In Synch with Your Shrink – – It’s Not What You Think. . . (Wink, Wink)


photo-292She was my 18th Therapist but I was her very First patient.  Here’s how it went down. . .

(Oh, it’s perfectly okay!  It doesn’t violate the Confidentiality Code when it’s the patient who does the blabbing.)

 

Me:  Um, I usually don’t sit in the leather chair behind the big, important looking desk?

Therapist:  Oh!  Sorry.  I’m a little new at this.  I thought if you had one of those Inferiority Complexes, that would cure you right away.  Plus I just ordered this new $1200 couch and I wanted to see if it was comfortable.

Me:  So how does it feel?

Therapist:  Well, lemme see.  I’m experiencing a little of what we call the Imposter Syndrome which means I’m afraid you might think I’m a fraud masquerading as a professional – – So my defense mechanisms have turned up a bit.  And I have some obsessive compulsive tendencies – – I want to reach behind your head and straighten that picture by a 1/4 of an inch.  Plus I’m feeling a little Borderline Personality-ish this morning with a dash of Seasonal Affective Disorder thrown in, which means I need more sun-exposure.  Would you mind opening those blinds a tad?

Me:  No, the couch.  How does the couch feel?

Therapist:  Oh!  Well the fabric is kinda scratchy and there’s too much stuffing behind my lower back and I notice a slight tear in the…

Me:  (looking at watch) Well that’s all the time we have for today.  We’ll take up the topic of lumpy, bumpy, grumpy sofas at our next appointment.

Okay!  Keeping in mind that occasionally a therapist has more problems than the “patient,” here are “Ten Tips To Try” when beginning psychotherapy.

 

Miss Menopause’s Modern, Mature (slightly Morbid) Mindset Maxims

 

1.  You’re Not An Entertainer!   –  If you think your therapist looks bored, she probably is.  But resist the urge to liven up the session by ratcheting up your life a notch.  Don’t tell your therapist that you’re the reason Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage Consciously Uncoupled.  Or that you like the name Gwyneth for that matter.  Save all creative embellishments for your humor blog.

2.  Be Faithful!  – –  See only one therapist at a time.  I once played the psychology field and saw three different therapists to decide which style I preferred.  Because I made the mistake you read in #1, I couldn’t keep my stories straight.  When the one on Tuesday asked how my Swinging was going?  – –  I began to elaborate on nightly (spicy!) partner swapping and all the feelings of insecurity that brought up for me.  But it turns out that was the Thursday Therapist Anecdote.  A week ago Tuesday, I had boasted that I was a Championship West Coast Swing dancer.   Needless to say (re: either story) I was diagnosed with “Delusions of Grandeur.”

3.   Don’t Do Dreams! – – Just don’t.  I recounted a dream I had that my ex-husband and I were arguing over where we should live.  During the nightmare (it just got upgraded to a nightmare when I recalled my ex wanted to live next to his mother)  I happened to be eating walnuts. (my dreams are weight watcher approved) Now I was eager to talk to her about the pros and cons of moving to another country, but instead I spent the next hour listening to what walnuts symbolize.  Thanks to that stupid dream, I now know that a)I care about people’s insides more than their exteriors (this is because I discarded the shells instead of saving them) b)  I’m always trying to get at the heart or core of the matter.  c) I’m searching for something that most people might think is a little nutty.  Oh!  And d) Instead of penis envy, I have testicle envy.  If only I had the foresight to dream about peanuts.  They are in the legume family.

Never admit you dreamed about these.  Instead crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on her couch and might sue her.

Never admit you dreamed about these. Instead slowly crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on that $1,200 couch and might sue her.

4.  Just Admit You Hate Yourself!– – You will save a ton of time and money if you just fess up to feeling insecure and nervous about your self-worth like the rest of us.  If you don’t, be prepared to discuss ad nauseam that the reason you lost your job, broke up with your boyfriend, didn’t win the lottery and always choose the slowest checkstand in the supermarket is because you Self-Sabotage.

