Tag Archives: counselling

What do people think about therapists – redux.

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What do people think about therapists – redux.

I originally posted this about two years ago. I wanted to revisit it as I have started a college course training to be a counsellor and the subject is of even more interest to me now. I am making a few additions which will be bracketed and in italics, (because who doesn’t like italics?) based on new knowledge and a change in circumstances. Anything in brackets that is not in italics is from the first post and due to my love of brackets. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

What do people think about therapists? I am not one. (Not yet anyway). A therapist that is. I am most certainly a people. I ask the question because I am curious for several reasons. One reason is that I am engaged to a therapist. (I am actually now married to her and she has achieved her Doctorate). The aforementioned therapist mentioned to me the other day that when people ask her what it is that she does for a living and she replies that she is a therapist, they take a step back. I mean a literal and physical step back. No metaphors here.

As soon as she told me this, I wanted to see it in action. Luckily I had the chance the following evening. As we were sat having cocktails (I know! How swanky are we?) the bartender asked us what we did for a living. Now, this question kinda sucks for me. I have to explain that I am trying to make a go of it as a writer and hope to one day make money from it. This is either preceded or followed by Gauri saying she is a therapist, which is a hard act to open for or close after. I have made my life somewhat easier in this respect by coming up with a way of saying what I do that doesn’t make me feel pretentious or pathetic. I now say ‘I am a non-profit writer.’ (This is slightly less sucky for me now. I still have not got my book published, but I had one of the nicest rejection letters ever and I can say that I am in training to be a counsellor. The wife can still blow me out of the water with the Dr thing, but I am at least playing catch up).

As Gauri was about to tell the bartender that she was a therapist, I entered hawk mode and watched him closely; very closely indeed. As sure as sunshine comes out after I come home after getting rained on, he did indeed move backwards. I don’t think he was even aware of doing it. Given the topic I am discussing, it makes sense that he did it subconsciously. He even laughed and said ‘A therapist eh? Are you going to read my mind?’ I love this reaction. Now, I know he was joking, but I have heard this response way more than once and it makes me think of the idea of ‘no smoke without fire.’ Even if it is a joke, why does it come out as that joke more often than not?

It is the logic behind it that I find interesting. Do people on some level think that therapists can read minds? Even Derren Brown, whose stage show is about supposedly reading minds admits that it is nothing more than suggestion, reading of body language and facial expressions and theatricality. So what is it that makes people think of it as a possibility? Is it a fear that a person, because they are a therapist, has a preternatural gift to see inside their very minds? How likely is this? I imagine that if a therapist could read minds it would make a therapy session much easier. (So far, mind reading has not come up in my course, but I wait with baited breath in case it does). 

Client: I don’t know what I think about that.

Therapist: Yes you do. I can read your mind and you are repressing it.

Job done in a fraction of the time I think.

I also think that if a person could read my mind, I would just think some really messed up shit about them until they stopped. But that could just be the way my mind works. (I will of course take this to therapy when I am required to attend it as part of my future training).

A quick therapy joke to make another point about when people say to me ‘Your girlfriend (wife) is a therapist? I hope she doesn’t therapise me.’

Q: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: None. The lightbulb has to want to change.

Now, apart from the fact that I love this joke, it also makes a point about it being the client that has to make the effort in therapy if any real progress is to be achieved. I am fairly sure most therapists don’t go around giving away free therapy to all and sundry. (I certainly won’t be. College is expensive and I need to earn my money back). Where is the business sense in that? I wouldn’t spend hours on a painting and then give it away for nothing. This is mainly because I am a terrible painter and people wouldn’t take my work, even if it were free, but I hope you see my point. Also, isn’t it similar to being a chef or a gynecologist? If you spend all day at work doing something, you are not necessarily going to want to do it in your spare time.

The final thing I have noticed is that people tend to talk to me about what Gauri does, rather than talk to her directly about what she does. (Now of course, they can not talk to me about it) I had two conversations yesterday about what she is doing for her thesis. I suggested they could ask her but i got the distinct feeling of ‘Oh no. I can’t ask her. What if she therapises me?’ I find it funny that people are happy to talk to me about what she does. It’s like I am a gateway drug to therapists. Yet, they have a strange fascination about the whole thing, similar to wanting to know what is under the bed but being too scared to actually look.

Now, I am not making any judgements on people’s perspective on therapists. Far from it. People are entitled to think what they think. I am simply curious about the way people think. So, over to you. What do you think about therapists? Are you a therapist that has had any entertaining experiences of telling people what you do?

(I am looking forward to the day when this happens to me. I wonder if people will react the same way in the future though. Therapy seems to be much more mainstream now in Britain. Perhaps we will have a situation in America where it is perfectly normal to have a therapist. I certainly hope so, I really do need to earn my money back. Joking aside, I hope people feel more relaxed and able to access therapy in this country.)

I would love to hear from you.

Take care buddies,

David.

Poster Boy For Therapy – (Someone Else’s Words, Not Mine).

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Poster Boy For Therapy – (Someone Else’s Words, Not Mine).

