Friday, June 15, 2012

The Waiting Room

When book publicists (they still print them, you know) notice your blog, they send you an email: "I came across your blog. . .”). They are hoping you will advertise their book, of course. The good thing is you get to read new books for free, don’t even have to worry about late fees, like you do at the library. It is a win-win. The downside is making the time to review them.

I always say, “If I don’t like the book, I won’t review it,” and they are totally cool with that. One publicist actually wrote me back, however, to say, “No. We’re interested in your honest opinion.” In other words, bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

What is fascinating is that this, a blog, is the equivalent of a waiting room. You, dear friends, represent people waiting to see the doctor.

The room is a little different than your average waiting room, holds many, many, many more people. Everyone is waiting for good content, and most won't wait very long.

I tell a new patient before the first visit, “Wait in the waiting room. You can’t miss it when you walk into the building, and it is huge, you’ll get a seat.” This puts everyone at ease. But this waiting room has even more chairs.

Traditionally, doctors get free magazines, good ones, too. Why? Because hundreds of patients pass through and have to do something to pass the time while waiting. And each and every one of the magazines has a subscription card in the centerfold, even the family fun throw-aways.  The subscription cards are very useful as bookmarks for real books, in any case. (Not to mention the cool things you'll find to do for family fun, I'm serious.)

Thus the waiting room is a marketing tool. Sending a doc a free magazine is advertising on the cheap, and this is the way it will be, should be, and why print journalism will never die. Unless everyone gets a Kindle or a Nook for free, just waiting to see the doctor.

So have a seat.

Two books, one wet and one dry, both excellent.

(1) Dry, but full of good things:
Changing Behavior, by Georgianna Donadio, SoulWork Press (you have to love that, SoulWork).

And the pictures are simply fabulous, all Picasso-esque. The book measures large, 11” x 8.5, and that should change. Not a beach book. But it isn't supposed to be. It is a means of promoting the National Institute of Whole Health, and a good one, at that. I like the descriptions of the brain, How It Is wired, Made Easy, if such a thing is possible, and it isn't. But it is much more interesting than the one that high school seniors read in AP psych.

And I love the behavioral engagement, Pure Presence paradigm. We talk about empathy on this blog, how to zero in on the emotions of others, how not to insult, how to engage, to meet, connect to people, really. But here is a set of rules for doing that. Or if you prefer, a list of the elements, variables, that go into establishing a better listening (hence engaging) environment.

The thinking is that if you don’t

(a) Find relationships sacred, worthy of reverence and respect,
(b) Use eye contact properly,
(c) Inquire without probing,
(d) Feel compassion, and least show some,
(e) Focus,
(f) Accept
(g) Let go of control

you can’t connect, not as well as you could otherwise. Pure presence compises more than those seven. I think there are twelve steps. Wouldn’t you know.

(2) Wet:

I’m watching Law and Order with my son, it’s late, and I have warned him to pay attention because I’ll probably fall asleep for the last twenty minutes and will want a recap on what happened, but make it to the end.

There is a spoiler, sorry, no other way to write this one.

The story is about two boys in foster care. Their parents are addicted or in jail or both. One kills the other (the spoiler).

The killer is gorgeous, blond, sweet, barely pubescent face. He doesn’t smile, he shows remorse, and at some point he even tells the truth. Yes, he murdered, and yes, he has done it before and believes he may do it again. He wants to be locked up. Should he be tried as an adult, or given the reprieve of juvie?

The defense takes the position that he has an XYY chromosome. He inherited DNA that is associated with criminals. He’s doomed to be an overly aggressive young man, maybe old man.

Harvard University sent me this little gem of a book, Almost a Psychpath . Maybe they know I’m obsessed with why people hurt other people, and helping them change. It is the harder part of being a systems therapist, complicated, but rewarding. Almost a Psychpath reinforces that notion that differentiating the true psychopath from one who is almost a psychopath is one of degree.

A psychopath, to make it short, is, one who couldn’t care less who he hurts to get what he wants, has no compunction about stealing, lying, maiming, even killing to take care of number one. He hurts without remorse, on instinct behaves in ways that benefit no one but himself.

“She shouldn’t have made me angry,” is the typical excuse for abusing an intimate partner. It is never his fault, always the fault of someone else for crossing him.

The examples in the book send chills. Better than Law and Order. I'll be writing more about it soon.



Critically Observant Jew said...

much better graphics design, btw. Like it much more... Maybe I'll put book 1 on my wishlist...

Amanda said...

Just added Almost a Psychopath to my Amazon wish list!

Mound Builder said...

I love this:
"The thinking is that if you don’t

(a) Find relationships sacred, worthy of reverence and respect,
(b) Use eye contact properly,
(c) Inquire without probing,
(d) Feel compassion, and least show some,
(e) Focus,
(f) Accept
(g) Let go of control

you can’t connect"
as a way of outlining, in simple terms, what makes a relationship work. Sometimes I have the feeling these days that it isn't just marriages that fail to live up to this. I think it is also possible that a lot of friendships do, too. But I think this is a fine outline of what makes a satisfying and meaningful relationship.

Christian Counseling said...

Really nice post I like this one thanks....

Anonymous said...

I just bought Changing Behavior and am definitely going to read it (as a beach book even). You wrote "Pure presence compises more than those seven. I think there are twelve steps. Wouldn’t you know." Would you mind listing the steps you would add? I'd really appreciate it.
Thank you.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts