Saturday, July 26, 2008

Welcome friend

Hey, it's good to see you.
I'm glad you guys could come on down to the little summer place again. Seems like we get to see more people here than we do at home. Have a beer, that is, if you're still drinking.

So, what ya been doing? What ya been thinking? How about them Sox? Going to fold again, like they used to?
How about the world, Huh? Ya think we're going to make it, as a society? This new guy, he says he's a citizen of the world. The old guy, he still wants to go to war. Hates losing, thinks it's a footbal game, except lots of people die,

The new guy certainly can draw a crowd. The old guy is starting to sound kind of mean and bitter.

How come nobody wants the rights to off-shore wind?

How come Boston spent $20 billion, that right $20 billion to dig a hole under the city for a road, which gets clogged with gas guzzling cars, when they could have had the best mass-transit system in the world? And don't tell me I just thought of that because I said this ten years ago, maybe twelve.

Do you think we might have an American society that cares about each other, or should we stick with each of us trying to be millionaires and trying to sell each other crazy mortgages, big cars, fatty food, questionable drugs, insurance that doesn't pay for much, and reality TV. Lindsey? Brittany? Paris? Laura?

Do you want your daughterto be Hanna Montana?

"Wall Street got drunk" the guy said. I wonder how much he's still ben drinking. that's his only possible excuse for fucking up the world so badly.

So, how ya been? How are the kids? Any of them working? Max is 31 and still trying to be a video game tester. He plays "World Destruction" on his phone while he waits for his latte in the bus station. And you say Maggie's pregnant again. Great, you like the other two grand-kids, that you are raising. Maggie knows who the father is this time, that's cool.

As I said, how about them Sox?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

human brains, !

Our brains have evolved over hundred of thousands of years. This convoluted mass of protoplasm is one of the most amazing and complex structures that nature has produced.

Yet, in our present complex culture, some of the basic responses our brains have developed are no longer always adaptive. The process of deciding when to rely on the more intrinsic responses, and when to think about could be the best choice is a good deal about what therapy is about.

Example 1: Our brains have learned to size-up a situation quickly and choose a course of action. Is that shape a friend or a foe? Is it food that I can capture or a tiger that will eat me? The sooner you decide, and decide correctly, the better off you would be.

But, the world is more complex now. The person coming to meet you is a nice guy, but he wants something. There is now time to get more information. It can be harmful to take a position and stick to it as conditions change. You have to learn how to re-evaluate all the time.

Example 2: Brains have learned to take the short-term gain over the long-term. We act like we are rational and can plan, but under pressure we don't. There may be six antelope out in the field, but we will grab this one right here, even if it frightens the rest away.
So I said to him, "You're thirty-two years old and she is seventeen, how come you thought it was a good idea to have sex with her.?"
"Well, she was there, she made herself available, and it seemed like a good idea at the time."
AND it probably was a good idea --- at the time. But not ten minutes later. And now everything is a mess.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Difference

This was an interesting week.
Last week I was away, lolling around, stretching, eating, making sure the tide ran on schedule.

This week I was back at work. It was interesting, and mostly predictable to see who had done what while I was away. Some people worked hard to make their lives better. They thought about the things we had talked about, they tried to make some changes. They are the ones who make this job worth it.

Some people worked hard, and thought about things, but are still stuck. Their attempts at changes, both internal and external/interpersonal/environmental, did not make much difference. I feel badly, because they are trying, and maybe I should be figuring out things better.

Of course, others did little. They came to see me again, and tell me the same stuff, with a few new excuses about why it was too difficult to take their finger out of their nose. "I know," I tell them, "life's tough, but, in the end, it's your life to do with what you will."

The differences between groups one and two is usually somewhat apparent. There could unmovable people in their lives, their may be physical impediments, or financial ones, or sometimes it is a real brain thing. But, there is a reason that I think I understand.

Why the folks in group three choose, and I use that word intentionally, to suffer, I don't know. Mostly, they don't see it as a choice. Usually, I do. Sometimes, I can see what the choice gives them. I try to change it, but I can't. Sometimes I really can't tell why they just continue to wallow in their own psychic mud.

The people in group three seem to love coming to therapy. But coming to therapy isn't going to make changes in their lives. They have to use what they get from therapy to make changes. Sometimes that's a tough sell.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

really doesn't matter

Went to the beach at night
the 5/8 moon showing itself thought the mist
one star visible
the sea was calm, the waves rolling slowly and rhythmically
one after another, one after another
we are specs in the universe
untiled by our insignificance
yet, we are all we have
and only have it briefly

take good care of yourself

I hope you mean a lot to you

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

$600 an hour?

A friend sent me information about an article in the NY Times bout some NY therapists who get $600 an hour. The article talks about how some of those therapists get sucked into pander a bit to these clients. I guess if someone is going to pay you $600 an hour it must be tough to say things that might drive them away.

As hourly workers go, $600 is right up there. I know there are lots of lawyers who charge more, but most of those charges are paid by big corporate entities. The people who get really rich these days are the ones who can leverage their money, either through many shares of stock, or selling thousands of copies of one thing, form diet books, to hula-hoops.

I truly doubt that these therapists who are getting about 6 times what I get are not saying anything more pithy or life-changing than what I say. As most of you realize by now, I am one of the most skilled and effective psychotherapist on the planet. I just have chose to market my services in some average mill city in New England. I guess that's my fault.

I still have not caved in to the American ideal that those who have more money are worth more as people. I ma not impressed, much to my wife's discontent.

Not that I am against money. If someone wants to send me a check for all of these words of wisdom I'd probably cash it. But, as you can see, I give it away for free -- which either makes me dumb or foolish,

or else makes these words priceless.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


We are down here near the water for the 4th of July. We saw some fireworks, ate some burgers and dogs and even watch families run relay races carrying eggs on a spoon. It couldn't have been more All-American.

Yet, today, being on vacation I had time to read most of the Sunday paper. I read how Americans have been unwisely using up oil since 1973 when the price started to rise. I read that job security has almost totally vanished in this country for almost everyone. That came as a result of the capitalism that also gives a chance to everyone to become wildly wealthy.

I read how global warming is causing extreme weather, and that is leading to crop shortages, and that already has led to wars, which will get worse in the future. I also read about how our health care system is a mess, and the only real way out will be to get a single-payer national system.

These things are obvious, and they all have been for at least twenty years, most for forty years.

What is also obvious, is that we are still spending billions of dollars to send young men across the world to kill people they don't know, for reasons that are unclear.

But it's tough to change things here in America, as it is anywhere else in the world.

Despite all of our freedoms, which are many, and which should not be taken for granted. It is certainly true that living conditions are certainly better and more free than they were two-hundred years ago. But one thing has not changed: people with money and power will not give those things up easily, despite how unjust the conditions that their holding on to their means of acquiring that wealth might cause. Just look at how difficult it was to get rid of slavery.

As one soldier fighting in Afghanistan was quoted as saying: "It's been true for thousands of years: old, rich, powerful men talk tough -- young, poor, strong boys die."