5.  Do Not Flirt! – – Wear a Freudian slip underneath that short skirt!  No matter HOW attractive your shrink is, it’s crucial to act like you wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in kissing your therapist if you met them on Match-com instead of on a $1200 couch.  Bat even one eyelash and you’re in for a diagnoses of  “Transference” which means you’re redirecting feelings and desires (especially those unconsciously retained from childhood) toward a new object.”  That’s right.  I always undressed my Pet Rock with my eyes and fantasized that we’d run off to Stonehenge together.

6.  Never Utter the Twelve Letter Word!  – – It will send your therapist through the roof and bring out all his or her Anger Issues.  They trained for a long time to get their degree and they know what they are talking about when they say you are “In Denial, need some Self-Actualization and come from a Dysfunctional Family with zero Synergy.”  If you even so much as whisper the word “Psychobabble,” she will immediately regress you to a nose-picking, five-year-old with a bad haircut on the first day of kindergarten.

7.  Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach! – – I don’t care if you’re starving, never even so much as chew a stick of gum.  Therapists are well schooled about the “Oral Stage” and will watch every move your mouth makes.  Soon you will feel very deprived that your mother didn’t breastfeed you long enough.  Or worse, you were bottle-fed and that’s why drinking a 6 oz carton of chocolate milk brings out your passive/aggressive side.  But take heed, if you dare bring a sandwich into your appointment (squeezing in therapy on your lunch hour, right?) you’ll be analyzed for every Eating Disorder in the book.  Hold the mayo?  Anorexic.  Footlong Sub?  Bulimic.  Tuna salad wrapped in just a lettuce Leaf?  Carbaphobe.  Basil Chicken Salad with Arugula, dried cherries and apple butter paired with goat cheese?  Haute Gourmet Eater Syndrome.  Save the calories and aggravation.  Eat at home beforehand.

8.  No Cemetery Conversation! – – Unless you want to be labeled as “having a preoccupation with death,” never admit that you’ve written your own obituary and laid out the clothes you wish to be buried in.  Fashion tip:  Scarves can add a pop of color to a pale complexion.  Oh, and if you let slip that’s you’re dieting to fit into a size 2 graveyard gown, that Eating Disorder diagnosis will come up again.

Isn't it "normal" to wonder who will show up at your funeral?  Was Tom Sawyer in therapy??

Isn’t it “normal” to wonder who will show up at your funeral? Was Tom Sawyer ever in therapy??

9.  Don’t Use “I” Messages! – – The reason for this is because if you go in knowing too much, the therapist will have no life-coping skills left to teach you and before you know it, you’ll be saying that the squashed cockroach on the floor looks like an ink blot.  So give them an easy lesson that they think they’ve helped you master and (they’ll have such a sense of job satisfaction!)  you’ll be discharged weeks ahead of schedule.  Plus they might even remove their snobby, framed graduate degree diploma from their wall.

It works like this:  Therapists want you to take responsibility for how you feel by using “I Sentences.”  i.e.  “I feel angry right now.”  Or even better:  I feel angry because I don’t know how I can pay your outrageous bill.”  Therefore do the opposite and start sentences with “You.”  i.e. – –  “You caused me some grief when you said my son has an oedipal complex.” Or, “You make me feel like I am just another number.”  Or, “You make me feel….like a natural woman.”  The latter is better off belted out like Carole King and yes, going to a Karaoke Bar with your therapist would still count as flirting.

10. Don’t Nail Yourself to a Cross! – – When you hear The Voice that proclaims you’re actually really Jesus, never refer to the incident as anything but Quirky.  Quirky can hide a multitude of crazy.  Best of all, no Self-Described Eccentric will ever find “Quirky” listed as a pre-existing condition on a health insurance exclusion form.  Oh yeah, and today’s your big day, Jesus – so Happy Easter!

That’s it!  If you ever find yourself on a therapist’s couch and there’s not a television and a remote control handy, the above list should keep you out of trouble and from having to talk about the time your mother flushed you down the toilet.  P.S.  That wasn’t you.  You only projected that was you.  It was really just your pet parakeet.

