Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sox Win!

As you can see, I took the World Series off from Blogging. The damn games ran so long. The Sox like to run long counts. They also like to score many runs, which brings in many new pitchers and takes a long time. I can't imagine anyone outside of New England or Colorado stuck around too long, and probably not everyone in Colorado.

But in New England everyone was up all night. Everyone was excited and wearing Red Sox stuff. You go to get coffee, or to the airport or to buy a Chevy, and everyone was decked out.

I don't think any other region cares about its pro sports teams as much as up here. The people here are not that superficially friendly or outgoing. We don't make eye contact walking down the street. We are not generally jolly. We expect sleet, ice and driving Northeasters. Our forefathers farmed rocky soil and had a short growing season. We had somber preachers, and the Puritan Ethic.

For years we all were united in misery about the Sox. Five years ago when Grady Little left Pedro in the game, and he went on to lose to the Yankees, everyone was depressed for two weeks. Even my depressed clients got more depressed.

But now we expected the Sox to win, and they did. The Patriots, our local football entry are run by a maniacal genius who will soon get the team to score 100 points a game. This isn't Southern college football, with the good-ol-boys drinking and crashing into each other, this is the best football team ever.

New England comes out of its reserved stupor to watch and nod.

When anyone inquires about whether we take it too seriously or try too hard or cheer too loud, we now have the refrain that I hear more and more from friends and clients.
The basic description of the world that tells all and reveals nothing comes from the lips of Coach Bill Belichick:

"It is what it is."

And that is true. Take it or leave it. Like it or Not. We are who we are. No more and no less. No more explanation is needed or will be forth coming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

what to do?

I've spoke about this woman before. She is a great lady who was dealt a terrible hand.

It is bad enough that her father put her down, demeaned her, cursed her and actually put a gun to her head, but then she had to spend a year taking care of him as he died of cancer.

But physically, for many reasons, many of them unknown,some probably stress related, and for many years, she has been a mess. Her digestive system constantly turns things into liquid, at one end or the other. She has terrible osteo-arthritis; her back, hips and knees are crumbling. She had one knee replaced and the anesthetic didn't hold and she woke up during the operation. Six months later she had a heart-attack. They put stents into her and her arteries tightened and crushed the stents. She can barely walk, hardly breathe, and not eat much.

Then, from all the medicine her kidneys failed. They took her to the hospital and got everything going as well as the could.

They they sent her home and won't give her any pain-killers. They tell her, probably correctly, that her kidney's can't process them any more. So now, she sees me and can hardly move because the pain in so many areas is so great.

She wants me to talk to her doctors and tell them to give her some pain medicine. They won't do it because of the liability (who would hold them responsible?) They tell me to teach her to hypnotize herself.

She thought that was really funny.

Friday, October 19, 2007

partial list

Freudian Psychoanalysis
Jungian Psychoanalysis
Adlerian too
Harry Stack Sulliwan and Karen Horney
plain old psychodynamic psychotherapy
oject relations theory
Orgone therapy
Primal Scream Therapy
Behaviorism (Watson)
Behaviorism (Skinner)
Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Dialetical Behavioral Therapy
Rational Emotive Therapy
Family Therapy
Family Systems Therapy
Interpersonal Therapy
Cleint-Centered Therapy
Non-Directive Therapy
Somewhat Directive Therapy
Brief Psychotherapy
Problem Focused Brief Therapy
Eclectro Shock Therapy
Group Therapy
Couple Therapy
Couple Group Therapy
A good kick in the ass
Art Therapy
Music Therapy
Dance Therapy
Aroma Therapy
In vivo phobia therapy
virtual phobia therapy
All You Need is Love
Eclectic Polymorphous Interpsychic Intergalatic Intensive Therapy

I know the list is incomplete so please feel free to add your own, but I'm going to watch some football.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

more of same

I have talked about this before, and it still kind of amazes me.

Over the last two days I have spent six hours talking to people who openly admit they are in terrible relationships. Not just bad, but terrible. Relationships full of lies, deception, humiliation, infidelity, stealing, constant degradation, and worse.

None of them have to endure actual physical abuse -- "I wouldn't stand of that!" they all say.

But there is no evidence they wouldn't, because they stand for everything else.

Yet, to actually leave such a relationship is very difficult. Neither party wants to be together, they both at times will say they despise the other, but no one can break it off.

None of these couples come to me together. In all of these six cases I only see one person. If they would come together things would come out in the open and something would be resolved. Both parties know this, so they don't come together.

The reasons they keep this torture going are countless, and different for each person. But they are very powerful. They include an overwhelming fear, of rejection, abandonment, of loss, of failure, of loneliness, and of being a loser.

In most cases, once they leave, they regret that they had not done so sooner. But they don't know that now.

Many insurance companies give us eight sessions to deal with all of this. It's a great system.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Carl Rogers

50 years ago Carl Rogers published an article in a psychology journal about how he does psychotherapy. It was a revolutionary article for its time as it broke away from the model of the "analyst" who knew more about the patient than the patient did about himself.

The article has been re-published in a journal this month. Reading it over I can see how much his thinking, and the thinking of the "Humanist School" as it was called at that time, has had an influence on my work, and on my standing as a person among people.

Roger's position is that the basics of therapy is that the therapist needs to be caring, that is giving unconditional positive regard; and understanding, the therapist needs to be able to be accurately empathetic about what the client is experiencing, and to know how this is affecting the client.

Underlying this is the belief that the client is a whole, valuable person, who has the capacity to determine what is best for him or herself. They have the best chance of figuring this out if they are given a safe and non-judgmental place to do so.

I have learned, through reading, practice, colleagues, work experience and life that these conditions are helpful to everyone, everywhere. If you don't challenge, bully, boss, or criticize someone, they have a much better chance of finding their own solution to whatever the problem is.

If you immediately come off as the expert you run a much greater risk of people telling you to go fuck yourself.

I have learned, through reading, practice, colleagues, work experience and life that successful psychotherapy involves much more than the conditions Rogers offers, but it can't really work without them.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

not the first choice

His mother brought him down to my office. She filled out the paperwork, yelled at him and left him in the waiting room.

I came out to meet him as she was leaving. He was twice her size. He said nothing.

Zack has not been going to school and that is why she is making him come and see me. She told me so on the phone.

Zack is seventeen, about 6' 1," 200 lbs. He is an African American boy who embraces the role. He had the black sweatshirt, the baggy jeans, the bandanna. He rolled into my office slowly, sat down and stared at me.

"Do you want to be here, or does she want you here?" I asked.

"Her" he answered.

During the next 45 minutes we had a conversation. He was polite and answered my questions. Some of his answers were real, some were just what he thought I wanted to hear.

If I were him I wouldn't open up to me, some middle-aged white guy. How can he possibly trust me?

Perhaps if he comes six more times he will realize that I mean him no harm. I could be of some use to him if he really wanted to discuss things with me, like about how to handle the world, and what his options are. But he doesn't know that; how could he?

All I am to him is the guy who can keep him from getting a probation officer.

I wish there was an alternative, but there isn't much to choose from around here.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Yes it gets kind of absurd sometimes.

I spend a day in which I see a person whose husband just died of ALS. The next hour I see a kid whose father died of cancer AND his mother was murdered. I saw a kid who got thrown out of school because the Spanish kids were fighting with the white kids. The next guy is having his house foreclosed.

There are worse. It would take hours to write it all in a way that would make sense. People's lives get so complex and some are so sad, and this isn't even Baghdad.

But I leave the office whistling and all I really want to know is if the Sox are going to win. It's the playoffs. That's something to care about.