Saturday, August 31, 2013

August -- gone

There is just over an hour left in August of 2013.

Quite a month.  It is so precious here in new England, and it goes by like a breath of salt air off the ocean.  Gone.

What happened this month, beside the world almost having everyone go to war again because a few crazy people can't share power?

I didn't work almost all of August.  More than ever I really enjoyed not going to the office.  The patients are all important and worth the effort, but the system has become even more complex and burdensome, and the big insurance companies continue to find ways to pay us less, and then blame it on Obama.

I did spend a lot of time with some crazy people, but they were not my patients, so I could just let them be interesting and let them prattle on about their views of the world, themselves and whatever it was they found so meaningful. Noy my problem.

Today was my daughter's birthday and, as it happens, my daughter-in-law's birthday, which makes things a bit hectic.  But now, to add to the confusion, my newest grandchild, and first grandson, was born yesterday.  He is a big, healthy boy, with two tired, proud parents and an almost two year-old sister who is still trying to figure out why her life is suddenly so different.

So the world reamins it's complex, unfiar, unaring, often cruel place, but my immediate, tightly knit, cloesely guarded spot in it remains remarkably, happy, prosperous, and almost all very healthy.

But now August is gone.  It is  that sweet, melancholy time when the light becomes sharper and golden, when things start up again and become more serious.  We put away the hammock and the kayak, and wonder where the time went.  We didn't get to take that five mile walk to the end of land to the lighthouse for the fifth year of planning to do so. I did paddle across Pleasant Bay.  I did take the girls to the beach and run in and out of the water, and in and out of the water, and in and out of the water.

Hopefully we will do it all again next year, with the boy sitting in the sand, and we try to stop him from eating it.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Quick Fix

I am away from my office for a few weeks, wandering around near the water, doing a pretty good job of not thinking about those I left behind.

Down here I get to talk to friends, and friends of friends, and just see what they do and hear about what they think.  I don't have to do anything about it, which makes life much easier.

But what I hear can be pretty distressing, and that is, even more than before, people are going for the quick fix.  Psychotherapy seems to have lost some of its panache; it takes too long, it costs too much,  and it can be painful to think about the bad things, or to confront difficult problems.  These days it is much easier to find a life coach, a motivational speaker, a spiritual healing, an body-mind energy consultant, a brain-ionizer, a vitiman dispenser, or just a guru to show you the path.

Now, the quick fix has always had allure, for centuries.  But many years ago the fix seemed to be more through suffering, sacrifice and prayer.  Today it seems to be through self-indulgence, self-appreciation, fulfillment and money.  And who can say no to that.

The trouble is, of course, that the quick fix rarely works.  What these kinds of fixers seem to miss is that they are fighting against all of a person's biological history, genetics, family history, interpersonal history, cultural and sub-cultural patterns, and financial resources.

Usually the effects of a weekend pep-talk and a few exercises feels really good, and lasts for anywhere from three hours to three weeks, sometimes a couple of months.  But almost always, those entrenched thought and behavioral patterns creep back in and take over.

However, the bigger problem is, that psychotherapy also, often takes a great deal of time, and still isn't that effective.  That process too has to fight against all of a person's biological history, genetics, family history, interpersonal history, cultural and sub-cultural patterns, and financial resources. Some of these we can confront and work through, others, such as genetics, social class, finances and sub-culture, are often cannot be influenced by verbal interactions that happen in an office for an hour 9 now 45 minutes according to most insurance companies), a week.

There are things that I would strongly recommend that a coach can be necessary;

-- Sports

-- Financial planning

But, with both of those, be careful, find someone with a successful history, the longer the better, and make sure that what they said they did really happpened.