Like many of us, I have been emotionally moved and disturbed by recent political events. Concerns over the choice of US president, the rise of the far right in Europe and Brexit have been driving many of us towards social and political initiatives.
I always believed that our work as therapists could make a real difference in people’s lives and that we could change the world one person at a time. The work of raising awareness, reducing psychological pain, educating and facilitating growth, empowering and encouraging people to live more authentic lives – all have an impact not only in an individual’s life, but also in their relationship with others, beginning in their immediate family and spreading to their community and society as a whole.
However, in turbulent times like this, my work within the confines of the consulting room does not feel like enough. The demonstrations on 21st January moved and inspired me to become even more involved in social change. The personal is the political. We all exist in a social, political and historical context and bring this with us into the therapy room. Whatever my part is in society, I hope I can continue to contribute in whichever small way by joining forces with a larger collective of like-minded individuals. May we as a society move more towards values that support fairness, equality, and better relationships between people, nations and the environment.
I hope this isn’t a utopic hope for the world, which denies the shadow aspects of human beings. In the therapy room, as in life, the personal is the political and I will continue to hold the values dear to me both within and outside of these four walls.
Sam Jahara is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and relational transactional analyst.