Thursday, February 21, 2019

What to Shop for in a Therapist?

When you’re young you look up to parents, teachers, coaches and other authority figures as bearers of truth. Of course high on this list is the therapist. Once someone begins to pour his or her heart out to a therapist, there’s no way to prevent so-called transferential feelings which either do or don’t make the therapist the repository of unimpeachable truths—depending of course on what your childhood relationship with a parent was like. What’s disconcerting later in life is to realize that therapists and analysts are just people whose view of you is highly subjective and motivated by their own histories and feelings, ie the countertransference. Unless you're a Kantian who believes in right and wrong, you end up facing the  the tragic morass of subjectivity in which humans dwell. Remember Polish jokes? Well you might ask how many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb or diagnose a neurosis? No two mental health practitioners are going to triage, for example, the nebulously suffering neurotic the same way or prescribe the same treatment or cure. If you’ve spent any time hanging around those in the mental health field you soon realize unsurprisingly that they’re not immune to the same delusions and symptomatology that their patients suffer from. In fact, a doctor who realizes that he or she's sick is likely to be in a better position to be aware of their own vulnerabilities where patients are concerned. So in the absence of ultimate knowledge, what is one to look for when shopping for psychiatrists and psychoanalysts and other healers? Ironically, it would seem to be a kind of seductiveness. A good practitioner is able to create a therapeutic bond. He or she may be a jerk who possesses a lot of deranged ideas, but if they're able to forge an alliance with the patient and metaphorically rescue the drowning swimmer without drowning themselves, they can be lifesavers. 

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