(This story is based on my own personal experiences – your mileage may vary, although I doubt it. And to all you quality mental health professionals out there, wherever you are, I’m sorry I never came across you in my travels.)
I’m sure you’ve noticed (or maybe you haven’t) that the word “Therapist” can be broken into two distinct words, hence the title of our story. For those of you with “normal, healthy lives”, therapy is something you’ve probably only seen on TV, or heard your “maladjusted” friends talk about. So, for those uninitiated souls, here’s a brief breakdown – “Therapists” are those folks that have a “Masters” degree in psychology or sociology – kind of like a “nurse” compared to the “Psychiatrist” (or “doctor”) who has an MD and the ability to prescribe psychotropic drugs.
There was once a time when the only person that you’d primarily interact with was a “Psychiatrist”. But once the pharmaceutical companies saw the immense profitability that psychotropic drugs had to offer, the number of needy people rose almost overnight to such a staggering figure that the number of new and current Psychiatrists couldn’t keep up. They needed someone that could “screen” all the potential candidates to get an idea of what psychotropic drugs to prescribe. And they needed them quick – that’s where the Therapist comes in.
The Therapist performs “interviews” with you at first – getting to know you and your perceived issues (@ $100+ an hour). Once they feel comfortable that they’ve pigeon-holed you into the proper psychiatric box, they set up time with a Psychiatrist (this meeting is usually no more than a half-hour, but at the same reasonable $100+), who will read your chart, ask you a few questions, then prescribe the appropriate psychotropic drug to help get you back on your way to “normal”.
Now you will begin your “sessions” with the Therapist – sessions are what you need in order to prove that the psychotropic drugs are working, to enable you to continue to receive the drugs, and to ensure that you have something to do at least once (if not more) a week. Also, once you begin “sessions”, your Therapist will become the one thing that’s missing in your life – a best friend that you can confide anything to, that’s non-judgmental and supportive, that will be there forever (or until your insurance runs out). At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Unfortunately all Therapists and Psychiatrists are human, and as such are vulnerable to the human condition. Sadly, most mental health professionals got into the business because of something bad that happened to them. They joined this profession to ensure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to anyone else – be it abusive father, mother, sibling, etc. You know what I mean – in the dating circle we call this “baggage”. And although they’re educated and taught not to project upon others, they are human and as such can’t avoid it.
This is where “the rapist” comes in. Because of the scars that most of these professionals carry, their “recommendations” (yes, every now and then they say more than “what do you think?) may not always be in your best interest. You see, they have a preset model of how people should behave and conform. And their goal is to modify your personality to fit into this preset model – what I call “screwing with your mind”. They do this with your permission, although isn’t taking advantage of a mentally vulnerable individual considered rape? Anyway, they do this with therapy, they do this with drugs, oh, and you’ll probably hate one of your family members before too long. And when will you no longer be “maladjusted” (from their perspective)? Probably a long time from now or, again, until your insurance runs out (insurance plays a large part in mental health decisions).
To me, having someone with limited training (let’s face it – a Master’s degree?) become your most trusted confidant and adviser in most things mental health does not instill confidence in me, especially when you consider that these are the folks that also handle the penal system’s “early release” candidates. Since Institutions are no longer funded in most if not all states, the mentally ill are now kept in prison, until they’re considered “no longer dangerous”. Then they’re released on the condition that they consistently continue outpatient therapy. And of course we all know that prison overcrowding would NEVER cause the penal system to release some folks earlier than they should, right? Think about it – I do.