|Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and How We Think Now
The age of the internet has turned the Self into something that is no longer mostly an internal function. It is now worn, as it were, as much on the outside as on the inside. What used to be a quiet place of reflection, made partly for the trying-out and trying-on of ideas and even personas, has become the most blatant form of thinking out loud.
This inner world has become outer, whether first-hand, as in online blogging or commenting, tweeting or Facebook status updating, or vicarious, as in prowling the web to immerse ourselves in the thoughts and ideas of others. This new sense of Self creates somewhat of a problem for the way in which we look at and evaluate psychotherapy. Psychotherapy in its purest form interests itself in the development and growth of the inner world of the person who partakes.
It sometimes concerns me that what has always defined psychotherapy---working from the inside out---is becoming transformed into an outside-in enterprise. The ever-rising interest in cognitive-behavioral therapy as a preferred method of treatment for almost anything reflects this.
I am thinking more about this idea and will add to my thoughts in future musings. In the meantime, my admiration for the efficacy of cog-b does not wane; in fact I am increasingly respectful of its place in the work I do as a therapist.
As it happens, after writing this I discovered an article in Psychology Today about analytic therapy that eloquently addresses the continuing need to look deeply into the unconscious material that will lead to the richest understanding, the highest awareness and ultimately the most lasting change. Look in the "articles" section for a clear and cogent defense of continuing to provide an opportunity for deep work to those who are interested.
Movie Stars and Therapy
I read an interview with a beautiful and famous actress on a popular "news" website yesterday, in which she observed that she had decided to live without therapy, since her last therapist had talked more than she did, and though she was "hilarious," at $300 an hour said actress felt it served her better to share ler life with her good (and ideally smart and insightful) friends.
This was distressing to hear.
Of course, the statement may have been tailored for its effect. For all I know the actress forgot to recall the many helpful things that were said in the context of all that talking and all that money changing hands.
But now many, many others have read about something that may confirm their suspicion that therapy is nothing but a rip-off, and that is sad, to me.
The fact is that the psychotherapy room represents an enormous opportunity for a therapist to "hold court," express her wit and wisdom, and dispense homespun advice, based less on research and clinical data regarding human behavior than her own personal experience.
Whether said actress had this experience herself or it just made a good story, it's not the first time I've heard a similar tale, and I can attest to the existence of the temptation to follow suit. Containing one's own need for such gratification is one of the harder things about doing this job well, but the rewards of participating in someone else's growth and development seem worth the price.
I hope that was just an anecdote meant to entertain, and that all who read it took it with a grain of salt.