Sep 05

Wherein I Salute Labor Day By Being Too Lazy To Give You Much Useful Information About Therapists and Therapy Types

For a type of job that often elicits such reactions as “How can you sit there all day and just listen to people?” or “I could never do that. I’d just tell them all to get a life”—and that’s just from clients—the world seems to be full of people who do indeed want to practice therapy and a myriad of types of therapists out there. I say seems to be because I did barely minimal research and couldn’t get any actual figures on this. And I say practice therapy both in the usual sense and the classic joke about not having it right yet.

People who seek therapy are often confused by how many types of therapists, or how many therapy disciplines, actually exist. An example of a discipline is clinical social work, which is the training and affiliation I have. If you want to know more about either this one or the others, John Grohol describes them on Psych Central. I can’t be bothered doing this myself. It’s Labor Day, and I have off.

And then there are all the many different types of therapy reflecting a godawful number of choices regarding schools of thought and techniques. One example of a fairly popular type of therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. There’s also ACT and EFT and EMDR  and ECT and RET. Go ahead and look these up to see what they mean. There are also lots of other impressive ones, some with acronyms and some that don’t even have acronyms. While you’re doing your research, Google “Types of Therapy” or a phrase something like that to get a longer, fuller list of all the possibilities.

Me, I’m tired just thinking about it, so I’ll just be ending this post now…

Sep 02

“Sign Up For More Issues” As a Crossword Puzzle Clue

I was doing a crossword puzzle recently and read this clue: “sign up for more issues.” A five-letter word. Do my first thoughts go anywhere near the correct answer, renew? No. My mind went immediately toward the notion of people signing up to have more psychological issues.

So,who would you sign up with? Your parents? Please Mom. Please Dad. I want, I want, I want more issues!!! 

I advise doing the asking when you’re very young, then—hopefully in your formative years. I think that’s likely to be the most effective enrollment plan.

You want more issues? I’ll give you more issues, Mom replies. She turns to her husband. I’m leaving you. That’s right. It’s what you deserve for years of cheating on me with my sister. She stomps off, presumably to pack her bags, but turns around abruptly. Oh, and keep the kids.

Now there. You’ve got yourself some more issues—more than you already had.

And on a different tangent, unscrupulous therapy also came to mind. As in: You tell your shrink that you’re feeling good, ready to leave therapy, conquer the world…

Whoa. Not so fast, fella. Have I got a deal for you. I’ll give you some low self-esteem and even throw in some emotional intimacy issues. Just sign right here, please…And make sure to keep your standing appointment with me for the next couple of years.

Aug 30

Angry Therapists, Angry Clients: Who’s Thera-pissed?

Angry therapists can happen; we’re human just like anyone else. Among things that sometimes makes this therapist thera-pissed is how we are often portrayed in movies and on TV as inappropriate, bumbling fools who readily cross sexual or romantic boundaries with clients.

One thing that helps relieve the anger is a really good spoof. The movie Analyze This featured Billy Crystal as psychiatrist Ben Sobel who has to treat mob boss Paul Vitti, played by Robert DeNiro. The following brief clip shows Dr. Sobel trying to help Vitti manage his anger.

(Note: Be prepared for NSFW language and violence.)

Ouch. Please don’t try this at home.

Aug 26

“But Oh How I Loved Everybody Else…”: Dar Williams’s Therapy Song

But oh how I loved everybody else/When I finally got to talk so much about myself…Dar Williams, “What Do You Hear in These Sounds?”

The above words are from singer-songwriter Dar Williams who wrote a brilliant and witty song called “What Do You Hear In These Sounds?” (on the CD End of the Summer, 1997) about the joys and vagaries of therapy.

“And she says ‘Oh’, I say ‘What?’…she says ‘Exactly’…”

Full lyrics of “What Do You Hear in These Sounds?” courtesy of Google Play:

I don’t go to therapy to find out if I’m a freak
I go and I find the one and only answer every week
And it’s just me and all the memories to follow
Down any course that fits within a fifty minute hour
And we fathom all the mysteries, explicit and inherent
When I hit a rut, she says to try the other parent
And she’s so kind, I think she wants to tell me something,
But she knows that its much better if I get it for myself
And she says

What do you hear in these sounds?
What do you hear in these sounds?

I say I hear a doubt, with the voice of true believing
And the promises to stay, and the footsteps that are leaving
And she says “Oh, ” I say, “What?” she says, “Exactly, “
I say, “What, you think I’m angry
Does that mean you think I’m angry?”
She says “Look, you come here every week
With jigsaw pieces of your past
Its all on little soundbites and voices out of photographs
And that’s all yours, that’s the guide, that’s the map
So tell me, where does the arrow point to?
Who invented roses?”

What do you hear in these sounds?
What do you hear in these sounds?

And when I talk about therapy, I know what people think
That it only makes you selfish and in love with your shrink
But oh how I loved everybody else
When I finally got to talk so much about myself

And I wake up and I ask myself what state I’m in
And I say well I’m lucky, ’cause I am like East Berlin
I had this wall and what I knew of the free world
Was that I could see their fireworks
And I could hear their radio
And I thought that if we met, I would only start confessing
And they’d know that I was scared
They’d would know that I was guessing
But the wall came down and there they stood before me
With their stumbling and their mumbling
And their calling out just like me, and

The stories that nobody hears, and
I collect these sounds in my ears, and
That’s what I hear in these sounds, and
That’s what I hear in these,
That’s what I hear in these sounds.