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Thread: Therapists feeling the pain of some Kerry voters who despair over the lost election

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    Cool Therapists feeling the pain of some Kerry voters who despair over the lost election

    Therapists feeling the pain of some Kerry voters who despair over the lost election


    November 6, 2004

    This week, many therapists in Kerry-friendly New York found their clients left personal issues at home, instead seeking professional help for post-election political despair.

    Manhattan psychologist Bonnie Maslin said many of her patients cried about the lost election and the reality of the Republican victory. They talked about hopelessness. They said they felt isolated, depressed and angry.

    "There is a lot of grieving and mourning - not unlike the Jewish shivah," Maslin said. "The level of devastation is enormous. Patients are saying they feel that the things they cherish and value are under siege. They feel threatened."

    Maslin, a practicing psychologist since 1973, said she "has never seen tears around politics" in her office. But she understands, and counsels patients to go through the grieving "so they don't become paralyzed by it."

    Joseph LeDoux, a professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University, said any threatening news triggers a flood of stress hormones that can amplify and prolong negative feelings.

    The post-election emotions of many who voted for Sen. John Kerry may mirror clinical depression, but experts say they aren't necessarily signs of a psychiatric condition.

    "These are genuine feelings," said Myrna Weissman, a depression researcher at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "But as much as political leaders are important, they are not family or friends. These are not the events that cause real impairment in functioning."

    But Dr. Kerry Sulkowicz, a psychoanalyst and clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University's School of Medicine, believes "people are genuinely worried that Bush is our leader." He said virtually all of his patients this week said they feel depressed about the fate of the country. "They feel helpless and dismayed by Bush's staying power."

    Alan Hilfer, director of training in the department of psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, observed that "They don't quite understand what the majority of the country is feeling. But people are resilient. ... By next week, people will be talking about their own issues again."

    Hilfer said he is finding that patients who actually worked on the Kerry campaign are coping better than those who only voted for him.

    So what should a losing voter do?

    "Some people will become passive, and lose their belief that what they do matters," said Christopher Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies how people respond to bad events. He cautions people not to let that happen.

    "There is always another election. Democracy worked," he tells his students. "Even the Red Sox eventually won the World Series."

    His research on coping shows that giving up and getting emotional "is a sure-fire way to guarantee future failure."

    He and others recommend local activism as a way to counter depressed feelings.

    Maslin agreed, but advised her patients to respect their period of mourning.

    Dr. David Schlager, clinical assistant professor at Stony Brook University Hospital, warned that if hopelessness persists, it may signal an undiagnosed depression that could be coloring a person's exaggerated and prolonged response to the election. In that case, people should seek professional help, Schlager said.
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    Jesus H. CHRIST!

    Jeebs, these motherfuckers need to get a life and get over it! This is beyond stupid...this is PATHETIC!
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