Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.57.12 PMVirtually every week, a colleague, a friend, or a friend of a client, asks me to recommend a therapist to them. As much as I hate doing this (mostly because the pool of talented therapists is about the size of a puddle), I’m always willing to help. Left to your own devices you will pick poorly. Below is an incomplete list of the reasons you’ll likely suck at picking your own therapist.

1. You’re a layperson, and lay people don’t know what to look for.

2. You’re going to pick by price. Newsflash: “My therapist is the cheapest!” is terrible marketing for a shrink. I’ve seen moderately priced therapists throughout my life – and I’ve been in therapy for a total of 19 years. Do you want to be in therapy for 19 years?

3. You’ll pick by availability. “My therapist had sooo much availability, I had my choice of 6:00 p.m. appointments Monday through Friday.” That sort of availability is not a good sign.

4. You’ll pick by neighborhood. Does that really sound wise to you?

5. You’ll pick the pretty, thin, ugly, fat, gay, straight, young, old, shrink-who-represents-your-race. This is the exact criterion you use to find partners, and we know what the likelihood of that working out is.

6. You don’t know the difference between a therapist who claims to have specialized training and one who actually has specialized training. Furthermore, you don’t know that a therapist who is trained in something isn’t whom you want to see. You want to see the therapist who is certified in their specialty.

7. You don’t know how to look for those therapists who are going to be different, and you don’t know what differences to look for. Some differences should be avoided, such as this nut (linked to here), and this one (linked to here). That said, you do want to find a therapist who is different, because if you choose a run-of-the-mill therapist, you’ll have a run-of-the-mill experience. Refer to the last sentence in point #2.


Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 3.59.44 PMDear Dr. Darcy:

My therapist tells me that he worries about me and he’s always afraid that I will kill myself, he thinks that he will come in for our session and I won’t be there because [I’ll have] killed myself. He says it causes him stress. Do you think he cares too much? What should I do?

ANSWER

Your therapist has problems for sure, but caring too much isn’t one of them. I’m presuming you see him in his private practice, which, in my opinion, is completely inappropriate. You should be in a higher level of care. If you have suicidal thoughts, you should be seen immediately by a psychiatrist and evaluated for inpatient hospitalization / medication.

His biggest problem is his willingness to work with a patient who isn’t stable. That, and his choice of guilt as a clinical intervention. I’ve heard of people seeking therapy to rid themselves of guilt – I’ve never heard of a therapist attempting to provoke it in a client. He sounds like he needs his head examined.

Find yourself a psychiatrist ASAP. If you’re having suicidal thoughts right now, go directly to your local emergency room.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Straight.


Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.12.49 AMHi Dr. Darcy. 

My relationship started as long distance. A month or so after we started living together everything was good, our sex life was healthy and fun. Four years later we can go weeks or months without having sex. My partner is constantly bringing this up and making it clear she’s not happy because of the lack. We are close and spend a lot of time together but the sex has gone. The pressure she puts on me to bring it back isn’t exactly a turn on. I spend a lot of time worrying about when she will next start an argument about it. I love her & I want our sex life back but I don’t seem to be able to actually make the step and neither can she. What can I do? I don’t want this relationship to end and that seems to be the way she thinks it is leading.

ANSWER

Make no mistake: Your relationship is headed for the end unless you (the collective You) find a way to become sexually intimate.

If you’re waiting to be turned on, it’s never going to happen. You’ve fallen into a power struggle around sex (she demands – you refuse). No one finds a nag sexy, and no one sticks around in a sexless relationship when they still have a need for sex.

The solution lies in behaving your way to success rather than waiting to feel differently. Start by assigning new meaning behind her requests for sex. Instead of “worrying about when she will next start an argument about it,” try viewing her requests as an attempt to connect with you. Think about it logically: She’s not intending to fight about sex. She’s intending to engage in a discussion about it so she can, A) get some reassurance that she’s not going to be rejected were she to initiate, or, B) communicate to you her wish for you to initiate sex. Stop viewing it through a historical lens which is fogged up with negative meaning. Try viewing it through a clean lens, sans baggage.

The next time she brings it up, take her hand, look her in the eye, and tell her how much you love her. Tell her that you also want to be closer with her, to connect more deeply with her. See if that doesn’t begin to break the negative cycle. And for the love of God, if you still want this woman in your life, make love to her – even if you’re not in the mood. I’m not in the mood to take a shower right now and get ready for work, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.


Next Page »