Challenges Facing Psychotherapists in the New Political Climate

April 18, 2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


1 CEU available for licensed social workers (nominal fee)–scroll down for more information.

With the change in the political climate in Washington, mental health professionals around the country, especially those working in Democratic strongholds, have been noticing high levels of politics-induced emotional distress in their clients—particularly those from vulnerable groups.

One of our alumni, an experienced clinical social worker/therapist, and one of our leading professors, a world expert on grief, discuss how to respond to clients’ politics-induced distress.

At this online event, we will address:

  • What impact are unwanted political changes having on the mental health of individuals and their families?
  • How are individuals managing their activated emotions like shock, anger, and fear?
  • What is the role of loss and grief in explaining the response to unwanted political change?
  • Given that the political climate is collective, therapists are also affected; what steps can they take to manage their own responses?

About the Presenters

SPEAKER: A 2004 graduate of Columbia University’s School of Social Work, Walter Vega has built his clinical social work practice around a commitment to serving families, particularly in communities of color. He began his social work career providing case management and counseling services to low-income families in Brooklyn, many of whom were recent immigrants to the United States. After completing a post-graduate training program at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, a leading training institute for family therapy, he joined the Ackerman faculty and now serves as Dean of Admissions. Likewise, Mr. Vega has played key administrative leadership roles at CSSW and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He regularly teaches as an adjunct professor at both of these institutions. He has a private practice in Brooklyn and Manhattan, seeing families, couples, and individuals. Go to Walter Vega’s bio page.

DISCUSSANT: Dr. M. Katherine Shear is the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry and the founding director of the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia School of Social Work. Dr. Shear is a clinical researcher who first worked in anxiety and depression. For the last two decades she has focused on understanding and treating people who experience persistent intense grief. She developed and tested complicated grief treatment (CGT), a short-term targeted intervention, and confirmed its efficacy in three large NIMH-funded studies. CGT is strength-based and focused on fostering adaptation to loss. Dr. Shear is widely recognized for her work in bereavement, including both research and clinical awards from the Association for Death Education and Counseling and invited authorship of articles for Uptodate and the New England Journal of Medicine. Go to Dr. Shear’s bio page.


NOTE: This event will take place at:

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CST

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MST

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PST

How it works:

We will be using Adobe Connect to host the Webinar. You will log in as a guest.


All registratrants will receive a reminder containing this link on the day of the event.

Note: You can log in on your mobile device by using the free Adobe Connect app, available for Android and iPhone.

To participate, you need:

  • A computer/mobile device & speakers/headphones.
  • An Internet connection: Ethernet is more reliable than wifi; any Internet browser should work except for Google Chrome.


How to earn continuing education credits:

Are you a NYS-, NJ- or CT-licensed social worker? If so, you are eligible to earn 1.0 contact hours for this event. To receive the certificate, you must attend the entire event in person and complete an evaluation. The processing fee for this service is $25. Certificates will be emailed within 30 days of the workshop. CSSW is an approved NYSED provider for continuing education contact hours and a CSWE-accredited institution.

Licensed Social Workers for other states, please refer to your state licensing agency and email

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify the impact unwanted political changes are having on the mental health of individuals and their families.
  • Define the role of loss and grief in explaining the response to unwanted political change.
  • Create steps they can take to manager their own responses to the political changes.

Cancellation and Refund Policies

Fees will be refunded less a $5.00 processing fee, if written notification is received by the Office of Professional Excellence up to two weeks prior to the workshop date.

Special Accommodations and Grievance Policy

For information on special accommodations or our grievance policy, click here.

Event sponsor:

This Online Event is brought to you by the Columbia School of Social Work’s Online Campus. Register for more information.



If you have any questions about the event, please contact We look forward to your participation on April 18th @1:00 p.m. EST!