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Posts Tagged ‘therapists’

24DB-PEARSON-master675The People’s Therapist just got profiled in The Financial Times (with a couple other therapists.)

To read the full article, click here.  (Yes, I know, it’s behind a pay wall…but go ahead and subscribe, it’s worth it to read The Financial Times!)  The headline of the piece is “Care from lawyers turned therapists”  and the sub-headline is “Behind a polished exterior can be anxiety, say those who listen to the angst of legal professionals.”

Many thanks to the lovely Emma Jacobs, and Annabel Cook, in London, and the estimable Pascal Perich, in New York City, who took that smashing photo of me with my senior colleague, Simon Dachshund.

Alas, I’ve had to take down my delightful screenshot of the article…the charming Barbara Volkar of the FT’s syndication sales department emailed me, and apparently it violates copyright to reproduce it.  Posting a legally sanctioned reproduction of the article would cost literally thousands of dollars.  And that’s why this post appears a bit truncated.

Sigh…damned lawyers.

Oh poop – here’s a teeny tiny screenshot, just so you can see what it looks like.  It’s hardly even legible.  Let ’em sue me!  They’ll have to tear this moment of glory (a profile in the FT!) from my cold, dead online fingers.

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…and here’s what it looked like in print (again, really teeny, to fend off the copyright police…)

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Please check out The People’s Therapist’s legendary best-seller about the sad state of the legal profession: Way Worse Than Being a Dentist: The Lawyer’s Quest for Meaning

 

 

And now there’s a new Sequel: Still Way Worse Than Being a Dentist: (The Sequel)

 

My first book is an unusual (and useful) introduction to the concepts underlying psychotherapy:Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

 

 

 

 

I’ve also written a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls

in love with a blue alien from outer space. I guarantee pure reading pleasure: Bad Therapist: A Romance

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Our initial task as client and therapist – our work during the first few sessions – resembles cartography.  I begin, like a map-maker, drawing a square or a rectangle, then sketching the outlines of landmarks visible from afar – the mountains, the sea, the rivers.  In limning a life, the prominent features are obvious – where you were born, and when, where you grew up, what you do for a living, who your parents were and what they do, your siblings, if you have any, and your relationships with them, your partner, if you have one, and your relationship with him.  I get the big stuff down, then step back, and try to make sense of it all – take “the lay of the land.”  Later, I’ll add shading and nuance, and fill in the details – tiny inlets and hillocks, copses and rills.

I conjure a map from blank parchment.  It returns the favor – conjuring a New World from my collected observations, and serving as a trusty guide.  The expanse charted in shorthand on the map permits me to “rack focus” (as they say in film-making) – alter my gaze to take a fresh perspective, observe an unaccustomed vista. The map, as it develops, assumes a shape of its own.  Disparate regions are drawn together by common threads – the length of a river’s course, a shared coastline or mountain range.  My attention drifts to objects on the edges of boundaries, features I might have missed.  The elusive “big picture” – awareness, the ultimate goal in psychotherapy – begins to coalesce.

The first step in the process comes as a question from the therapist.  The phrasing of that “first question” gets debated when therapists gather.  I trained with a colleague who invariably asked the same thing at each first session:  “So what brings you here today?”  That feels twisty and indirect to me.  I usually start with “So how are you?” or, depending on my mood, or yours, “So how’s it going?”  Sometimes there’s serious upset taking place in the here and now, that needs attending to right away.  Before I sketch the background – the mountains and the sea and the rivers – I need to know if there’s a battle occurring on that stony plain, a castle under siege, a forest caught fire.

This is an historical map.  I am mapping a quest – an epic voyage.  You are the hero. Ours will be the sort of map with crossed swords to mark battlefields and mythic beasts to guard those unexplored zones at the edges of awareness.

The first question doesn’t matter much, because your unconscious feelings function like a compass.  Wherever you start, you’ll find yourself where you need to be.

I have a good sense of direction, too.  If I sense we’re drifting off-course, I’ll lean my elbow on the tiller.

Your compass is guided by emotion, drawn to it as to a magnetic pole.  If I detect an increase in feeling, I might grow cautious, slow our pace and sniff the breeze, comb the sky for a cynosure – fear, anger, sadness, hurt.  Emotions guide our way.

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