Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beyond Therapy

It’s time to reiterate some basic rules about psychotherapy, in the light of Daphne Merkin’s recent cover story, “My Life in Therapy,” in The New York Times Magazine. Anyone seeking to be cured faces immediate excommunication. Anyone who goes into therapy for personal gain, either to improve their earning or sexual power, will be drawn and quartered and then boiled in oil. Life may have an end, but therapy doesn’t have a goal, especially due to the number of neurons and synapses involved with consciousness. Think of it—how can there possibly be a goal to therapy when the exigencies of human existence are so limitless? No sooner do you resolve sex then you are confronted with death, with dispossession, with volcanic hate. History and affects constantly war with each other, producing no Hegelian synthesis, since we are fundamentally organic matter, like flowers and vegetables that are prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). So what is the point of therapy, considering that providers turn out to be as fragile as their patients and similarly prone to weaknesses of the flesh? Continuing with our list of regulations: therapy must not end with death. The patient is only a vehicle through which the observations of the surviving therapist live on, like a solution in high school chemistry, which becomes acid or alkaline depending on the ratios that are maintained. In addition, the patient is a relatively unimportant element. For instance, from a Marxist point of view, the bill is the most important aspect of therapy. This document records the exchange of services for money. The recording of a financial transaction may be mocked and demeaned as the lower essence of a grander project, but the bill is to therapy what the Ten Commandments are to the bible. It reminds the patient that his doctor is not his friend, but someone who he has paid to help him think.

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