Dr. Tania Israel discusses tips for how to have productive conversations regarding hot-button political issues if they should arise in supervision and training. The first tip is that no matter what your motivation, the best thing you can do is promote understanding.
It is important to create an environment where people feel they are not being unfairly evaluated due to their political views. Instead of making assumptions about their views, explore with them how their views might play out in a clinical context. Next, allow uninterrupted speaking and reflect back what you hear using “I” statements. Be willing to ask open-ended questions during the conversation.
When asking questions, try to be curious and nonjudgmental. Focus on the other individual and assume they have positive intentions. Try to consider why they might hold their views and what values are important for them that reinforce these views. If a supervisee has had limited exposure regarding a specific topic, be willing to explore this with them during supervision and identify opportunities in their community that might help them become more exposed. It is important to give supervisees the opportunity to grow in their understanding.
Israel, T. (2020). Beyond your bubble: How to connect across the political divide, skills and strategies for conversations that work. APA LifeTools.
James Bender, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern