Does your client have a friend or family member they’re stressed about seeing? Someone they’re uncomfortable being around because of their political views?
It’s a common situation for many clients (and practitioners, too) – and it can be hard to connect with these people when we disagree so strongly.
But Frank Anderson, MD has an interesting perspective on how we might approach this.
You see, Frank recently had an experience that transformed a strained relationship with someone in his own family – someone he was dreading sitting down to eat with.
So in the video below, he’ll get into what it was that allowed them to forge a deeper connection. Plus, he’ll describe how we might approach the political divide from an IFS perspective.
Have a look.
One of the things that happens in IFS, Internal Family Systems, is what we call polarizations, or polarities. People call them conflicts, different views.
Often, conflicts or different views are protective responses to the same wound. For example, one part of me drinks because it wants to get away from my pain. The other part of me is suicidal because it wants to get away from my pain. But these parts are in conflict. And when you listen to the part that wants to drink in your client, and when you listen to the part that’s suicidal in your client, you often find that both of those parts are protecting the same wound, they just do it in very different ways. And I believe that’s what’s happening in culture and society in this political polarity, that you can hold an extreme belief that are seemingly polar opposites, but they’re often rooted in the same wound.
And so I would really like to bridge the political divide as I did with my family member at that family wedding, and be able to see the commonality in our wounding. And interestingly enough, I will tell you, when we left the wedding and both went to our respective homes, we got on our planes, we hugged each other. And it was the first time we hugged each other ever in our lives, because he felt my wound and I felt his wound. And we joined in our pain, not in our fighting, and not in our protection.
Now, this is just one perspective on working with this issue. So if you’re interested in more viewpoints on how to help clients work through political differences with the people closest to them, check out the links below.
But now we’d like to hear from you. What are your main takeaways from this video? How would you carry this into your work with clients? Let us know in the comments.
If you found this helpful, here are a few more resources you might be interested in:
Political Differences at Holiday Dinners
When Political Differences Hurt Relationships
When Racism Triggers Emotional Reactivity
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