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Experts weigh-in on how to heal our divided country

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Posted at 5:47 AM, Nov 09, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — The voters have spoken, and after months of a tense election cycle, a new leader will hold the most powerful office in the world come January. Now that the election is over, how does a nation so divided heal from the most unprecedented time in our country's history?

Psychology experts say what we need the most is to connect with people who are having similar reactions to how we're feeling. After that, it's time to start reaching out to people with whom you might have political disagreements.

First, you can start by letting them know you care. Let them know what you hope to get out of the conversation ahead of time. If both of you are willing to get past the political rift, chances are you will.

"Try to understand where the other person is coming from," explained Jamie Saal, a psychotherapist at the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine. "Try to listen to them without going into a discussion trying to change someone's mind. That's really not active listening."

Saal says it's also important to give the other person uninterrupted time to speak. When you do talk, reflect back to them what you heard, rather than countering with your own argument with some people.

You may never see eye-to-eye on politics but that doesn't mean you can't repair your relationship.

"There are a lot of things to connect on besides politics and sometimes it's good to refocus on those things and leave the political issues aside if you can't make progress there," Saal said.

Experts say by having these conversations, you may begin to realize that we may not be as divided as you might think. Our perception is that people are mostly on the extremes, but the truth is most people are more in the middle.