 

 

 

 

 

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52 thoughts on “In Synch with Your Shrink – – It’s Not What You Think. . . (Wink, Wink)

  1. Pingback: How to Make Sure Your Kids Get Their Fair Share of Therapy! | Once Upon Your Prime. . .

  2. I personally blame the family therapist for the break-up of my parents marriage. When we did the whole family deal he would pass around a stuffed Kermit the Frog like it was the spirit stick and the speaking wand and whoever held Kermit held the floor. What kind of real debate is possible when you’re and adult or a teen holding a stuffed green toy best known being as passive aggressive personality with control issues [always in charge but someone else is always to blame when things go wrong] and obviously suffering from depression [It isn’t easy being green was a bit of a giveaway]. Personally I think my parents decided divorce much a more dignified approach to the whole thing.

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  3. Lol Ms Pause, you are something. I’ve never had to visit a therapist, never hope to do so either. But if by some weird cosmic miracle i ever find myself there, I’ll be sure to stuff this list in my back pocket.

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    • I get the biggest kick outa you calling me “Ms. Pause.” It’s not just the “Pause” part. I’m obviously fooling nobody with the “Miss” stuff and you just graduated my ass to “Ms.” quicker than I can say “gray hair!” Thanks, you!!

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    • Are you really? I was truly hoping someone from the field would pop in and comment. So glad you took it in the spirit it was intended. And honored you took the time to read and comment in the first place. Did you look at your watch by the end of my post, however?? 😉
      take care,
      stephanie

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      • I happen to work in an area where the clock ticking makes no difference so it’s not a force of habit 😉 My particular area of work also has a pre-requisite for a good sene of humour! Life without humour is very bleak indeed. Looking forward to your future posts.

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  4. Reblogged this on DrShapero's Blog and commented:
    Laughter is good for your health. This amazing writer who is also close to my heart will certainly give you a laugh. So, enjoy and be sure to let yourself laugh out loud.

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  5. A wonderful list of very helpful suggestions. Though honestly, my favorite is number one. After all, when you’re in therapy, the person you’re talking to already thinks you’re crazy. My philosophy is take any wild idea and run with it. You’ve got to think they’ve heard the same story about a “fear of abandonment ever since someone’s father left” about a thousand times. So, the least you can do is give them something new to listen to. My personal favorite is how my self-induced colorblindness stems from the trauma of being assaulted by a unicorn when I was three. My advice is to drink a little to really spin an incredible story. Though, don’t let them see you drinking. That would make their jobs too easy. Also, I appreciate the advice not to share dreams. I’m afraid to hear the symbolism behind some of mine. Another masterpiece of yours! Well done!

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    • My feelings exactly! I get very self-conscious that my “stuff” is dullsville so I tend to liven it up for them. I imagine that I’m the subject of many a dinner time conversation back home with their families. As an aside, I also do the same thing with my diary. I always think, “This could fall into the wrong hands. I better either censor it or just make it a best-seller!” Kinda defeats the purpose of a diary, hmmmm? I am just so bizarre. I am glad you “get” me, Adelie!!! Because I so admire your unicorn story.

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  6. Flashbacks, m’dear… I did therapy for over 25 years. I can’t remember how many therapists I’ve had. Much of the terminology, if I remember right, is more specific to psychology– I did that for a time before exiting and going in the psychiatry door for the crazy pills.

    And I met many a schmuck, putz, and everything in between, if you catch my meaning. Sometimes, I think, the therapists were crazier than the patients.

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      • I’m goyim. I didn’t want to seem presumptuous. I have a friend who’s ethnically Jewish, and he doesn’t like it when I use those terms. He says, “Why would you use those terms insultingly for your best friend?” I always say, “Well, my ‘best friend’ has gotten me into a lot of trouble…” and that included things I had to talk to therapists about.

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  7. Are you in my head? Seriously? I suppose that’s another topic to strike off my list for a potential therapist. But I have been reconsidering visiting one after my last disastrous attempts, which I won’t recount here.

    I will print out your list as a reminder to read in the waiting room if I brave it again.

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    • Wendy, Wendy – – Do you think I could make it as a stand-up if I write down my funny lines and tell the audience to “pass it down?” Because I HATE public speaking. They could pass it around to all the tables and then I could count to three and a group laugh could ensue? Right. Thanks anyhow, my friend. BUT….please keep thinking of professions to get me to NYC. And then think of something to tell my ex so he’d follow me there and child visitation would be simplified. Thanks Wendy!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wendy and Stephanie, this conversation helped me remember when I took a Journalism course in college. We each reported a news article every week. Rather than hunt down something to write about, I made up all of my news stories.

