I am in the process of interviewing shrinks.
I am sort of ambivalent about psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists/counselors. On one hand, I recognize that they, like I, provide a valuable service for people in crisis. On the other, I think a lot of it is self-indulgent emo bullshit, especially when I think of the real problems (hunger, disease, war, etc.) facing other people. When this is your biggest problem -- mourning a lost love and relationship -- I think you are getting off easy.
I had written a funny scene in the screenplay where the protagonist "auditions" shrinks. Today's experience provided a helpful addition. He was a very serious man who was interviewing me as much as I did him. I don't think I passed. He explained that his speciality was "deep psychotherapy" and he thought I was looking for something else -- a place to vent, mourn, and heal from the divorce. I threw my head back and laughed and said that was like holding a red flag up to a bull - challenging me. He managed to get even more serious and said that he was concerned that our different personalities would get in the way of the process. He said he was committed to working with people who wanted a deeper level of meaning in their life and who were dedicated to living that kind of life.
I confess that I burst out laughing. I do not mean to mock the process in any manner, shape or form, and I don't doubt this man's commitment to his profession. I have every confidence that he is a very valuable resource for many a troubled folk, as he came highly recommended. I told him that I didn't know anyone that didn't want a deeper purpose and meaning in their life, but in all things, balance.
We had a couple of really meaningful exchanges. One was when he asked me what I wanted. I rambled through the usual "learn from my mistakes, become a better human being, etc." but it all seemed trite as it came out of my mouth. I then said something that shocked the shit out of me. I said "I want and need more fulfilling relationships in my life." What tumbled out of my mouth after that shocked and horrified and rattled me. I realized something pretty profound, and that alone was worth the (free) hour.
I started to wonder if I could "interview" shrinks all over the city (for free) and gain a higher consciousness. I confess that that thought had me laughing (and writing tonight) for a while.
I got teary only at a few points, mostly when he said "I don't know you, but based upon our time today, I would say that you keep most people at a distance and don't trust anyone." I hated that assessment. He then said "I can also see that you have excellent masking and coping skills and are not comfortable being vulnerable." Bitch, I got teary at that, too, so shove that diagnosis up your ass. Finally, and here is when I thought I was going to lose it, he hit the proverbial nail. He said "look, K, yeah, you're going through a lot of shit, but you aren't desperate. You probably have desperate moments, but you aren't a desperate patient. You want therapy because that is what everyone tells you to do in a divorce, but you aren't desperate for it."
Somehow, that vote of confidence brought me to tears. By Mr. Intense Therapist. He isn't the one for me -- I'm sure I need "deep psychotherapy" but the time isn't right. I just need better coping skills and probably a sounding board. I have friends for that and need to use them. That said, I do need a professional to help me organize all of this crap and keep me grounded. I am going to keep interviewing them and getting as much free treatment as possible.
Watch this space for more tales from the therapy-crypt.