I was watching an old episode of Frasier this morning and suddenly got caught by some dialogue between him and Niles (his brother) where his ex-wife (Lilith) has shown up and he is debating whether he wants to reconcile and looking to Niles for advice –
Niles: Frasier, like most patients who come to a therapist, you already know the answer to the question you're posing. You just want me to agree with your decision and support you whether I share your opinion or not. Frasier: Yes, but I don't have an opinion in this case. Niles: I'm sure you do. Frasier: But I don't. Niles: Well, then I can't help you.
This then made me think about the value of, and need for, therapy and those who practice it.
Are therapists really that knowledgable and skilled in the workings of the human mind or are they just ‘prompter’s’ who ask basic questions and then let us do all the work anyway?
I’ve attended various therapies and had different therapists over the years. fortunately I’ve never had to pay for any of them but if I had would I have seen them for as long or resented having to pay for their (my own) advice?
Here’s my list of the five requirements for a good therapist –
1) Ears (so at least you get the impression that someone is listening to you)
2) Mouth (to ask the occasional question)
3) Sympathetic expression (and box of tissues)
4) The ability to nod at the right time
5) No charge
The need to ‘vent’ is a very strong one. Exasperation at yourself, others, government, your employer etc. builds up and requires an outlet else becomes detrimental to your mental health. Facebook is now a popular outlet for demonstrating unhappiness about things but that can result in being seen as a constant complainer, bringing others down and may even result in your losing friends.
Perhaps the true value of a therapist is that they are not personally connected with you and therefore you can say all the things that bother you without having to worry about hurting anyones feelings (unless of course you’re telling them how crap and worthless you think they are). They also provide the sanctuary of confidentiality so you can really let loose when you need to.
I’m seeing my psychiatrist this afternoon. I actually have a lot of time and respect for him and enjoy our meetings and find them helpful. I also own a punchbag should he prove not to be.
What do you think? Remember, ‘I’m listening…’