Editor's Note


November/December 2008


To the bold, expansive systems thinkers of the '60s and '70s, it seemed perfectly natural that if we really wanted to help our clients change, we couldn't ignore the society in which they lived. But then, with the political and economic shifts of the '80s and '90s--the end of the public money for community mental health centers, the tightening grip of managed care, the decline of insurance reimbursement--the struggle just to make a living took center stage for more and more of us. Like the economy , we therapist "privatized" ourselves and our view of our work, took a step back from a larger social vision, and refocused on individual problems and psyches.

Now, as the stakes seem to be getting higher and higher, the tide may be changing again. The United States has just been through one of the fiercest, most momentous presidential contests in its history, the result of which remains to be determined as we go to press. Whoever got your vote, it seems clear that the major issue driving the campaign--the economic meltdown and the credit crunch, war and terrorism, global warming and energy crisis, health-care and "family values"--profoundly affect everybody in our society, including therapist and clients. It's become evident that we can't afford to pretend anymore that the troubles people bring to our offices are purely "private," completely contained within their own individuals psyches, uncontaminated by what's going on in the outside world.

All well and good,…

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