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Not a “Shrink”

03.03.12

About a year ago, my husband and I went to the House of Blues in Chicago, for a benefit concert. It was to benefit Zacharias Center, for the sexually abused. They had many many more people than I expected. At $150/ticket, I was surprised at the crowd. Of course, we didn’t pay that. We got complimentary tickets.  Anyway, they had a wonderful selection of food, open bar until 9, and a few speakers. Not the least of which was a guy who had received services, admitting to the entire crowd of his past sexual abuse, how it ruined his first marriage, and how it also lead him to substance abuse. He praised his counselor, Adam, who apparently works at Z Center (Zacharias Center for Sexual Abuse, http://www.zcenter.org). His second marriage is doing much better, from what he was saying. It was great music, and it was m.c.’d by Gerry Meyer. He volunteered this year, according to my husband, because he was so moved by the event last year.

I hope that people can someday get to a point that they admit and share openly about their sexual abuse history. Thank God I never experienced that, but, I can imagine how awful that could be for someone. Mental health is of course important to me, but lowering the stigma associated (still) with seeing a counselor for one’s issues is slightly more important. It bothers me that people still use the word “shrink” as if we are witch-doctors, literally boiling someone’s skull into a misshapen blob of a brain.

When I saw my counselor, the experience was much more akin to walking through a scary dark tunnel, feeling the fear, and climbing up out of a manhole cover back to reality at the end of the session. Grieving the pain of my past, admitting my sadness, pain and hurt, trials and lessons learned helped me discover that I do not have to make choices based on the past anymore. I can make new, adult, better choices than my emotional brain easily makes. I can stop, think, and decide how to do life differently. No brain shrinking there.

Mental health is still suffering from the images of movies and TV of Dr. Sigmund Freud, with his clipboard, sitting behind the patient, and the patient lying on the couch saying whatever comes into his mind. This is nothing like what happens in my office, with my clients.

With my clients, I ask a bunch of questions, and they talk about their current life. We establish set goals, and review them every so often for progress. I make suggestions, and teach some concepts that may help. I challenge their thinking, and review homework. We discuss books we’re reading together, and how the concepts might help with their personal goals.

Some clients seem to have very serious issues, and others not so much. Some people are willing to work hard at their goals, and others, not so much. Some people are truly insightful and are understanding why they are choosing to behave the ways they do, and others, well…… not so much. I then try to help them figure out why they are choosing what they are doing.

If you want the same kind of help, feel free to give me a call today at 847-962-5234.  We can work together to set some goals, and I can help you reach them.  And you don’t have to lie on the couch.  Unless you want to, of course.