One Washington, D.C.-based therapist’s clients have 99 problems, and they all seem to be about President Donald Trump.
Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, a psychotherapist and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, writes in The Washington Post that a number of her patients have been complaining that the media’s fixation on Trump is taking a toll on their personal lives.
One couple that she works with (who she names Sally and Steve) have been seeing LaMotte to “strengthen their communication and feel more connected.” It seemed like they were making real progress. That is, until Trump won. She quotes Steve:
Sally and I value that our political views are compatible. We have always enjoyed discussing current events, and our careers relate to politics, as you know. I initially took comfort in the fact that we went through the shock of Trump’s victory together, but something has changed. Sally is constantly reading news updates on her phone and watching CNN, even in the middle of the night. It’s gone too far. It’s no longer something that connects us; it’s now a wedge between us.
Sally and Steve aren’t alone, apparently. LaMotte writes that this “dynamic” is one she’s seen “with other couples and individual therapy clients” she works with.
So, what’s fueling these issues? “Stress is, in my experience, increase — the stress associated with news consumption,” according to LaMotte.
“A surprising number of couples in therapy are fighting with each other about their respective modes of news consumption. These couples report less sleep, a growing sense of disconnection and less sex. And this includes couples where both members share the same political views,” she writes.
Her findings are backed by recent studies that show “increased levels of consumption of news” can compromise “emotional well-being over time.”
One of LaMotte’s clients complains that her boyfriend is “sick of me screaming at the television. I’ve started watching Fox to branch out of the so called bubble, and it’s all lies, I can’t stand it!”
Improved “sleep hygiene,” LaMotte writes, can help alleviate the stress associated with the constant onslaught of news updates. By 10 p.m., she prescribes, all screens should be off. After all, “losing the screens an hour or two before bed is conducive to better sleep and more sex.”
Of course, if you need to see a shrink because of a couple of Trump tweets, maybe you have more serious issues.
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