Monday, February 18, 2013

Still wondering

Looking back on almost thirty years of trying to facilitate changes in the lives of people who are suffering with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems I am still impressed with how complex we humans are.  There are so many factors that influence how we think and what we do, most of which we are unaware of.

There are the major things such as who your parents are, what is your families ability to provide stability, how healthy you are, and where you live, that determine so much of how you view the world and how you act.  But those can be broken down, and broken down to the details, and which details matter, and when they matter still seem so variable.

Why is my patient, Max, so anxious while his brother is so uncaring?  Same house, same parents, same community, most of the same genes.  But two very different people.  It's true in every family.

Of the five therapists in my office, four of us are Pisces.  In fact, the four of us have birthdays within three days of each other?  Does that really mean anything?

Some of the patients I see, who come to me after years of being anxious and depressed, work with me for six months and skip happily out of the office.  Other take five years and still stare blankly at me during our sessions.  Others leave after three or four meetings and I never hear from them again.

What's the difference?  Me?

Obama wants to begin spending millions of dollars to study the brain, to see what goes on, what makes it function, or function better?  Fascinating.

He compares it to how successful the Human Genome Project was.  Which it was.  But what do we rally know that is useful from the HGP?  We do know somethings, and we seem to be on the verge of learning others.  But, mostly what we have learned is that it is all much more complex than we imagined.

Despite the crazy pressures that may be crushing the way that I practice, these are the things that I still want to find out.  It will be interesting.  I may even be able to be helpful.

I will probably have to spend more time out of my office finding ways to search and research.  But that's OK now.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

I went away for a while where everything was warm and relaxed. At the end of a good time I realized that it was one of the very few times that I didn't want to go back to work.  This year, 2013, has been different.  I knew things were changing but it really feels as if the roof is falling in. When I came home I tried to write it all down and after about six pages of telling myself what was going on I realized that there have been several changes piled on top of each other which reate more confusion, more work and less money.  So, I condensed it all into this:

Last November I took a trip to Italy and reflected upon how our profession was changing.  Change was coming, but I thought it would be manageable, and that I had a few years to continue to ease toward retirement.  

But 2013 hit, and with it the S**t hit the fan.  It all comes down to letters and numbers.  The first one is something I have been writing to my Senators about at thee to five month intervals, but the issue and the threat of drastic cuts never goes away.

The other four are either hitting us now or are on the horizon, coming rapidly to shore.  


What all these letters and numbers seem to mean is that an individual independent psychologist, working in his/her own ideal office, who wishes to be able to see the entire range of people who seek services, and that means those people who need to use their insurance to cover the cost, will have a great deal of difficulty to find the time, and to meet the cost of adapting to those changes.

In some ways we created our own difficulties by marketing our services so well.  I remember, a long time ago, when I first opened my practice one of the biggest concerns we had was that people were reluctant to come and see us because of the stigma of needing help.  Now it seems, everyone comes for help, for almost everything that affects them: stress, relationship problems, work problems,bad judgement, bad behavior, excessive behavior, passive behavior........

Now the problem has become:  Who is going to pay for all of this?

It does seem as if, except in upper middle class, well educated neighborhoods, the model of sitting face to face  with one patient in your comfortable office and talking about the ripple effects of their parents' interactions is sooooo 20th Century.

I am not saying that what is coming will be better or worse, but it is coming. 

I just may not be a part of it. I'm not sure I can afford it.

And here is the musical accompaniment: