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Mistaken Notions about Shrinks

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I have noticed that when I discuss certain issues in my life, or reach a crossroads where I have to make an important decision, family and friends will often say discuss it with your shrink, and ask her about it. In those cases, I tell the people who wish me well that I will talk to her about those issues , but that she will not tell me what to do. She will not say, I think you should do this or that.
In a way it would be easier if she did tell me what to do, but that would defeat the purpose of the therapy. I find myself telling people, no, that is not what she does. She will not give me an answer or even an opinion. The psychiatrist’s role, I have gathered, is not that of a wise sage who is guiding one through life’s path. Their role seems to be one of specifically targeting the patient’s ailment, so the patient will be rid of it. This targeting does involve the discussion of all kinds of life situations, which are directly connected to the disorder.

Two sessions ago I recall that I brought up a problem I was having with a friend, and how the friend’s actions had made me feel diminished. The shrink immediately said that what I said was an anecdote that I could be relaying to a store clerk, and that I was there in order to be cured of my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), meaning we should just discuss OCD matters. I thought about what she said and during the next session I brought it up, and explained that I thought the anecdote was relevant, because of the way it made me feel. She nodded and said she understood, and we moved on. On another relevant note, the telling of the anecdote does have something to do with the shrink offering her opinion. I wanted her to criticize the friend’s actions. But she didn’t. I was disappointed, but did not dwell on it. I do believe that sometimes we patients really want to hear certain words from our psychiatrists, but we just won’t hear them.
During our last session I told Dr. Romero how people think she should give me advice, and that I had explained to them that is not the way therapy works. She replied that it was her job to give me crutches, so that I could take baby steps, and eventually be able to run.

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That's so cool you were able to tell her that you thought the anecdote was relevant, because of the way it made you feel. My husband and I have a running joke that we should call my therapist to ask for advice, usually at inopportune times like midnight and about things he really can't decide for me, like "Should I go to bed now?"

May 13, 2010 - 1:02pm
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