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Florida Kerry supporters meet for group therapy

Old 12-03-04, 10:10 AM
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Florida Kerry supporters meet for group therapy

what an appropriate acronym - PEST

Voters shout epithets at President Bush during first PEST counseling session

Published Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 6:00 pm
by Sean Salai

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). “If I had a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and these people wanted to
throw darts at it, I would let them do it,” Robert J. Gordon, AHA executive director, told the Boca News after the session. “It’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.”

Although the meeting was closed to the press, AHA therapists obtained permission from participants to provide an anonymous transcript to the Boca Raton News.

“I’m scared,” said one man. “Democracy is at stake and nobody is rising to protest this president.”

“I want to be a patriot, but it’s impossible to be a patriot in an immoral war,” said another participant, a woman. “Bush is breaking up marriages and dividing families by keeping our troops in Iraq.”

Gordon said the participants also granted reluctant permission to open up next Thursday’s meeting to the general press. Reporters will be forbidden from taking photographs or using the real names of patients.

“The media outlets, especially Rush Limbaugh and his ilk on talk radio, scare our patients to death,” said Gordon, facilitator for the meetings. “More than anything else, people with PEST tremble physically.” 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.

“We mostly let them vent during the first session,” Gordon said. “By the third session, we’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.”

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.

“There’s an overall sense of emotional helplessness and abandonment,” said Sheila Cooperman, a licensed AHA psychotherapist from Delray Beach. “In psychology, we call it ‘learned helplessness.’ After you zap a caged dog twice, he stops moving because he knows there is no place to go. That’s what happened with these Kerry voters. They’ve been zapped so many times that they’re on the verge of giving up on politics.”

Cooperman, also a practicing psychic, added, “One person today said he thinks the country is now run by fascists. Another felt personally threatened by the president’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.”

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 patients’ emotional problems typically started with the “hanging chad” debacle of 2000.

“First, they need to realize they’re not going to overturn the 2004 election,” Gordon said. “They 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 can’t just give up and be apathetic.”

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.

“These people talk about the 2000 election being stolen,” Gordon said. “They talk about Theresa LePore and the Ohio recount. They feel it’s the ‘Right House,’ 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 these feelings.”

The Boca Raton News first reported on Nov. 9 that depressed Florida Kerry supporters were seeking trauma therapy in the wake of the Nov. 2 presidential election. One Boca psychologist alone, Douglas Schooler, eventually treated 20 Kerry voters with intense hypnotherapy — for a sliding fee.

The trauma specialist, whose bills were covered by clients’ insurance companies, was later accused by some colleagues of unethically “cashing in” on the misery of Kerry voters. In interviews with the Boca News, Schooler said many of the Kerry supporters had visited him for severe mental problems
prior to the election.

Unlike Schooler, the AHA is a registered Florida non-profit and its
therapists do not charge for sessions. Conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh recently offered their own “free therapy,” irking the AHA counselors.

this has to be the funniest thing I've read all year. If the CRAZY people are saying what you hear repeated through the general population, what's that mean for the general population!
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Old 12-03-04, 10:26 AM
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Ok, I'm happy Bush won and all, but it seems a bit immature to post stories like this.

No no no, don't let me stop you, just saying this now to get it out of the way.
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Old 12-03-04, 10:29 AM
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Re: Florida Kerry supporters meet for group sex

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Old 12-03-04, 10:39 AM
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Wonder if they serve Kool-Aid.
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Old 12-03-04, 10:44 AM
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Old 12-03-04, 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by Goldblum
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Old 12-03-04, 11:34 AM
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Fixed again.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by bhk
Fixed again.
bhk, I really enjoy your puns. My Life - My Lies, Move.On - Lose.On

Are you a writer for The Tonight Show?
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Old 12-03-04, 11:51 AM
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I am constantly amazed at what people will pay money for. It was a great idea for the counselor to come up with this. My guess is that they won't be cured for at least 4 years.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:55 AM
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Well kvrdave it is the land of opportunity ya know!
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Old 12-03-04, 11:57 AM
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bhk, I really enjoy your puns. My Life - My Lies, Move.On - Lose.On

Are you a writer for The Tonight Show?
Despite Leno continually begging and pestering me to join, No.

And I'm hurt that you forgot my favorite one: Lying History.

Last edited by bhk; 12-04-04 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 12-03-04, 01:46 PM
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Old 12-03-04, 01:57 PM
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Gomer needs therapy
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Old 12-03-04, 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by Myster X
Gomer needs therapy
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Old 12-08-04, 09:20 AM
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