Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Treatment

I’ve started watching another addictive program from the fine folks at HBO. Entourage is my first addiction. I don’t know what it is about those boys but I’ve spent way too many hours on my couch mesmerized by their frivolity, vulgarity, drug use and blatant disrespect for women. Whatever … it’s just a television show, right? My newest addiction is In Treatment. This show has got to have the simplest premise in television history: two people in a room talking. And for whatever reason it works for me. I love the writing and Gabriel Byrne’s accent just gets to me. Back-to-back episodes come on Sunday nights and the first four episodes are about the therapist and his patients and during the fifth episode you see the therapist going to see his therapist. I love it and it kind of reminds me of my history with therapy.

I can’t remember the year that I first stepped into a therapist’s office but I was trying to save my second marriage so it must have been sometime between 1993 and 2000. I also don’t remember the therapist’s name because she was so ineffective. My husband and I went to see this lady – I think I found her in the yellow pages – and during that visit there were a lot of raised voices and tears. We were both angry which is why we took this step. The therapist didn’t really provide much input. She just sat and nodded and booked the next appointment. The following week we dutifully showed up again. This time it was after a pretty good week. Married people sometimes have good weeks. We were even holding hands in the waiting room and cracking up over something stupid. Imagine that! When we entered the doctor’s office we sat and discussed a few things that I cannot remember and at the end of the fifty minutes she said that we seemed to be happy and probably didn’t need another session. WTF? So after that session we did not book another. We decided to get divorced instead. Not right away, but eventually.

The second time I decided to see a therapist was in 2002. I needed to talk to someone because during this period I was absolutely convinced that I was insane. For real insane. White jacket insane. Ink blot insane. Lock her up kind of insane. That was when I found Donna. Donna was about my age, married with two kids and very nice. Compassionate. Donna worked out of two offices and at our first appointment there seemed to be some kind of mix up and my insurance wouldn’t cover the visit at the first office. She suggested that I reschedule for another time and come to the second office. When she said the word “reschedule” I lost it. I couldn’t stop shaking, the tears began flowing and I told her that I could not reschedule I had to speak to her right now! Didn’t she understand that I was crazy??

She understood and brought me to the back. She agreed to speak to me and we would worry about the payment later. I still don’t know how that worked out. During that session all I remember doing is crying and her handing me tissues. When the session was over I had to wash the dried tissue particles off my face.

I continued to see Donna on and off for a few years and subsequent visits were a lot less dramatic. She was helpful I think. She at least convinced me that I wasn’t insane. She helped me to realize that compromise was okay but in too many instances I surrendered what I wanted for what I considered to be the greater good, or what someone else told me was the greater good. After a while we both decided that my sessions could end. It was beginning to feel like two girlfriends chatting instead of a therapist-patient relationship.

I have always been an advocate of therapy and it’s amazing to me that more people don’t take advantage of it. Before I found Donna I made an appointment to speak with my pastor at the time. No offense to him but he was useless. He kept talking to me about the vine and the branches (John 15) … I understand the chapter but I didn’t see what it had to do with my particular problem. I’m not knocking talking to your pastor if that’s the route you choose, it just wasn’t effective for me.

I’m thinking about going back into treatment. I wonder if Gabriel Byrne has any openings.


Blu Jewel said...

I absolutely love that show. I watched Season 1 like a fiend waiting for her next fix. I'm likewise anxiously waiting for the new season to start.

I recall my trips to a few therapists and fortunately for me, I had some good ones. My first was about a year after I had lil lady and I was dealing with the pandora's box of repressed memories. Carolyn was fantastic in helping me work through that period of my life. My second was when I was trying to save my marriage and it was the counselor (don't recall his name) who politely said he doesn't see how the marriage can be saved. He thought my then hubby had some serious issues and needed to concentrate on healing himself before he could focus on our marriage. My third was with Pam and that was after my divorce and I was reeling from the demise of it and some additional issues.

I can't discount the pastoral counseling I've had, which was also effective. Chele, I, too love Gabriel Byrne's voice and he could talk to me anyday.

Love to live; live to love!

LB said...

Having been counselled (sp?) by both a licensed therapist and my Bishop, I preferred the therapist. Talking to my Bishop was like talking to my daddy and Lord knows that I barely tell my dad a thing. The therapy sessions were cool, but I always went during my lunch break and by the time I returned to work, I was often too worn out to concentrate. I liked her though, but I hadn't seen her in almost a year. I've contemplated going back b/c so much has happened since my last visit.

TJ said...

I think that it is sad that a lot of ministers are utterly useless as counselors, especially to women in crisis. There are some, though, that I've interacted with who are amazing. You were really brave to seek help. I don't know if I could have Gabriel Byrne as a counselor. I'd be smiling and agreeing with whatever he said, just enjoying listening to his voice. LOLOL.