Archive for October, 2009

Not Another High School Reunion?

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Going to school and coming home to your parent’s house afterwards is no big deal – unless you’re 47 years old and it’s your second 30th school reunion in four months and you need a crash-pad for the night.

Only this time it was with Brother School Mazenod – or Spazenod as we used to call it. This is the fourth I’ve been to from the same school and I have to say they get better and better.

I grew up in a very snobby, isolated rural area, went to a girls Catholic boarding school run by nuns in the Seventies (for the Australians think Picnic at Hanging Rock without the haunting music, Anne Lambert, the picnic or the Hanging Rock and for the rest of you think Dead Poet’s Society without Robin Williams) with limited access to boys, a Victorian mother and emotionally-absent father and much younger sister I just didn’t get. All the necessary ingredients to make a future long-term, fixated and obsessed psychotherapy client.

At the ten-year reunion everyone had fabulous careers, slim figures, natural hair, a one drink limit, sensitive and caring partners/husbands, a huge house with matching mortgage, no regrets, no wrinkles and a fantastic future.

At the twenty-year reunion, we were pretty much working mothers and wives with primary school aged children and a side-lined career, but life was still great, the house was a work in progress, our children all well-behaved geniuses, a two drink limit, one or two minor regrets, but the future was still looking mighty sweet.

Come the thirty-year individual and combined reunions and it’s a level playing field where insecurity and pretension was conspicuous by its absence. Most people were divorced, careers were slumped or dumped or reconfigured and reinvented, children were surprisingly normal and sometimes disappointing, our hairdresser was our new BFF and the mortgage had blown out along with our credit cards, weight, emotional baggage and alcohol bill. But everyone there without exception displayed a philosophical maturity that only comes with age and experience. It’s not how our life evolved but how we viewed that precious process of evolvement because we …

How many Psychologists does it take to Change a Light Globe?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

How many psychologists does it take to change a light globe?
It’s cheaper to get an electrician.

Therapists, psychologists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are business people. First and foremost they have bills to pay, mortgages to negotiate, children to put through college and the myriad of other expenses we all have to deal with. That’s life.

I loathe being reminded I am paying someone to take care of my mental health issues. But that is the reality of the situation. I am handing over tens of thousands of dollars and in return getting a brand new personality – but unlike a car or a new washing machine, there is no twelve month guarantee. The therapist gets paid whether the client gets well or not and when he/she puts their fees up, that pay-rise increment over a week can equate to my entire wage. If I said that didn’t make me feel a bit bitter I would be lying.

My father, not a fan of the psychotherapy industry, gleefully tells me the story (over and over again) of someone he knows who spent his not inconsiderable inheritance seeing a psychiatrist for a recognizable mental condition and after watching his legacy dwindle away year after year ended up in a far worse condition. When this person ran out of money, the psychiatrist refused to see him. As I pointed out to Dad (over and over again) this health professional is running a business, albeit in the caring industry, and he still needs a certain amount of income in order to survive. I would not expect an electrician or a plumber to work for nothing.

What are the financial ethics and personal morals and values of therapy? I have read where some well-known psychotherapy authors and practitioners feel guilty about charging so much money just for some talk-therapy. I applaud their guilt. I wonder if medical doctors, lawyers, accountants and politicians feel the same amount of guilt, humility and anxiety when they charge more for an hour than I make in the entire day. I also know of therapists who …


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