I hear fellow counsellors wonder how the issue of Trump’s election will affect for instance female clients, yet whose values are being questioned here by posing this question? 42% of women voted for Trump in the US election and men and women voted almost equally for UKIP in 2015 here in the UK. Why are we not as counsellors interested primarily in why they would they vote for a man with his record of misogyny, rather than seeing it as an ‘issue’. Maybe we need to listen to Brexit voters and Trump voters for a change rather than bringing our own values.
When much of our client work is about seeing problems in context, – why would we want to support clients with a tendency to drama in their own lives, to get on the Brexit or Trump end of world train? Am I the only counsellor working in two great liberal metropoles – London and Cambridge – who had only two clients even mention Brexit to me, and only one today mention the US election result?
Lessons from Brexit and the US Election are that the liberal establishment won’t or can’t listen to a sizeable proportion of people here who feel marginalised. Are we part of the liberal establishment or seen by clients in this way when we disparage the views of those who feel excluded and vote ‘the wrong way’?
Opinion polls have now got both Brexit and the US election wrong because apparently people feel scared to admit they support a right of centre party, and apparently tell pollsters (again part of the establishment) what they want to hear. Do they do this with us too? Maybe we need to be listening more to our clients (something we all learn and commit to doing in training) rather than assuming that as they are our clients they share similar views on Europe, hate crimes, misogyny, climate change, immigration, globalisation, etc.
It is all very well us as counsellors holding political views but something’s adrift here, when we allow these to creep into the views we hold of our clients. When establishments in government become out of touch with the people, they are in electoral trouble. We too are in trouble as therapists if we start labelling clients as misguided for the way they vote.