"To decrease the political divide, we must understand the various factors that work to divide us," Waldroff writes. "One thing we can do right now as individuals is pause and consider our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and identify the psychological factors at play. The ability to place our own behaviors and the behaviors of others into a psychological framework can allow us to reflect on what we are experiencing and help us to understand and shape our actions."

He interviewed Kirk Schneider, PhD, adjunct faculty at Saybrook University in California and Teachers College at Columbia University. “Existential fear appears to be at the heart of what drives polarization," Schneider explains.

“One reason we tend to become fixated and polarized is because of individual and collective trauma that associates with a profound sense of insignificance,” says Schneider. In this state, people may feel that they don’t matter and fear “ultimately being wiped away or extinguished,” he adds (The polarized mind: Why it’s killing us and what we can do about it, 2013, University Professors Press).

Tania Israel, PhD, professor of counseling psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Beyond Your Bubble, a book about connecting across the political divide added: “Most people are not on the extremes of any of these issues, but most of what we hear is from people who are more on the extremes.” (More in Common, 2018More in Common, 2019 )

Read the article: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/01/healing-political-divide