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Even After Capitol Siege, the Nation Can Still Unify

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology President Dr. Michele Nealon says honesty and radical empathy are key

/EIN News/ -- Los Angeles, Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The January sixth siege of the Capitol showed how divided the country has become, but even with that, licensed clinical psychologist and president of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Michele Nealon, Psy.D. says the country can still heal and come together.

“There needs to be a reckoning. The siege is a reminder that racism, classism, and the feelings of being left behind or unheard are deep-rooted problems, and America has to reckon with that honestly,” explained Dr. Nealon. “If we’re going to have collective healing, that is a key component.”

Viewing the events through the lens of psychology, Dr. Nealon believes that implementing the following tactics will help the country move toward reconciliation.

Acknowledge the pain. A lot of pain has been inflicted – not just on January 6, but for years. We must recognize that America’s history of marginalizing or “otherizing” groups by race, gender, sex, religion and other descriptors has caused pain for generations.

Actively listen. We don’t have to agree with one another, but we should listen to one another. Radical empathy involves listening with a goal to better understand the feelings of others. When we actively listen, we give people a chance to have their voices heard.

Don’t assume the other person is bad. Believing the worst keeps us from understanding each other.

Hold ourselves accountable. More than just ensuring those responsible for the siege are held accountable, we should all hold ourselves accountable going forward regarding our behavior toward one another.

“What we saw last week was extremism, but that does not mean that we can’t come together as a country,” said Dr. Nealon. “The extremists do not represent the whole of America. In doing this, we recognize that not everyone is going to want unity, but we give them that chance.

“These tactics are not new – acknowledgement, honesty, actively listening to one another – they are used routinely to fix or re-build relationships. We can do that now. We start with each other, human to human, within our families, in our friend groups, and on social media, but we need it on a larger scale as well. National leadership needs to step into the breech and implement a strategy that brings about collective healing and gives us a sense of unity as a country.”

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About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology


Integrating theory with hands-on experience, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides education rooted in a commitment to innovation, service, and community for thousands of diverse students across the United States and globally. Founded in 1979, the nonprofit, regionally accredited university now features campuses in iconic locations across the country (Chicago, Southern California, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Dallas) and online. To spark positive change in the world where it matters most, The Chicago School has continued to expand its educational offerings beyond the field of psychology to offer more than 30 degrees and certificates in the professional fields of health services, nursing, education, counseling, business, and more. Through its engaged professional model of education, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and an extensive network of domestic and international professional partnerships, The Chicago School’s students receive real-world training opportunities that reflect their future careers. The Chicago School is also a proud affiliate of TCS, a nonprofit system of colleges advancing student success and community impact. To learn more, visit

Lisa Riley
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
(312) 646.9130