How does your work as a therapist contribute to the wider world?
It's a question couples and family therapist Bill Doherty asks his colleagues often. As the founder of Citizen Therapists for Democracy, Doherty believes that therapists aren't just professionals providing a service behind closed doors, but members of a democracy with responsibilities to the larger community and public health.
In the following interview with Networker senior writer Lauren Dockett, Doherty shares what it means to be a "citizen therapist" and what you can do to take your therapeutic contributions one step further.
Becoming a citizen therapist isn't out of reach for most therapists, Doherty notes. After all, much of our work surrounds helping our clients become agents of their own lives and, through this, advocates for their communities.
But should we speak up when political rhetoric appears to threaten community goodwill?
"Political stress can be dealt with in therapy much like other types of stress," Doherty notes. Leave an invitation in your waiting room letting clients know they can talk about politics with you if they'd like to do so. As long as it's therapeutically relevant, suggesting active coping behaviors like getting involved in community organizations, volunteering, and advocacy can breathe new life into your work that's as fulfilling for you as it is for your clients.