Can You Fall in Love with Your Therapist?
And what should happen if you do?
I heard the critically acclaimed series, In Treatment is coming back this year for a new season, so I thought I’d catch up and see what the excitement is about. It’s an unusual show that’s set entirely in a therapist’s office. I’ve avoided the series so far because, why I would want to watch therapy in my time off when I’m seeing clients as a therapist all day long? It seemed to be a drama best left for a wanna-be therapist, in the same way as, when I watch football, I imagine myself as Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
However, Josh Allen may like to watch football from time to time. He can appreciate how Tom Brady picks apart defenses. I should be able to enjoy seeing the therapeutic expertise of Dr Paul Weston. Weston is no slouch when it comes to overcoming defenses, in his own way.
The scene of episode one, season one, opens with Weston’s patient, Laura Hill, in agony on the couch. She arrived hours early and waited in the parking lot, but now does almost everything possible to avoid talking about what she needs to talk about.
[Spoiler alert] Continue reading →
Sooner or later, if you come to me for therapy, I’ll ask you to put, in a single sentence, your objective in seeing me. I ask this because I want to know how to be successful. I also want you to define your goal. The most common answer I get is something like, “I want to know why I am the way I am.” In other words, why do I drink more than I should, why can’t I get the courage to leave my husband, or why am I so depressed, so anxious, or so angry?
I used to be surprised by this, especially if it came after a long, intense description of how unhappy they were. Wouldn’t they rather know how to stop drinking, how to be less depressed, anxious, or angry, or how to leave their husband? Why ask why? Continue reading →
The feeling that detects the impossible.
A lot of feelings will draw your attention elsewhere where your attention doesn’t do you any good. The feeling of frustration is this way. When you’re feeling frustrated, your attention is on the object of your frustration when it should be on yourself. Continue reading →
But they can heal the harm, too
If someone pointed a gun to my head and forced me to admit, as a psychotherapist, what my preferred counseling method was, I could not say I was a reflective eclectic. That would get me shot. It’s not really an answer. Instead, I would have to confess that I have a soft spot for narrative therapy. I might get shot anyway because few people know what that is. Continue reading →
And understand how your minds work
If you’ve ever watched a person walk a dog, you’ve seen a good illustration of your mind at work. You have two minds: one is like the dog, the other like the dog walker. Continue reading →
And Why You Should Try It
You might not think you would choose to have stress, but many people do, for good reasons and bad. For many, very many, stress is an acceptable price they pay for values they hold dear. Continue reading →
And how to achieve it
If you’re one of those people who says you can’t understand how you can forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt, how you can be silent when injustice abounds, or how you can rest when you must make amends; I would say you already know how, if you know how to sleep. Continue reading →
There’s a lot you can do to change another person, up to a point
If you hang around a therapist’s office long enough, or around anyone who’s seen a therapist, they’re going to tell you that you can’t change another person; you can only change yourself.
Basically, it’s true; but, like many adages, there’s more to it than that. There’s a lot you can do to change a person. If there wasn’t, there would be no therapists. But, once you reach a certain point, there’s nothing more you can do, and the other person must take over.
Cultivating change is a lot like cultivating a garden. Continue reading →
Sooner or later, if you declare yourself as a supporter of liberal democracy, you’ll run into a thorny problem. Do you show tolerance for the intolerant? Can you permit the free speech of those who will destroy free speech? Should you give publicity to those who threaten a free press? Can you get disgusted with disgust or outraged by outrageous behavior? Continue reading →