I’m sitting on my porch listening to the rain this morning. It was raining harder when I came out here to do my Greek. Now the rain has slowed down, but it still makes a nice sound and a cool damp breeze is moving past my chair.
So my first therapist attempt was a bust. I guess that’s not surprising. What did surprise me is how deflated and depressed it left me. After our session I walked home passing again through the park. It didn’t occur to me until I reached the park how useless my session had been and that I would have to call the therapist and take her up on my offer to keep looking if she and I were not a good fit.
Why weren’t we a good fit? I think the easiest way to think about this is that we lacked very many things in common. Part of this might have been age, but not all. She didn’t recognize very many of my references. John Hartford, Neil Postman and others might well have been before her time. She had the typical mental health care giver’s quiet and reluctance to commit herself to much. Annoying, but understandable. She did recognize Murray Bowen, but not Ed Friedman. Even then, I outlined my understanding of Bowen theory and its origin because she described church as my family “business.” I told her it was more my family system and that led to a bit of discussion (mostly me talking) about that branch of psychology.
I’m not sure about other references I made. Being noncommittal is a basic shrink technique, I would guess. But the main reasons I know she’s not the shrink for me are her own questions and description of our work together. She asked me what the outcome of meeting together would look like to me (honest answer which I gave her: “I don’t know.”). When I said I was rambling on (which I was), she said I wasn’t rambling I was telling her things that I thought were important. She also said that I would find myself looking at myself differently because of what I had talked to her about (wrong).
Finally during the session she asked me if I knew what enneagrams were. Sigh. I told her they reminded me of the Meyers-Briggs evaluation which is sometimes called “Episcopalian Horoscopes.” She laughed.
I told her that for most of these tools one would not have to scrape very deeply to see they are based on broader wisdom and concepts already present in the culture. I see them as useful, but I myself am a suspicious dude when it comes to embracing them.
She quieted down about enneagrams. Then she asked me if I had ever read any Richard Rohr (no). She was surprised. She recommended Falling Upward.
Sigh. Another self help book. And it looks directed at aging people. I guess she saw me as an eccentric older brainy type. I will look at this book. But I’m also planning to call her today and tell her I’m going to keep looking for a shrink.
My brother Mark mentioned how much he got out of this episode so I’ve been relistening to it. Micheal Signer has some interesting things to say. I have read his book on Madison and think he has a great mind (and it’s a great book and very pertinent to what is happening in the us right now).
His ideas were so good I synopsize them here for your dining and dancing pleasure:
In a previous show, Signer said
Demagogues thrive when we are cynical about truth.
They start to deflate when we put faith back again in public reason.
This time Signer describes the current “perfect storm” in American politics which is providing an opportunity for a demagogue such as Trump to get elected
1, cultural cynicism about leadership
2. corrosion of civic knowledge among the rank and file
3. media has shirked responsibility as conservator and influence on values of freedom of speech and separation of powers
4. widespread economic anxiety
5. national security fears that Trump seeks to amplify not calm
I have a lot of links I haven’t been putting up. This is getting to be a long post so I’m only putting up a few links. This one falls in line with Signer’s ideas.
From International Business Times. Some stats and information.
Frank Bruni has some solid observations.