Tag Archives: client

What’s Your Experience With The Couch?

While researching for something that inspires me enough to want to write about it on my blog, I came across an article in the Opinionater Section of the New York Times, sub-headed under another section entitled, From The Couch.

I enjoy reading these articles. They are written by psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and others who fall under the heading of Psychotherapist. I like to discover what my colleagues are
experiencing in hopes that I will learn something new and somehow apply it to my work with my clients. Frequently, I learn something new and apply it to my own life.

After reading a particular article, I went to the comments section. The responses were fascinating. Some people wrote about everything but how the article made them feel and some identified with the patient/client. Others seemed to be offended by the author. They felt that he was manipulative. One person wrote, “Perhaps the therapist doesn’t realize that the authoritarian, engineered therapy dynamic itself can stoke his clients’ infantilization and intimidation.”

That was just one of the angry sentences that one person wrote. There were many more like it in her letter. I then read another article, enjoyed it and went to the comments section again.

That same person whom I quoted above, wrote equally angry couchremarks to other articles found in From The Couch. It made me wonder about the negative experiences this particular person must have had in therapy. That’s where I went right away but maybe she’s a provocateur, maybe she just likes to stir things up. I’ll never know. What I do know is that the anger with which she replied was prevalent in every comment section on every piece that I read.

All of the comments that I read by everyone made me think about the relationship between a therapist and client and that it’s unlike any other. It’s intimate but one sided. The therapist generally doesn’t share too much about herself with the client and the client shares everything (from joys and angers to secrets and lies) with the therapist. The therapist’s role is to create an environment in which the client feels safe enough to express his/her feelings and thoughts. For some, this can be challenging when the relationship is so one sided. For many, it’s easier because the roles are clear.

I wonder what your experiences have been as a client or as a therapist. Perhaps you’ve been on both sides of the “couch.” Let me know. You can contact me here. 

Is It Grief or Depression?

Patrick O’Malley wrote an article for The New York Times entitled, “Getting Grief Right.” O’Malley is a psychotherapist. His article is about the work that he did with a particular client, whom he refers to as, Mary.

Grief 2Mary lost her daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. She contacted O’Malley because he too lost a child and Mary thought that it would be helpful to work with someone who had an idea of what she was going through. She had gone through two therapists before contacting O’Malley.

During a session Mary asked, “’What is wrong with me? It has been almost seven months.’

Very gently, using simple, nonclinical words, I suggested to Mary that there was nothing wrong with her. She was not depressed or stuck or wrong. She was just very sad, consumed by sorrow, but not because she was grieving incorrectly. The depth of her sadness was simply a measure of the love she had for her daughter.”

Sometimes a client goes into therapy because they feel that they are reacting incorrectly or for too long, to a painful experience.

“To be sure, some people who come to see me exhibit serious, diagnosableGrief symptoms that require treatment. Many, however, seek help only because they and the people around them believe that time is up on their grief. The truth is that grief is as unique as a fingerprint, conforms to no timetable or societal expectation.”

If you have given yourself a timetable to overcome your grief, you may want to read O’Malley’s article in full. What did you learn? I’d love to know. You can contact me here.