Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Therapocracy

188 The Therapocracy

Everyone’s in therapy. And if you believe the therapocracy, everyone should be. And they’re probably right.

In earlier times, the “talking cure” was open only to the rich. The well-off would flock to their psychiatrists’ offices, lie down on the couch and blabber on about what-all. The therapist, who had been trained by Freud or one of the Elder Little Freudlings and who had gone through extensive (and expensive) psychoanalysis would nod and say “hmmmm,” in appropriate or pseudo appropriate places in the monologue just to prove to the patient he (and it was almost always a “he,”) hadn’t been bored to death or bored to sleep.

Those with severe psychological problems and who lacked means to pay for putting the shrink to sleep would get a one-shot dose of parental or supervisory therapy that consisted of the therapist saying something along the lines of

“You’re a lazy, good-for-nothing irresponsible scrunge with a chip on his shoulder and who blames the whole world -- which you think owes you a living-- for your screwups and you’ll end up in the gutter dying a slow, painful but well deserved death if you continue. Now knock it off and get on with your life.”

More often than not, that worked better than three times a week on the couch. Today, you can’t say stuff like that.

Today, you have to babble on as the Freud crowd did, but your health insurance pays for it and there likely isn’t a couch, you – poor thing – have to remain seated.

In an effort to drum up business, the Therapocracy has devised a whole bunch of stuff to keep you coming back.

“Next week, let’s talk about why your mother went out to work instead of staying home to raise you.”

This needs some translation, and here it is: “next week, let’s talk about how your mother struggled to help support the household, leaving you home to find new and better ways of feeling sorry for yourself.”

Or “Next week, let’s talk about your absentee father.”

Which translates into “Let’s talk about how your father was trying to build a career or a business, and like 100-million other men went to work every day so there would be food on your plate and he could actually accomplish something in life beside sitting home and wiping your nose.”

You can bet those translations are what’s going on in your therapist’s head as he conducts another 40 minute hour of the cure for your “abandonment” by your parents.

Let’s all jump on the bandwagon: “Dr. Zirconium, I had a perfectly normal childhood. A loving home, great relationships with my parents and my brothers and sisters. Now, I feel guilty because there are so many people who didn’t have that.”

Or:

Dr Polyethylene I think I’m suffering from Post Traumatic Stress syndrome brought on by the events of 9/11/01 and that’s why I beat my cat and rob convenience stores.

Or: “Dr. Quantum I can’t get a decent job because the whole world’s against me because I’m a misunderstood (White Male, African American Female, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, dwarf, wheel chair user…etc.)

Now, knock it off and get to work.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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