The election is over, but the emotionally charged political climate has left a lasting mark on some people's personal relationships.
"A lot of things have gotten stirred up, and people have strong feelings about things that are close to them," said Pam Finger, LCSW. She and four other local therapists who help clients deal with conflict every day want to apply those skills to help people heal their relationships after a bitter and divisive election.
"We have seen people who are unable to speak to their neighbor, who wonder what kind of a person they are because of the sign in their yards, that was different from the sign in their own yards; people who are unable to speak with co-workers or family members," said mediator and relationship specialist Gail Ferraioli.
Ferraioli and Finger recommend actively listening to people you disagree with.
"Both people can express what it is that they want to say and have the other hear it clearly enough to share it back with them to make sure they have a clear understanding, and to respect that there are differences."
Active listening and mirroring a person’s words is not the same as agreeing with that person.
"We're asking people not to defend a political party or to speak for other people, but only to speak to their experiences that have led them to believe what they do believe, so we're coming at it from a much more personal point," Ferraioli said.
Five Rochester area therapists are inviting the public to attend their program on respectful conversations this weekend.
It's taking place in the Gathering Room at Asbury First United Methodist Church at 1050 East Avenue, Rochester 14607 this Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.