succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ruminations on Therapy

I'm in this group, Active Minds, and all of us members have this tendency to talk about our various mental issues in these matter-of-fact terms. The idea is that if we're up front with our friends, going to therapy can become as mundane as going to the movies or meeting someone for coffee. The metaphor that gets used is that mental health problems should be treated exactly like physical problems. If you rolled your ankle everyone would expect you to go to the hospital to have it checked out and to follow whatever the necessary treatment was; this is how seeking therapy should be treated too...but I started to wonder today if perhaps that's a little too matter-of-fact, a little too glib. If that attitude somehow takes away from the seriousness of whatever prompted you to seek help in the first place. I agree with the spirit of the thing...but one of the things my therapist and I work on is dropping down to a place of more emotional honesty...and I had this sort of confession about why I ended up in therapy in the first place, and it was rather a big deal for me, and it got me to thinking that perhaps the language I use to demystify the experience for people who think mental illness makes someone a freak also devalues the 'bigness' of the process.


Blogger amelia said...


i often find myself talking with folks about how they, and probably everyone, should have some therapy if they have a hard question or need a sounding board. and certainly that's a better approach than the therapy-implies-craziness approach i grew up with. but you're identifying exactly the right trap when you talk about therapy becoming mundane. i mean, there are rolled ankles and then there are livable, chronic, and sometimes painful physical conditions. the two are different and i don't think we should conflate them out of a desire to make mental health issues seem less Other.

but anyway, AMEN. :-)

4:26 PM  

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