Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rock stars and therapy

As I was looking at this blog today, I realized my last post was the one I posted at the end of my beloved Criminal Intent. Goren and Eames had ridden off into the sunset, somewhere in Mahattan. I hope in that alternative universe they both got good positions and could keep their pensions.

I'm writing this post as an ode to my therapist Scott. I'm home sick today instead of processing my crazy life with him. I'm sure he misses me. I'm also pretty sure he thinks I'm dicking around on him and not really sick. Trust me, Scott. I'm sick this time. You really will rest easier without me around today.

Scott is the rock star of therapists. Trust me, I should know. My mom is a licensed clinical social worker. I went to school for a master's in social work for two years. I've had tons of therapists and tend to be from the school of thought that everyone can get something from therapy if they're teamed with the right person. And I've been teamed with some good ones before. But this guy? Every time I leave he's given me something new to think about. And I'm a pretty analytical person, so it's hard to give me something different to chew on.

But he does it. And he's incredibly respectful of me as well. When we began discussing a topic I really didn't care to discuss, I said so and we backed up and changed direction. Altered the dance steps. Like I told him, it's not as though i don't have a bajillion things we could talk about--take your pick.

At any rate, most of my life I've worked with female therapists. Personal issues from childhood made me more comfortable disclosing my feelings to women. When I was a young teen, I had a male psychologist for awhile and he was terrible. He stared at me for what seemed like forever, every session, and then would say, "Penny for your thoughts." Dude, if you were really giving me all those pennies then my parents would have been bankrolled on your business.

What changed my mind about trying a male therapist again actually had very little to do with me and more to do with my son. During some of his struggles, my son has seen several different therapists. Three of the four were excellent. And two of them were men.

When I started therapy this time, my goals for myself were to get clearer about who I was and what I wanted in my life. I also wanted support from someone who could understand what it was like to live with an attachment-disordered child. I decided that if a man could do those things, I would give it a try.

Enter Scott. Honestly, we're still getting to know each other. Our first meeting would have been awkward if I hadn't been a time bomb about to blow. I think I cried the entire session. I remember him saying one thing to me that stuck, and made me commit to come back. He told me, "I've worked with children who are severely mentally ill. I believe everything you've said to me. "

So I came back. Every time I go I cry, but now I cry for a few minutes instead of forty-five. In a matter of weeks, Scott has helped me to view some of my perceived weaknesses as strengths, helped me give myself permission to be a human being, helped me figure out how to be a better mother. I've never had a therapist that gave me so much good food for thought. This guy is good. This guy is a rock star.

I quit my own program toward a degree in social work because I knew I couldn't do what Scott does. I don't have the skill to delicately pull truths out of people and weave together a healing portrait. In fact, it's been my experience that most people don't have that skill--even therapists. That skill is rare. But when it's done, it's gently and nuanced and feels more like an art--like rearranging delicate pieces of a mosaic to make a new picture. Like an artist. Or arranging chords and keys to make a masterpiece of music.

You know. Like a rock star.

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