In this morning’s New York Times magazine, former journalist Lori Gottlieb wrote a feature titled The Branding Cure, My so-called career as a therapist, about the dying practice of psychotherapy. As a newly minted psychotherapist, she sat in her empty office awaiting patients to flock to her door for her help. They neither flocked nor walked. They stayed away in droves.
In an effort to find out why, Gottlieb discovered that according to Dr. Katherine C. Nordal in a 2010 American Psychological Association paper titled “Where Has all the Psychotherapy Gone? that psychotherapy as we know it – or at least I know it as 50 to 60 minute face-to-face sessions with a caring and knowledgeable psychiatrist or psychologist – is quickly becoming archaic.
Meanwhile, as “managed care” has declined dramatically, “pharmaceutical companies spent $4.2 billion on direct to consumer advertising and $7.2 billion on promotion to physicians, nearly twice what they spent on research and development,” Gottlieb reported from Nordal’s paper. Increasingly more and more patients are receiving medication only – 57.8% in 2007 or 30% more than 10 years before.
I find that shocking and sad, but I know it’s true.
Having lost my only kidney (yes, I was born with one) to carelessly monitored Lithium Carbonate back in the 1970s and 1980s – iatrogenic acute endstage kidney failure – I know that unmonitored medication can be perilous.
Nordal admits at the outset that “while medication is an appropriate part of a treatment plan for many mental health disorders, psychotherapy has been documented as the preferred treatment for many common psychological disorders.” I have learned that medication PLUS psychotherapy is the best route, but that is my experience. My psychiatric experience started in the 1960s, its dark ages with precious few pharmaceutical choices.
You may have thought that and I wouldn’t blame you.
Work is the greatest therapy of all. Here’s why:
In her new book, “Alone Together, Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” cultural analyst and psychologist Sherry Turkle describes the Goldilocks Effect like this: “Not too close. Not too far. Just right.” It’s also known as the Goldilocks Principle.
(Last year, when I was in the throes of my eating disorder I was driving myself and everyone around me to distraction by wanting to be “just right.” But it was an ephemeral obsession because “just right” for me was always five pounds less. Impossible, of course.)
This is the new normal of our digital age of texting and emailing and posting and online connecting in all its many forms and endless platforms. It’s a factor in digital intimacy, but I’m not going into the Robotics side of this story here. Too much for me to handle right now.
You know, I have lost count of my Facebook “Friends.” At this very moment, as I am in Blogging overdrive so I don’t care about the numbers of Twitter or Linked In or Pinterest connections I have. I hate numbers anyway.
“Less is more,” for me. But then, I’m not normal in any way, new or otherwise. We know that, don’t we?
Ephron died yesterday of “pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukaemia,” her son Jacob Bernstein told the New York Times in today’s edition.
But somehow, I always believed Nora would be. (She was just 71.)
She always brought a smile to my face. A giggle. Like another of my favourite resident New York writers, Calvin Trillin.
They’re both entirely different, but immeasurably engaging and amusing, at times laugh-out-loud funny because their writing in all its forms pricks our nerves, tickles us, speaks their truths with a visceral honesty that hits us where we live – in our heads and our hearts (and our tushes).
I’ve been in touch with Sherry Turkle, initially to request an interview.
Right now, she’s buried under a pile of dissertations, grading or marking, as we say here in this country, and how well I understand the pressure of that task.
It is backbreaking work. She declined my request most graciously, but surprisingly expressed an interest in this blog.
Sherry Turkle is the pre-eminent scholar on technology and its impact on our lives. How it is defining our lives and our identities ~ who we are.
Right now I’m reading everything I can get my hands on by her and about her, as I am unable to interview her.
“She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.
“She has been studying our changing relationships with digital culture for over three decades, charting how mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics are changing our work, families, and identity. Profiles of Professor Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Wired Magazine. She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, and 20/20.”
I need to research my subjects…
I cannot write about anything without research.
UPDATE: It is now 4:52 p.m. on Monday, June 25. It is Day 15 of my Blogathon. I had planned to continue the discussion I began yesterday, when I arrived home, but I just did and I’m exhausted. I took the bus and the subway. Therefore, I hope you’ll accept that this is my post for today. Tomorrow, I’ll finish writing Is “Texting Destroying Our Humanity, Part Two.”
This has not been a good morning because of all kinds of online demands have distracted me and kept me from my main obligations.
I had a small emergency that had to be dealt with fast. Online. That takes time. It takes twice as long, online, actually. And not because I type slowly. I’m a 150-word-a-minute girl. Started on a manual typewriter. Do you remember those?
Then another instant demand came through. And another.
People do not always respond quickly. Instantly. Like on the phone. In live engaged conversation. True, emotions sometimes get in the way, but on the other hand, non-verbal cues are very telling. Frankly, they’re as important as the words.
Still, everything takes so much time. I’m not patient and I don’t like waiting.
Overwhelmed by my commitment to blog for 31 days straight. I have another 17 days to go. (Eeeeeek!)
For some reason I cannot manage to get a few posts written and “in the can” so I can rest a bit. And breathe. But this might be that post.
For example, I had considered posting about the heinous bullying of Karen Klein, the 68-year-old school bus monitor by four teenage boys in Greece, N.Y.
I have some other perspectives on this incident that feed into my discussion earlier this month about discrimination and prejudice. Right now, however, I simply do not have the energy to explore them, so I’m going to recharge before I do.
So, I’m going muse about that. It’s more than just bothering me, I’m worried. Seriously. Perhaps it’s a social ill. Or just a social trend. I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s fair to call it “social.”
I think it’s anti-social. You tell me.
We live in an increasingly quiet household.
Besides our dogs who live to alert us to at any activity they see outside, our phones almost never ring. I’ve disconnected one of our two landlines because they are becoming obsolete. Most people prefer email or texting, besides my mother and my youngest step-daughter who do call us and we love to hear their voices.
Several years ago, I posted about this in my earlier incarnation of Coming Out Crazy. In that July 3rd, 2009 post, I asked “Is Texting versus Talking destroying the human dialogue?”