Is Your Doctor Going the Way of the Family Farm?

I used to be a farmer. I should say, I used to be a farmer the way farmers used to be. I raised pigs, chickens, goats, and cows. I tried to raise ducks and geese, but they flew away. I had a quarter acre garden and grew acres of buckwheat and corn. I helped theContinue reading “Is Your Doctor Going the Way of the Family Farm?”

How Normal is Abnormal?

Just how common are mental health problems? According to researchers following more than a thousand New Zealanders for 35 years, they’re extremely common. By age 38, they say, 83% have had a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their lives; in most cases, a mild depression, anxiety, or a substance use disorder. Also,Continue reading “How Normal is Abnormal?”

Don’t Force It

Especially when trying to bring about change My father was a car mechanic. When I was a kid, he tried to teach me all about cars, but I wasn’t very interested. After a while, he might have thought he was wasting his time, but one of his lessons stuck with me. I think about itContinue reading “Don’t Force It”

The Perils of Understanding

And how your prejudices can help you understand better I once worked as a therapist with a deaf female client in my office by having her type what she wanted to say to me, as I typed to her. I didn’t know much sign language but was eager to show off what little I had.Continue reading “The Perils of Understanding”

Don’t Be Mindless About Mindfulness

It doesn’t have to involve meditation If you have any connection to psychotherapy or psychotherapists and have been paying attention to trends, you’ve noticed that everyone in shrinkland is talking about something called mindfulness. I don’t know if mindfulness has infiltrated everywhere else as much as it has the land of shrinkishness; but if itContinue reading “Don’t Be Mindless About Mindfulness”

Fifty Minutes Set Apart: Psychotherapy’s fraught relationship with time

When you meet with me, you and I are not alone. We share the psychotherapy session with an ordinary, unobtrusive, but tyrannical object. A clock. My relationship with the clock is a troubled one. Sometimes it’s my savior, my teammate, my partner, other times it’s my rival. It’s a valuable tool and a necessary evil.Continue reading “Fifty Minutes Set Apart: Psychotherapy’s fraught relationship with time”

Waiting Room Therapy

I used to work in a hospital emergency department. I was the guy who handled all the psychiatric emergencies. There were the suicidal people, just talked down from ledges, the homicidal people the police brought, the domestic violence people who wouldn’t settle down, the psychotic people who were trying to fly. Often the people whoContinue reading “Waiting Room Therapy”

Looking for My Father in Emerson’s Essays

I recently opened for the first time, a volume of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson from the collection of old books in my library that I have never read. I was surprised to find that my father, whom I must’ve gotten the book from, noted on the title page that he had read it threeContinue reading “Looking for My Father in Emerson’s Essays”