Once taboo, people now talk openly about their therapy, about getting help, etc. They even go on national TV to be blamed and shamed, the host handing them a monogrammed handkerchief to wipe their mascara-smeared tears away as they expose their innermost secrets for open consumption as people boo and clap and nod sympathetically. It’s like a modern Colosseum of anxiety.
Sadly, a lot of what we think of as psychotherapy or therapy is derived from what we’ve been given on TV, at the movies, or in books, etc. While it can be vastly entertaining, it’s mostly outdated or riddled with myths and half-truths or worse.
The Sopranos In Treatment Frasier Soap
Beyond Therapy Couples Retreat M*A*S*H
What About Bob? (Baby Steps) Nuts
Mad Men Dr. Phil Don Juan DeMarco
Beautiful Dreamers Equuus Frances
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Monk
The Sessions The Sixth Sense Numb
Lost Angels Sucker Punch Anger Management
Analyze This Analyze That K-Pax
Awakenings Panic Oz Go On
Silence of the Lambs Web Therapy
Ordinary People An Unmarried Woman
Charlie Brown A Dangerous Method Mumford
Arrested Development High Anxiety Good Will Hunting
I Dream of Jeannie Precious
The Prince of Tides Austin Powers Girl Interrupted
Sex lies and videotape Hope Springs
The Bob Newhart Show and so many more…
Perhaps entertaining, but fictional.
We know real hospitals aren’t like on Grey’s Anatomy, House, Scrubs, Doogie Howser or ER.
Being in the White House isn’t like West Wing or VEEP; although it would be cooler.
Crime isn’t solved as easily or neatly as on Elementary, CSI, Law & Order or well, any crime drama, ever.
So why would we think therapy is like what we see on TV? These aren’t documentaries.
I’m pleased more books such as, Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better Than Others by Michael R. Edelstein, PH.D., Richard K. Kujoth, ED.D, and David Ramsay Steele, PH.D. (Open Court) are being published.
Don’t let the long title fool you, this book is actually an easy read. This makes a strong pitch for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with practical examples, science-based information that is productive, interesting, comprehensive, as well as humorous. I thoroughly enjoyed it and gasp, maybe learned something. Insert dramatic music here.
This book explains so well the differences between older and newer therapies and more importantly, why one works better than the other.
Therapy isn’t a sign of weakness or insanity. There’s no disgrace in wanting your life to be better and asking for help. In this mixed-up, overwhelming world is it any wonder there are whole self-help sections in book stores. But remember, find out what feels comfortable for you.
Therapy’s not passive, or rambling on and on and on about your problems, childhood or traumas, or all happy thoughts nor is it a confrontation blame and shame game. Those tricks are just to pander to an audience, get ratings, get money from advertisers, sell books, merchandise, etc.
Therapy shouldn’t be about big business, keeping people in business, or funny business. It should always be about what’s the best interests of the person who needs help.
If done properly therapy is simply another resource to help you do the work.
Tonight I think I’ll probably enjoy my favourite form of therapy which usually involves books, TV, or movies…maybe High Anxiety?