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Archive for January 15th, 2010

This blog responds to two BAD things and one GOOD thing about psychotherapy.

First, the BAD things.

It’s expensive:  I slide my rate down to whatever you tell me you can afford.  And I mean it.  (If you don’t believe me, it’s on my website:  www.aquietroom.com.)   I’ve seen people for $200 per hour and I’ve seen people for $1 per hour, because that’s what they each could honestly afford.  They all get the same therapy.  But I can only see so many people at once, even with the groups.  This blog addresses that problem.  Here’s a space where I can share the ideas of psychotherapy with everyone.  Until I can get a book in print (which might be soon), this is what I’ve got – a public space, free to all comers, to spread the ideas I believe in – and to try to help.

It’s pretentious:  I keep a Sigmund Freud bobble-head doll in my office to remind me of two things – that Freud was a genius – and I shouldn’t take myself (or Freud) too seriously.  The ideas that change lives make you say “ah-ha!” and see something differently. Freud concocted some crazy notions (remember “penis envy”?) and some brilliant ones (the unconscious.)  The “Ah-ha” ones stuck around.  If you’re not getting an “ah-ha” from this blog, let me know.  As my old therapist, Lena Furgeri, used to say – “STAY ON MY ASS!”  Feedback is welcome.  I’m the People’s Therapist.  You’re the People.

And the GOOD THING:

Psychotherapy changes lives:  Louis Ormont, one of the inventors of group therapy, told me his dream was to make psychotherapy available for everyone – to put it in schools and all over the globe.  He started therapy groups in high schools in New York City.  “Imagine,” he said, “if children took an hour a week for emotional education, to learn to put their thoughts and feelings into words.  It could change the world!”

I agree with Lou.  There are a lot of ah-ha ideas here.  I want to get them out to you – and hear your thoughts.

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Here’s an old radio interview, I believe from early 2006.  I was featured on John Riley’s OutFM radio show on WBAI, FM 99.5. My segment begins at 39:30 about two thirds of the way through the show.  I discuss the TalkSafe/PLUSES program that I was administrating at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.

There’s some interesting stuff here about HIV and how it affects people’s lives.  John was a pleasure to work with, and with his help, I even put together a short PSA to publicize the program.

Here’s the Facebook Fan page for John’s show.

TalkSafe/PLUSES ran into funding issues a year later, after I’d left.  I believe it remains in existence, though in a different form, and still offers counseling to people with HIV through the HIV Medicaid clinic at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

I saw a great many individual patients, and couples, and also ran a number of short-term groups for HIV+ gay men at Talksafe/PLUSES.  I developed a waiting list eventually, for guys who wanted to continue doing group therapy on a longer-term basis.  Eventually that waiting list turned into a longer-term group I ran as part of my private practice.  We met in my office every Tuesday night, for nearly four years, creating a tight-knit community of guys, now scattered all over the country, who still stay in in touch with me, and with one another.

A big shout-out from the People’s Therapist to the guys from the old Tuesday night HIV+ gay men’s group.

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