"Rick" Straightens PL Out and PL's Response

Here's Rick:

"Hi Pistol Pete!

I have been in therapy on several different occasions for very different reasons. I have found it very useful and life changing at times but insignificant at other times. Why? Timing, the therapist + $.

I certainly understand your point that therapy is not a luxury but a necessity. However, your post comes across as reactionionary instead of a well thought out response. Your point gets lost because your reaction sounds very angry, belittling and wreaks of the very dogmatic tone you consistently rail against. People may call it a luxury when they really mean they're not ready or can find other means to achieve the same results. In these cases, therapy is a luxury and a waste of money + time.

Therapy doesn't only take place on the couch in some office. Nor is it only with someone who puts a time limit on your emotions. A decision not to address problems in our lives can be very damaging, but stupid? As a therapist, is that kind of labeling productive? I don't understand blogging and recklessly ranting may be acceptable in that world but why not try to be open, productive and positive and then maybe readers can benefit from your expertise as a therapist. Instead, you give them the easy out to just dismiss these posts as condescending and, because you refer to your being a therapist frequently, hypocritical.

Some people simply may not be ready to take on the sometimes gargantuan task of dealing with their problems. Like a green tomato on the window ledge, some people just need more time in the sun before they can tackle their demons.

As a teacher, there are circumstances in my students' lives that no one should ever have to endure. I'm sure you can say the same about your patients. The students' refusal to receive help has nothing to do with money, but that is not the point. Some of them are just trying to survive. When they are ready, if they ever get to that point, they will begin to deal with these things on their own terms. That may mean sitting on a couch or medication or whatever.

Therapy can take shape in many forms:

1. open and honest conversations with friends, loved ones or spiritual guides
2. letters that you may or may not send
3. a confession/apology to someone who you have hurt or to someone else
4. prayer to whatever god, being or force of your choosing
5. giving love, friendship + trust

I'm sure there are others and invite people to chime in to suggest them.

Who cares which one they choose? As long as they're taking, what they believe to be, helpful steps in becoming whole, who cares? As long as they are one step closer to giving themselves "full permission to live", who cares? Therapy? More sex? Meds? Prayer? Who really cares if it helps people move to a peaceful state or even if they think they are moving in that direction. It's ALL good!

To label people 'stupid' because they don't subscribe to your thinking isn't very therapeutic and I wonder what outcome would you expect? Maybe my response is your intended outcome, so congrats!"

Here's PL's response to Rick:

Hi Rick - Yes, yes and yes! To many of your points. The temptation of having a blog, I'm discovering, is it lends itself for venting and sounding off like Albert Finney in "Network," or making me seem like a bully with a bully pulpit. You sound like a compassionate and patient teacher, and I salute you as such. I hope that I am generally a compassionate and patient therapist, but I know I can also be somewhat relentless and insistent and a bit of a bull in a china shop at times, and I am certainly so in my writing. Again, I agree with your points and the energy behind them, and I know that people can only do what they can do. That being said, I admit that I am trying to provoke a response, as you suggest at the end, in people who actually can do more towards their own healing and are instead letting their resistance dictate their conditions. Nonetheless, you're right that an "angry" approach will not be very encouraging.
Thanks for the corrective - and provocative - response!

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