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Can Radical Acceptance Help?

Aaron Cohn, Ph.D., LMFT
• June 26, 2021

Do you love someone whose beliefs are so different from your own that it feels nearly impossible to bridge the gap? 

Therapist Aaron Cohn, Ph.D., LMFT, poses this question in his powerful new paper on navigating disrupted family relationships. Following the pandemic and the most divisive presidential election in recent history, many of us are intimately familiar with difficult family dynamics. But LGBTQ+ individuals, including Dr. Cohn himself, have faced this challenge for decades. In exploring answers, Dr. Cohn introduces his husband’s mother, revealing that he was present when she found out she was dying. 

“Behind the tears was the fact that we did not share her faith,” Dr. Cohn writes. “I am a Jew and her son a lapsed Catholic. Together we live in a same-sex relationship whose validity her church would never recognize. While our relationship lasted, Honey’s salvation could never be ours.” 

Yet, their relationship and love for each other persisted — though it may not have been either side’s ideal. In honor of Pride Month, consider how Dr. Cohn navigated this dynamic and the notion of radical acceptance. Find out how staying present through disagreements, without forcing change or cultivating bitterness, makes a difference.

Aaron Cohn, Ph.D., LMFT

Therapist

Dr. Cohn’s clinical work has focused on LGBTQIA+ adolescents, young adults and their families. Other areas of focus include: people in creative, academic or highly technical professions, people in relationships involving consensual non-monogamy and parents seeking to repair or maintain their connection to their adolescent or young adult offspring.