        Now, on stage, that’s a different story. Stephanie, maybe when your kids are all grown up and spread across the 6 corners of the globe, we could team up and settle into a retirement home where people still have their wits about them, but we’d be the wittiest 🙂

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  8. Should I ever visit a shrink (and with a family like mine I think I’ll be needing one or two sooner or later) I will definitely remember not to sing ‘You make me feel like a natural woman’. I think if I’d do that, they’d lock me up forever and ever.
    You should really read ‘the Psychopath Test’. You’ll love it. Trust me. I read it, because I happen to like the author’s work a lot.
    Kindest of regards,

    Arthur

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  9. I really enjoyed reading this post; it was hilarious. I liked that you were thinking of running off to stonehenge with your pet-rock. I’m sure your therapist would be interested to hear about that one 🙂 I know what you mean about needing to fess up about your insecurities. I spent absolutely ages skirting around the facts with a therapist once, and it only served to frustrate both of us! All in all, loving the humour 🙂

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  10. This was quite a summary. Funny and having been in health care for 25 years you have brought up some hilarious and often too true scenarios that I’ve heard. The first one is VERY funny and I enjoyed the dreams part as well. Hmmm, how does that apply for a guy? I will trust your experience on that one. Very true about being well fed, especially hard to talk with food dropping out your mouth. Oh, and the end about being flushed down the toilet, I have a true story about that . . . well actually a couple so we will talk off line. Brilliant humor piece as usual, I sure they have a label for me about enjoying these types of blogs as well.

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  11. I was breezing through my email to see what a certain person sent, and felt an irresistible pull from your first line here.

    Your new therapist sounds like my first counselors. Counselors with Master’s degrees don’t learn much about counseling others. They learned how to talk about themselves, including when advising clients. On the other hand, you show aptitude for being a therapist by asking, “So how does it feel?” I’m interested in knowing the answer to your question, “How does the couch feel?” Is it feeling squished? Bored from repeatedly hearing the same answers to the same questions? Squirmy from all the pieces walnut shells under its cushions? And then, what does this indicate about…

    From “Wear a Freudian slip underneath that short skirt!” through “transference” to “fantasized that we’d run off to Stonehenge together,” this pointer broke my laugh meter.

    Carole King? Wasn’t that Aretha Franklin?

    Thank you for following your advice here; “Save all creative embellishments for your humor blog.” You have Risen to the occasion. Alleluia! Oh! How sacriligious of me! I told you I’m going to hell 😈

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    • My Dear Gracie Girl – – Am I to trust you with the difference between Aretha Franklin and Carole King when you told me one of my other references was to somebody else (that I cannot recall already!!) when it was really the Police? Actually they both sang it, I have been advised.

      A “certain person” needs to stop trying to arrange an Easter Egg hunt for her children (Jewish guilt) and get on the ball with emailing you back.

      How does the couch feel? You mean that was staring me in the face and I didn’t run with it??? Do you see now why I NEED YOU HERE???

      You’re brilliantize my days….
      Stephanie

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      • You spotted me: I am hopeless identifying singers. OMG! I was correct for a change! Ya gotta watch me, though; it is rare for me to correctly Name That Singer.

        Did you try to Passover on the Easter Egg Hunt?

        Love ya Stephanie

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  12. You are amazing, Funny, serious, quirky, and a great writer. Do you charge by the minute?…now, you see, I have this habit of….oh, never mind, just keep writing so I can keep laughing….:)

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      • Ah no, I would like to make a law that a few certain people I know should be forced to read your blog. They might ( although doubt it) learn to get the best out of life no matter the circumstances. It is not nonsense it is valuable on many levels. BTW I am cutting and pasting ‘cute’ onto a banner…me cute? You are a friend forever 🙂 🙂

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  13. I think I’d be better off cutting out the therapist and just spending the money on an expensive couch and turning to you instead, Stephanie. You definitely help balance my emotional well-being with a good dose of funny.
    This is the best Easter gift.
    By the way, I think I’d like to be buried in my cosiest pyjamas. It’s a heck of a long sleep after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That was a really good laugh since I just started therapy and the psychobabble is incessant! You have a really funny way of getting a point across! Also, you changed your comment prompt phrase?!!

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