What therapists in Florida call PEST (post election selection trauma), sounds an awful lot like a spoiled temper tantrum, and a bunch of hate filled extremists to me. At a therapy session for PEST victims, the participants revealed their hatred for religion and willingness to use violence to get their way. One of the therapists points out that his patients are terrified of Rush Limbaugh. My question is, why are they listening to him?!!! If they can’t figure out how to change the station, they may need more than visualization techniques.
Twenty John Kerry supporters met for their first group therapy session in
South Florida Thursday, screaming epithets at President Bush as they shared
their emotions with licensed mental health counselors.
The first of several free noontime therapy sessions at the American Health
Association in Boca Raton was designed to treat what mental health
counselors have dubbed Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST).
â€œIf I had a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and these people wanted to throw darts at it, I would let them do it,â€ Robert J. Gordon, AHA executive director, told the Boca News after the session. â€œItâ€™s no joke. People with PEST were traumatized by the election. If you even mention religion, their faces turn blister-red as they shout at Bush.â€
Although the meeting was closed to the press, AHA therapists obtained permission from participants to provide an anonymous transcript to the Boca Raton News.
â€œIâ€™m scared,â€ said one man. â€œDemocracy is at stake and nobody is rising to protest this president.â€ â€œI want to be a patriot, but itâ€™s impossible to be a patriot in an immoral war,â€ said another participant, a woman. â€œBush is breaking up marriages and dividing families by keeping our troops in Iraq.â€
Gordon said the participants also granted reluctant permission to open up next Thursdayâ€™s meeting to the general press. Reporters will be forbidden from taking photographs or using the real names of patients. â€œThe media outlets, especially Rush Limbaugh and his ilk on talk radio, scare our patients to death,â€ said Gordon, facilitator for the meetings. â€œMore than anything else, people with PEST tremble physically.â€
Gordon said the Kerry supporters in therapy are predominantly Jewish and older than 50. Most are registered independents and all live in Palm Beach County.
â€œWe mostly let them vent during the first session,â€ Gordon said. â€œBy the third session, weâ€™ll be doing some meditation exercises to aid some of their symptoms. We may use visualization and some techniques designed for bipolar disease and other mental disorders. That might help them adjust to reality.â€
According to AHA officials, symptoms of PEST are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. They include nightmares, sleeplessness, hostility,
listlessness, and emotional outbursts including threats to leave the country.
â€œThereâ€™s an overall sense of emotional helplessness and abandonment,â€ said Sheila Cooperman, a licensed AHA psychotherapist from Delray Beach. â€œIn psychology, we call it â€˜learned helplessness.â€™ After you zap a caged dog twice, he stops moving because he knows there is no place to go. Thatâ€™s what happened with these Kerry voters. Theyâ€™ve been zapped so many times that theyâ€™re on the verge of giving up on politics.â€
Cooperman, also a practicing psychic, added, â€œOne person today said he thinks the country is now run by fascists. Another felt personally threatened by the presidentâ€™s love for big business. Many believe Bush is going to draft their grandchildren. The anxiety may not affect them every day, but it affects their energy level.â€
An additional 30 people are signed up for two other AHA election support groups, which will meet for the remainder of the year and possibly beyond.
Gordon said his patientsâ€™ emotional problems typically started with the â€œhanging chadâ€ debacle of 2000. â€œFirst, they need to realize theyâ€™re not going to overturn the 2004 election,â€ Gordon said. â€œThey have to live with it. The problem is they have no faith because they think the religious right has hijacked the political system. We try to tell them there is still an election in 2008. You canâ€™t just give up and be apathetic.â€
The AHA, using a holistic approach to health that has been mocked as new age voodoo by some national talk show hosts, has stressed to patients that their post-election emotions are normal and deserve to be taken seriously.
â€œThese people talk about the 2000 election being stolen,â€ Gordon said. â€œThey talk about Theresa LePore and the Ohio recount. They feel itâ€™s the â€˜Right House,â€™ not the White House. They feel the world is not safe with George W. Bush as president. They spewed out a lot of anger. They are angry at the Democratic Party for being aimless and leaderless. They have a right to