. It’s a maliciously-inflicted burden.

One of my worst experiences in therapy was the time Lacanian Lady thought she was “challenging cognitive distortions”, when she was actually interrupting me to make me belabor documented facts I was talking about. For example, I’d just read The Half Has Never Been Told, and I was talking about how much slavery and torture were fundamental to why America is a powerful country. She must have thought the truth was so bad that it sounded delusional or exaggerated. She didn’t know that “colorblind” ideology comes from conservatives shamelessly using MLK to oppose affirmative action. It got to be too much when I was “too angry” about my dad’s life, and she certainly had no concept of sharecropping in 1940s Mississippi.

Can TimeandPsychology be trusted to make the right call about what’s a distortion and what’s not?

So not believing that every Trump supporter is a racist, homophobic, and so forth, but to look at other reasons people may choose to elect them.

If you voted for Donald Trump because you think you’ll get a nice job in a revitalized economy, at the cost of fucking over minorities, that’s still racist. Any and all support for Donald Trump meant that bigotry was not a dealbreaker for you.

The KKK supported Donald Trump. If you voted for Trump, you voted with the KKK. The KKK is a terrorist organization. For white America, no fear is too ridiculous when it comes to fear of terrorists. No mercy is shown to terrorist supporters, and nobody cares why they hate us. Just blow them up or torture them. That fear Trump supporters have of ISIS coming here and replacing the Constitution with Sharia law? It’s like that, but a lot more plausible.

He’s demanding that minorities agree not to challenge the self-delusional justifications of racists.

I also took the time to talk about given the numbers people of minority status, and different sexual orientations had to have voted for him, showing that some people, regardless of personal factors found a way to relate to Trump.

You should be more like the self-hating members of stigmatized groups, because therapy is here to teach self-hatred. Right? White man reminding the minorities to hate themselves. Fancy that.

I wasn’t really pushing the ideology of supporting him, but pushing them to understand why other’s might support him, and find common interest with those people, while learning better social skills to better navigate those things that lead to conflict.

The burden isn’t on minorities to find common ground with people actively oppressing them. In fact, feminists have been saying for many years that their agenda is better for men, too. White people’s racism got in the way of class solidarity in the early 20th century labor movement. When the state kills black people, their mothers are ritualistically put on TV to be the bigger person and forgive the murderers in the name of white Jesus. “Social skills” means “knowing your place”, in this context.

And before anyone gets all upset, yes I did validation of feelings and let them know that they are safe to say what ever they would like to express, however I pushed them to explore the issue fully.

“I did validation of their feelings” is different than warmth and empathy, by the sound of it. The insincerity would be obvious. White people’s rules for how minorities behave have always been framed as being for our own good. It’s a terrible burden they have, civilizing us.