I received a bitter sweet message from a friend the other day. It was sad because they told me they were having a hard time at work and were struggling. After talking to their boss, they were referred to a counsellor to help them with their issues. The upbeat part of this was that they said they had never thought as therapy as their thing, but after reading about me discussing my therapy, they felt less self-conscious about the concept and decided to give it a try. They even thanked me for making therapy seem less scary for them, which is the best reason I can think of for what I do on this blog. I mean the ‘less scary’ part, not the ‘thanks’.

It got me thinking. There has been a lot of media coverage recently about making people more aware of depression. While I agree this is a great first step, I am more happy that I have seen lots of people with depression discussing their feelings on sites like wordpress or other blog platforms. I believe this is the next step where depression is seen and spoken about without feeling the social stigma that comes with it, whether that is a stigma we placed upon ourselves or others.

I also think this honesty helps others feel like they can talk about how they feel, whether they are depressed or not. People can see that it is not only them who are down, or that they are not bad or weak people for struggling. I am so glad that someone sought help when they needed it rather than struggling to carry on when help is available. I hate to think of anyone suffering when there is something that could help them feel better.

If you feel down, consider seeing a therapist. It may take time to find the right person, and it may not be for everyone. Yet, I believe it is certainly an option worth exploring.

Take care buddies,

David.

An honourable mention on The Chris Brake Show.

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An honourable mention on The Chris Brake Show.

First off, I am going to stop apologizing for rambling. I do it too often (ramble and apologise) and it will save time if we all agree that it is going to happen.

I am especially rambly today as my brain goes missing the day after therapy. I was just in town to meet Gauri quickly while she was on a lunch break, and I mentioned that my head after therapy feels like my head does after sex. You know that peaceful feeling after sex where the brain is empty and peaceful? I feel like that today. I think of it as a brain orgasm of emotions. Apparently, in over four years of being a counsellor she has never heard of a post therapy experience being described like that. So, I get an A for originality.

I woke up in a daze and with as yet unrealised symptoms of food poisoning and checked my phone. To my delight, I saw that John Rapp had posted on Facebook that the latest episode of The Chris Brake Show was out and that my name was on the poster for the show. I thought ‘Hey, that’s cool. They put my name on the poster. That was nice of them.’

I know poster is not the right word, but I cannot for the life of me think what it actually called right now, and I am sure that you know what I mean.

This got me thinking about posters. Back in the dawn of time when I was in Screwed & Clued Theatre Company, we used to put up hundreds of posters up in each town we were doing our shows in. Ye Gods, I hope that one day Gaia will forgive us for our seriously un-environmentally friendly actions. I think that is why I am so obsessed by recycling now. I am trying to pay off that debt.

I sat down with a coffee and listened to the show still vacantly staring at my computer screen and figuring out what was what. Then I heard John talk about me. My first thought was not ‘Cool, they are giving me a shout out on air’ but ‘David, why did you think they only put your name on the poster?’. How can I miss something that obvious? It always makes me laugh when people say I am clever. I can be sometimes. I can also be tear inducingly dumb sometimes. Still, such is life.

I then did think ‘Cool. They gave me a shout out on air.’ and my sincere thanks for that. It was a really great episode by the way, so you should check it out.

http://chrisbrakeshow.podomatic.com/entry/2014-09-05T18_10_29-07_00

Oh, and I have been listening to the early episodes and I think they have upgraded the site where the show is broadcast from, so it has a funky new screen.

I also have food poisoning today. I wrote this on Facebook, and I thought I would add it here for the fun of it.

‘Dear Chicago Town Take-Away Pizza.

Thank you so much for the delightful ball of hair and sponge I ate last night when trying your pizza. I must say, it is an unusual choice of topping. Thank you also for the food poisoning I think you have also given me. The inside of my mouth is rocking back and forth in the shower trying to repress the memory.

Disgustedly yours,

David.’

I have one final thought that my therapist was a bit stumped by. In fairness to her, if you think I am random in here, you should see me in therapy. I don’t know she makes sense of anything I say. Anyway, I asked this question:

With the id, ego and super-ego being what they are, how do I know that the part of my brain that tells me to be nice to people is not a part of my brain that wants me to be unhappy? What if that part knows that by trying to be nice I will suppress my anger and ultimately be unhappy. What if that part of my brain is in disguise and thinking ‘Nailed it. I have totally suckered this guy into taking shit and feeling bad about it?

She couldn’t answer and I have explained it way better here than I did yesterday. I am not sure what to think about it yet and I am mostly incapable of thinking anything at all today. I would welcome any thoughts on the subject.

Take care buddies,

David

Bigging up the misses.

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So, it would be remiss of me not to promote my beloved fiance Gauri Chauhan (sorry ladies, I know it will come as a massive blow to find out that I am taken – I guess you have to know me to know how unseriously I take my own comment). She is,  among many things, my fiance, a counsellor, a photographer, a life coach and the reason I am able to have a shot at making my writing dreams come true, for which I am eternally grateful. Please have a look at her site. The orange leaf photo (taken by her) is worth it. http://www.gaurichauhan.com/