Dear Clinical Students,
As a greeting to this new calendar year I wanted to ask “What is it that bothers you in the world?”
As I write, I know that some of the answers will be individual personal responses to things not well in your life, and that (ahem) some of your academic needs may be addressed by me as the Chair of our Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs (do bring your concerns up to me and us).
But in my question, I wanted to invite you to consider being open to suffering and problems visible to you in our world. I know the list can be long. And I also know that many if not most of you are working with individuals and communities in the way that seeks to address these varied levels of suffering through your presence as clinicians.
Still, I wanted to invite myself and all of us as a clinical community is to support and nurture our radical edges that indeed become hot and bothered by cultural and institutional injustices. I believe that depth psychological perspective can contribute a great deal to ad-dressing these injustices, and I want to garnish our collective rage and power to address them. To name a few that are visible in our culture:
- Racism that leaves so many dead and wounded
- Scapegoating of immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants
- Homophobia that continues to dictate relational spaces and vilify that which is not
- considered “the norm”
- Sexism that leads to denigration and violence
- Environmental crimes that place profits over value of the Earth
- Continued growing divide between those who are very rich and who are very poor
I know that we can address these issues on many varied levels (e.g. voting, writing petitions, being active in our communities), and hope that we do find spaces for our voice and actions that stand up to these problems – our depth perspective allows us to see how even subtle forms of these prejudices and actions can perpetuate hurtful unconscious attitudes at all
levels; how collective social unconscious values will display themselves as “truths;” how the anger and rage at the injustice will be turned on communities themselves; and how