Fake Therapist

If you ever meet a “therapist” of the kind elle describes, please leave immediately. The quack will do grave damage to you. Nobody is “wired” to be depressed. Nobody is “wired,” period. We are human beings, not machines. And if a therapist tells you that you are an alcoholic forever or a depressive by nature, he’s a bad person who wishes you ill. How would you feel if a therapist told you it’s your nature to be raped? Or beaten? “You are just wired to be a victim, so let’s see how we can manage your abuse more efficiently.”

Also, this cloying business speak, as in “manage anxiety,” is absolutely disgusting. Huge ⛳⛳⛳🚩🚩🚩.

Strangely, this “wired” language is only used for psychological conditions. You can have every relative dead of a stroke before the age of 40 (a real situation of somebody I know), and still the doctors don’t tell you that you are “wired” to bite it and your high BP “isn’t going anywhere”. They try to get you to a place where genetics is counterbalanced by a healthy lifestyle, healthy weight, appropriate exercise. And if a patient follows directions, he beats the odds (the same real situation mentioned before. The person in question is very much alive and doing great.)

6 thoughts on “Fake Therapist

  1. A therapist that ‘manages’ the symptoms guarantees themselves a steady stream of income. Looks like therapists are catching up with the big pharma.

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  2. I see this a little differently. It’s a poor choice of words for sure. There is an argument to be made that feelings of depression or anxiety are part of the normal human range of feelings, and should be paid attention to when they occur. They won’t ever completely go away. But there are things we can do so that when we feel that way, we can look to why the feeling came up and address it. This does not require meds, and we can learn how to do this so we no longer need the therapist to help us through it. I’m not sure if every single type of depression will respond to this kind of treatment, and may respond to other kinds. But it seems possible some people have truly resistant depression or they don’t want to engage in effective treatments. And, maybe there are some people who never feel depressed or anxious – they don’t need therapy in the first place.

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  3. I agree that someone who empowers a person to work on their problems till eventual resolution is certainly the superior option irrespective of problem. I do, however, see the benefit of framing things as wired (people do have genetic predisposition to a while bunch of stuff), because the sinister flip side (which a lot of laypeople believe and push) is that it is the depressed/anxious person’s fault they’re depressed/anxious to begin with, and they just need to snap out of it. The wiring framework, I think, helps to alleviate some of the guilt and shame that people with serious mental disorders carry around. I have a couple of students with mental disorders, and these are no joke. They are not just normal-person mood fluctuations with somewhat higher amplitude. What infuriates me is that the language is ambiguous: people say they feel anxious and depressed when most really refer not to pathology but to normal mood fluctuations, often in response to actual life stressors and perfectly understandable and even healthy. The severe clinical disorders that carry these same names are entirely different beasts and I wish there were a way to better distinguish between the two vastly disparate categories.

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    1. Agreed. I’m one of the people for whom medication works wonders even without therapy. For me, that medication is vital. I have major depression disorder. And until it was framed as “what if you did nothing wrong and you have always had a predisposition to depression, just like someone else can have a predisposition to have high blood sugar or osteoporosis,” I carried a hell of a lot of guilt about it. The same with my anxiety. I will actually be managing my depression and anxiety my entire life, because for me there is an actual physiological pathology behind it. And I’m doing well. I’ve learned how to recognize it and I’ve learned what to do when it starts building so that it doesn’t overwhelm me again. The medication is essential for the balance—it evens out the keel of my anxiety to the point where I can think past it and deal with things more rationally, or at least in a more healthy manner. Does this mean I just have a depressive temperament? I’d argue not. That implies there is no difference between my natural temperament and my temperament during a major depression episode or an anxiety attack, and there is a world of difference. But it was important for me to own my anxiety and depression as a chronic illness. It’s mine, it was always there as a potential to happen, and now I know about it I can manage it accordingly like any other chronic illness.

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    2. “Wired” is an attempt to diminish guilt, stigma, etc. But they’ve gone too far with it. I’m not “wired” that way and the idea that one should just “manage symptoms” instead of get at the problem is very counterproductive.

      The other idea that bothers me is that analysis, therapy, counseling or whatever should be about becoming functional and feeling happy. I’m quite functional and I am more often than not happy. I always thought the goal of analysis was different: freedom.

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  4. “The quack will do grave damage to you. Nobody is ‘wired’ to be depressed …”

    This reminds me of Slavoj Zizek’s rant telling people to “enjoy your symptom!”

    Here, have some pills so that you may better enjoy your symptom! Not everyone is so lucky as you to have these pills! Are you enjoying your symptom now?

    What is wrong with you, Dear Patient!

    You seem not to like your pills! Have you considered submitting to a drawn-out parapraxis with intent to dissemble? We think we could talk you out of it with some cognitive behavioural therapy, but you’re an odd one, is that really the right kind of CBT for you? 🙂

    Yeah.

    This is like doctors telling me decades ago that certain medicines not working was in my head.

    Funny how being a fast metaboliser on certain cytochrome P450 pathways makes all sorts of stuff go wrong.

    These doctors weren’t authoritative on anything except being ignorant.

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