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Nov 15, 2016

Hope in a Time When It is Needed Most

I am still trying to wrap my head around what has occurred during this past election week. As a staunch supporter of minority rights in all capacities, I and many others in the nation have been stunned to realize that those very rights are in jeopardy once again.

I am trying very hard to not take the hate – such as those who wish for those rights to be taken away carry - and make it my own, but I have to admit it has been very difficult. In light of people’s outcry, whether it is for or against what has transpired, I have unfollowed people on social media and most likely have been unfollowed myself. I have seen people I thought I truly knew say and support things that I have been shocked and dismayed by. I have had healthy and eye opening conversations which, although uncomfortable, have helped me see why choices were made. I have joined a few groups and signed a few petitions that I believe need to be supported at this time. I have cried with clients and I have held emergency sessions for those who fear for their safety. I have seen horrific racial slurs strewn across cars and so called pranks that were not in the least remotely funny as they are based on a time that should long be gone. I have received private messages from friends and colleagues raising true concerns about the safety of their families.

I am still unclear how to proceed myself let alone help clients. I am not sure that there has been a time where such a mass cause and effect has happened in which it touches everyone in a multitude of ways except for 9/11. I think back to that time and how we all rallied together for the common good and how we got through it together.

Today, I am not sure that will be so easy. Just looking at the statistics alone, it is clear to see that there is a divide cut so deep in our nation that the idea of coming together seems near impossible.

For now, all I have is hope and to be honest that is a bit thin right now. But I do hope that, somehow, we can educate one another and learn from one another in a way we have not done in a long time, if ever. I hope that we can step out of our own box and help those around us who desperately need it right now. I hope that the fear that is being perpetuated and fanned is a fever that will burn out soon because those who have it – including myself – feel heard and understood. I hope that we address the concerns of those who feel threatened and marginalized - that we do something to make sure they not only feel safe, but are safe. I hope for so many things and I know you all do, too.

As counselors, that hope has to reach out to our work now more than ever before. We have to take a stand on the ethics we built our career on and do no harm. We must embrace our clients’ thoughts, feelings, fears, and emotions in a way that will support them and help them to the best of our ability. I am hoping – always hoping – that by doing this – we can make a difference.
Dr. Melissa Lee-Tammeus is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in LGB couples, anger, and grief and trauma. To learn more about Melissa, check out her webpage at 


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