Especially in times such as these, but really in all times, I feel it is important to be explicit about about the connection between the personal and the political. Therapy work happens with the individual and therefore can lend itself to a somewhat insular work that doesn’t involve the larger world. To my mind this misses one of the most important aspects of further levels of development and happiness – our sense of connection to others and the collective.
Justice and Love
This doesn’t mean that in therapy with me society or politics is necessarily discussed, though there is certainly room for that and it can be important at times. What will probably enter our work in one way or another will be the reality that as a social species many of our fears, pains and reactions relate to others and to our beliefs around our place within the group. Working with this is one of the essential human tasks and one of the essential human opportunities. How we see and treat othersis inextricably linked to how we see and treat ourselves.
The philosopher and social critic Cornell West wrote “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Justice is what love looks like in public. Love has a personal manifestation, but it also has a societal manifestation. And love, even love that seems deeply personal, involes equality and justice. A society is a collection of individuals. Individual and societal change are interconnected. Learning to love ourselves better and, as a result those around us, creates ripple effects that lead to justice and exercising justice is an act of loving better not only others, but ourselves. I believe therapy is best done from the perspective of working on universal growth through individuals. We are all interconnected, after all.