BUILDING BRIDGES - HOW TO TALK TO CONSPIRACY BELIEVERS
In the last two years conspiracy theories seemed to have spread like a different kind of virus even to people, we would never have expected to be susceptible. Discussions have been unavoidable and ugly, we lost friends, saw family members drifting away and experienced an increasing radicalization. How to respond to conspiracy narratives? Why do people believe them in the first place? Are some more susceptible to it than others? What are good conversation strategies? Should you break off contact? What if it involves close relatives? How can we connect despite different world views? What advice can be given to relatives and the environment of conspiracy believers? Including Tips for counseling when clients believe in conspiracy stories.
Ulrike Schiesser is a psychologist and psychotherapist and head of the Federal Office for Cult Affaires (Bundesstelle für Sektenfragen) an Austrian state-run office who deals with Abuse of spirituality and religion, various problematic developments in the field of esotericism, personality cults, authoritarian and monopolizing group structures, and conspiracy theories. She guides people through exit and reorientation, advises concerned family members on communication strategies, and provides supervision and training for the psychosocial field. In 2021, Springer-Verlag published the book "Fakt und Vorurteil: Kommunikation mit Esoterikern, Fanatikern und Verschwörunggläubigen." (Fact and Prejudice: Communication with Esoterics, Fanatics and Conspiracy Believers), written with co-author Holm Hümmler.