Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Sunny Side of Therapy :) :) : ) :) Positive Psychology

This is an FYO on a popular news item in today's Wall Street Journal.

There's a feature story called, "The Sunny Side of Therapy." It's about focusing only on the positive, a person's true resources, strengths, etc. I was surprised the article didn't refer to "blessings."

Now you know I'm a pretty positive person, but I just have to tell you.
This is bunk with a capital B.

It's all well and good to try to stay there, to try to stay happy and to think pleasant thoughts. I heartily recommend it and in family therapy whack bubble bursters over the head with a newspaper (WSJ?).

But when a person is suffering from depression or any of the disorders in the DSM-IV, for that matter, it's going to take a lot more than positive psychology to get well.

Positive psychology is nothing new. Therapy docs have been relabeling problems for years, ever since family therapists (plug, here) found that symptoms were functional for people. People like their symptoms. They not only get attention for them, but they communicate with them.

Even support for "everything's relative" has been around for decades. Broke your ankle? At least you didn't break both. (thanks Y.)

It's actually good to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again. Once you can.

Real therapy, good therapy gets in there and resets the bones, cleans out the infection. It requires a little more than applying a Band-Aid.

Those snake oil salesmen made it all up to advertise in the Journal.

There. I've said it. Have a happy day!

Copyright 2006, TherapyDoc


Holly said...

Ah, I've been falling behind in my blog reading but I always enjoy the way you nail the common sense issues.

Holly's Corner

Therapy Doc said...

Thanks Holl, Nailing common sense is one of my favorite past times. Pounding works, too.

Tonya said...

First of all, thanks for the comment on my blog.

Secondly, thank you for this post. I suffer from depression, but I try to see the positive when I can. I've always been the "glass half empty" kind of person, so it's a real challenge to look for the positive sometimes.

What gets me is that The Hubster thinks it's "all in my head" and that I need to just snap out of it. It's very disheartening that he doesn't realize that my depression is real.

I'm short on time today, but I'll be back to read more and check out your other blogs when I can.

Therapy Doc said...

Hi Tonya, Tell ol' Hubster that anything mental is also (majorly) physical. That's why people who are depressed are so tired all the time.

The very word, depressed, means uh, not pressed. So much to say. The best thing I can say is that if I were to have to have ANY single major illness, to quote a mentor of mine, Domeena Renshaw, GIVE ME DEPRESSION.

We know it's something we can fix.

Critically Observant Jew said...

Agree wholeheartedly. Even though I haven't read the WSJ article, it reminds me of Breslov Chassidic literature (at least the one that's handed out) that carries that message. Only by identifying the root causes with a therapist, or a book written by one (Dr Twersky or Dr Adahan come to mind) can get a jump start on recovery.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts