Sociopolitical Stress & Politicized Identities

Presented by Melissa Dellens, MA, LMFT

August 2, 2024

10:00am-1:00pm PST/ 1:00-4:00pm EST

3 CEs

LGBT community vote and gay rights pride voting or sexuality diversity concept and diverse hands casting ballots at a polling station as a democratic right in a democracy with 3D illustration elements.


Course Description 

Stress and anxiety related to politics increases in election season and this distress is experienced at higher rates by people who hold politicized identities. Identities become politicized when economic, legislative, or ideological  issues that affect marginalized people are debated and voted on by society-at-large.  Some historical examples of identity politicization within LGBTQIA+ communities include public health policy in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, debates over marriage equality, legislation over the use of public restrooms, and most currently - pediatric gender affirming health care. When people’s lives become subject to cultural and legal controversy, reactions to sociopolitical stress can range from isolation to outrage. Protective factors like age, education, and social support can reduce political stress and anxiety, but for many clients, feelings of powerlessness, danger, and uncertainty can be overwhelming. Treatment can be more complicated when the therapist and client share similar politicized identities, and are both impacted by current political events.   This course will support affirmative clinicians to discuss the impacts of a politicized identity experience with their clients and identify ways to manage anxiety and reduce political stress. Through facilitated conversations and vignettes, participants will consider ways clients can reclaim power, control, and a sense of safety in unsettling times. 

By the end of this course, participants will learn to:

  1. Describe at least 3 signs, symptoms, and presentations of sociopolitical stress. 
  2. Explain 2 ways to support a client with a politicized identity.
  3. Discuss at least 2 protective factors of sociopolitical stress.
  4. Name 2 ways people who hold politicized identities may be able to cope with higher levels of anxiety during election season. 

About the Presenter 

Melissa Dellens, M.A. is a genderfull person with curly hair, glasses, a pink top and a rainbow scarf.Melissa Dellens, MA, LMFT (she/they) works with teens and young adults with intersectional identities with Out Couch Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and is the Chief Operations Officer with the Affirmative Couch. They offer their understanding of collective trauma, community stressors, and political advocacy through publications and education. Melissa earned their Master of Arts in Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles with an emphasis in Applied Community Psychology. They have completed the one year Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Certificate at the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS) and Level 1 of the Trauma Resiliency Model. Melissa is an affiliate member ofLAISPS, and is active in the institute’s Diversity Affairs Committee.  

$59 for licensed clinicians

Buy Now

Licensed therapists who work in nonprofits price is $49 (Enter code politicsNP at checkout)

Student/unlicensed price is  $39 (Enter code politicsPL at checkout)

This course is included in the annual and lifetime memberships.

Annual Membership

Lifetime Membership

Additional Information

Instruction Level

This course is meant for a beginner to intermediate audience. 

Who should Attend

Psychologists, counselors, and marriage and family therapists and social workers.


Live, virtual presentation with the opportunity for interaction with the presenter. This course will be available as a recorded homestudy approximately two weeks after the event.

Zoom Link

You will receive a reminder email to register for your Zoom link after signing up for the course.

If you do not receive this email within 24 hours, please contact us.

Completion Requirements

Live Event
  • To get CE credit for the live event, you need to be present for the entire course.
  • You will be asked to sign in and out in the chat box in order to track attendance during breaks.
  • We will email you your certificate of attendance within 48 hours of the course.
  • This presentation will be recorded and available as a homestudy approximately two weeks after the live event.
  • Your active participation will contribute and enhance the learning of participants that complete the recorded homestudy version.
Home Study
  • You will need to take the post-test with at least a 75% score in order to receive your certificate for a home study course.
Financial Support

The Affirmative Couch pays course presenters for their teaching. There is no other financial support for this course.

Conflict of Interest

There is no reported conflict of interest or outside commercial support for this course.

Contact Information

For any inquiries related to subject matter, problem resolution, corrections, grievances, or anything else, please contact us.


The Affirmative Couch will work to accommodate reasonable accommodations requests. Requests can be emailed with “accommodation request” in the subject line. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Continuing Education Approvals

APA ApprovedThe Affirmative Couch, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Affirmative Couch, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



$59 for licensed clinicians

Buy Now

Licensed therapists who work in nonprofits price is $49 (Enter code politicsNP at checkout)

Student/unlicensed price is  $39 (Enter code politicsPL at checkout)

This course is included in the annual and lifetime memberships.

Annual Membership

Lifetime Membership

Module 1 Course Materials
Unit 1 Live Event