Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
#bipolar #Manicdepression #mentalhealth #mentalillness #therapy #passivetherapy
This post is not intended to be my foray into ‘agent provocateur’ territory. I am not lamb-basting psychologists or psychiatrists. Rather I hope to accurately skewer with a literary fencing foil the unfortunate situation where (probably by their own actions) a patient is cemented into a state of learned helplessness.
This mental health stasis had very little joy with me because, thankfully, I benefitted from my housemate’s experience of it. He had years of pouring his heart out to therapists, who would then nod their heads and set an appointment for a fortnight later.
He told me a story of a family friend who’s parents had been seeing a therapist for forty years as a marriage councillor, who then sent their depressed daughter to the same professional. After years of this kind of passive therapy – she killed herself. Consequently I feel comfortable to put forward the notion that passive therapy is NOT therapy at all. The modus operandi of this particular therapist seemed to be: “Tell me everything as I do nothing.”
Voltaire said of the art of medicine that it:
consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
Certainly, a disgruntled former patient of passive therapy would see merit in this statement, even perhaps where there isn’t any. I’d like to hear from any therapist out there that would in good conscience sit silently, occasionally affirming the stream of consciousness being delivered to them. I would appreciate hugely an explanation of what this is designed to achieve, and the finer points of what mechanism allows it to do so.
I’ve had theories put to me ranging from
“They’re feathering their nests. Psychology/Psychiatry of that ilk is just a machine for wringing money out of the sick.”
“They’re terrified of saying ANYTHING lest they be sued when a patient commits suicide.”
and many shades of grey between. There appears to exist an industry of professional middle men, trading stock of ‘Wellness’ in the way that parties in the silver-rush of America traded feet in mines that were never going to be worked.
I dare say that a depressed person who is told to “Get therapy” and then has a few sessions where they expect to be made well, and don’t feel any better for them, would probably take the thinking bus one stop further to: “I cannot be helped.”
When you take your car for an oil change, there are certain things that happen. You pay money. They drop the oil. They change the filter. They fill the oil. In this therapy transaction, there is no clear methadology. It could be one of a variety of methods used to try and help a patient to make themselves well. This seems to propogate the notion, however, that therapy cannot be quantatively assessed. It can. If you feel better, it is working, if you don’t – you need to change the approach.
I would love to hear from anyone, therapist or not, who has an opinion on this kind of passive therapy. Has it helped you? Was it a waste of time? Do you help people by offering this service? Do you want to blow a whistle about a consciously enabling aspect that may exist? Is this a way of having bread and butter business to support a bulging industry populated by too many graduates? What is happening?
All the best,
A curious H&J