Archive for April, 2010

Helicopter Parenting: Why Can't Kids Just Be Kids?

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Sometimes parents are the worst people to bring up their own children.  Over-invested, over-emotional, over-protective and over-competitive, we can go to great lengths to ensure that our gifted and unique children do not have to suffer the trauma of being stonkingly bored and occasionally directionless, take responsibility for personal injury, make self-determined important life decisions and above all strain their brain against the angst and agony of critical thinking.

When a Child is Different

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I know my teenage son is different because he orders extra broccoli on his vegetarian pizza.  He is so conscious of animal rights that he requests no cheese in case it contains animal enzymes and he grates his own rennet-free cheese over the top.  He’s been a vegetarian since he was ten.  He’s now nearly fifteen.  I thought his no-meat phase would last a couple of weeks at most.

He adores horses, has a part-time job cleaning out stables and he loves books.  He doesn’t know how many cylinders a V8 Commodore has – nor does he care.  He is so environmentally aware that his first car will be a hybrid vehicle that runs on vegetable oil.  His favourite movie is “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Gifts of Therapy

Monday, April 12th, 2010

My therapist has loads of ornaments, teddy bears and objets d’art on the shelves of her office that I have become familiar with over the years. What I was not so familiar with was the fact that they were given to her by other clients. Had I known that at the time, I would have been practicing my best sling-shot at them while she made me a nice cup of tea.

One of my gifts is up there, too — a teddy bear, which I bought to keep an eye on her and make sure she is safe, and I begrudgingly have accepted that other items from the enemy have a right to be there as well. I have bought other gifts for her over the years, but these are mainly small, inexpensive and perishable items given for reasons of sincere gratitude for going above and beyond the call of duty in times of crises.

According to Nancy McWilliams’ Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner’s Guide, “Gifts may be fairly innocent or may be loaded with meaning.” What she is saying is that a bunch of flowers or basket of fruit is OK, but a Mercedes-Benz, a sixty-meter yacht, a trio of islands in the Caribbean, or a 10-carat diamond ring might be sending more than just an expression of thanks.

Sex With Your Therapist

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Warning – contains spoilers for Season One of In Treatment.

I have just finished watching Season One of In Treatment, and I have some very mixed feelings about some of the so-called therapy that Paul dishes out to Laura. Therapy sex is an absolute no-no, and the fact that Paul can’t get it up and has an anxiety attack trying to do so doesn’t make it any less unethical, immoral and completely illegal. The therapist who sexualizes his clients, no matter what the provocation (and Laura is a very seductive erotically-transferred client) is committing a crime.

M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, said that if he thought it would benefit his clients, he would sleep with them. But the cure is not through sex, it’s through relationship. The power differential between therapist and client is always there — even after therapy has essentially finished; and no amount of time will ever resolve the fact that one person has major power over the other.

I know sexual feelings, on the part of the client, is not unusual. I am a female heterosexual, who has never had a lesbian affair, having therapy with a female heterosexual therapist, yet sexual feelings (only on my part) arose in my therapy about six years ago. It freaked me out considerably. I was able, after a few years, to raise the subject in the context of “fluid sexuality” that most human beings — even my therapist — experience on a continuum, with heterosexuality on one pole and homosexuality at the opposite end. It is normal for most people to have feelings for the same sex on a sliding scale.


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