Sunday, October 08, 2006

About Everyone Needs Therapy

SOH (on the Oh Zone) read a few of my posts and even though she likes me :), a few of her readers apparently found the original title of the blog a little silly, maybe even dumb. That's why I changed it from Everyone Needs Therapy to Lessons from a Family Therapist, peeps. I pretty much agreed.

Does EVERYONE need therapy? What's wrong with having a good friend, a shoulder to cry on, or even handling one's problems ones self?

Frankly, when I hear the advice that caring significant others shell out for free I want to die. My patients have generally suffered from the advice of friends and family, not gained. The advice is often so off the mark, I'm sorry, so wrong, so out of touch with the client, so self-serving, so biased, so blind.

Sorry, guys, but we DO learn a lot in school.

Professionals, even bad ones, are more client centered, less emotional, and have more expertize in psychopathology. They have seen several hundred of whatever "this" is. And they care, too, believe it or not.

This is only one of the reasons, I made that now legendary proclamation, "Everyone needs therapy." There are more.

The wrong people come in for therapy half the time. Literally half of the time the problem is that the person who is making the client miserable is not in touch with his or her own pathology. The identified patient would be HEALTHY were it not for the pathology of another(others).

When I wrote the original blog with the original title it was because at the time it really did seem as if everyone needed therapy. I'd be driving, someone would cut me off, flip the finger.

Or even riding my bike, people would get all upset, have to honk at me as if to say,

"Why don't you get a car, like a normal person? I have to actually slow down to make sure I don't kill you, you foo.'" :)

Then beyond the ragers, face it, there are so many sick people in the world, emotionally and physically, so much grief and suffering, that the sheer strength of the karma made me feel that were it not for professional shoulders, people would simply fold up into little balls, grieve, never re-ravel.

Of course that's not true, but that day, the day I created a URL, it felt true.

The title was always meant to be provocative. Indeed, if you think you need it, you probably do. It can't hurt. But good grief, make sure you check out your provider pretty well. And if you get bad vibes, you really don't have to come back, and if you're in anyway treated poorly, you should speak up, confront.

We don't mind the confrontation. Assertiveness communicates, essentially, "I'm alive. Hello. Yo. Let's discuss."

So hey, SOH, how are ya'? A pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Copyright 2006, Therapy Doc

9 comments:

Paperback Writer said...

I have to say that I completely and utterly agree with you. Everyone does need a little therapy every now and again. And from someone who isn't family/friend/coworker or someone not directly involved with your life.

SOH said...

hey Linda, I wrote a comment and it got deleted. I am silly. Anyway, thanks for the shoutout and the consideration of the blogtitle...I do like the new title. It retains the provocativeness but invites discussion. I really appreciate the background explanation for the previous title.

On a personal note, I'm doing ok. My medication seems to be keeping me stable and my therapist and I are exploring whether I have PTSD. You're right, it is an actual disorder.

Anyway, I'm not clear on this: "Literally half of the time the problem is that the person who is making the client miserable is not in touch with his or her own pathology. The identified patient would be HEALTHY were it not for the pathology of another(others)."

are you talking about the therapist?

Really enjoying your posts. You have a refreshingly irreverent touch.

Therapy Doc said...

Let me explain. I'm talking about the significant others in our lives who make us miserable and really won't look at themselves. Many people come for therapy to get help for them.

Am I talking about therapists not looking at themselves?

I sure hope not!

Therapy Doc said...

Oh, and I almost forgot. People come to therapy to get help DEALING with other people. That's really what I meant, SOH. Thanks for the complements, too.

MrT said...

Hey Linda, it was me who started banging on about your title on the Oh Zone. I really don't have a problem with it - I know it's supposed to be provocative, and I think it makes perfect sense if you read it as "therapy is a really important thing, people - don't go pretending it isn't!".

What I was really trying to do was take your title and run off with it to make a rather separate point. I totally accept what you say about chats with friends not often fulfilling the purposes that proper therapy fulfills - it's very infrequently objective to the necessary degree. However - and this is my real point - given that (for instance) 40% of the world's population lives on $2 a day or less, what are we to make of the claim that "everyone", i.e. 100% of them need therapy? (I know this is really straining the intended meaning of the title, but hey, at least I'm honest about it).

One of the things one might try and explore in response to that question is to consider the viability and value of a more widely available service that was less than therapy with a fully qualified analyst but still more than just a chat with a friend. Perhaps we might try and make people more aware of the bias they suffer from when advising their friends, thus (perhaps?) helping them to be more objective. Perhaps we might try and raise public grasp of the knowledge and skill base involved in analysis to allow some kind of theraphy like service to be provided more widely in the world's communities.

I would be really interested in hearing any thoughts you have on this topic. Would these kinds of things be at all worthwhile, in your view?

Apologies if this is all a bit off-topic, and keep up the good work on your great blog.

Therapy Doc said...

Of course you're right, the logistics are simply impossible.

Most cultures have their own ways of managing community problems. In fact, having INDIVIDUAL problems is a western idea altogether.

It could be that if our communities did more to attend to the needs of the many, that there would be less of a need for therapy altogether. The community mental health movement of the seventies which freed the "mentally ill" from institutions was a step in the right direction. The goal at that time was to keep people in their homes, provide outpatient mental health for all.

Now, of course, even having insurance in America is a privilege of the rich and the upper-middle class. So much for the needs of the many.

At the end of the day, all a therapist can do is blog.

Cynthia Blue said...

I agree that everyone, every single person on the planet, would benefit from therapy.

Cheryl said...

Just found this post. Do I have it right that you changed the name and changed it back? What made you change it back?

therapydoc said...

Could be. Can't remember.