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Therapist offers tips on talking politics with family

Posted at 10:38 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 23:38:17-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — If it wasn’t clear enough before the election, it certainly is now: political divisions in this country are strong. Mid-state therapist Cris Cannon says he’s seen more patients bring in problems with politics and family now more than ever.

He says it’s driven by fear and insecurity brought on by social injustice, COVID-19 and the change politicians could bring.

"Now in this great insecurity, we want to have one thing that we can say is absolutely right," Cannon said. "And out of that, we give things more power than family."

So how can you better talk to your loved ones about politics, especially if they disagree with you? Cannon says you should first ask yourself what the purpose of the conversation is.

"So, for instance, if the goal of the discussion is, 'I want my son/ daughter/son-in-law/uncle/aunt to see things my way,' that’s probably not going to happen. So if you walk into the discussion with unrealistic goals, the only thing that’s going to result is conflict," Cannon said.

And if a loved one asks you about politics, Cannon says there are techniques you can use too.

"Keep your emotions in check, let the person say their piece, then simply say something like, 'I appreciate your perspective. I’m not sure I share that perspective, but I appreciate hearing it. Hey, what about those Titans!' In other words, segue to something else," Cannon said.