We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Adjusting one's insides is a lot tougher than changing one's outsides. A good post on psychotherapy: Change. One quote:
...why see a therapist? Because it is very difficult to see yourself clearly. Just as a camera cannot photograph itself except in reflection, the kinds of changes that are the heart of therapy need someone to serve as a mirror, as someone who can see and hear you without having an agenda about or for you, someone who can be caring and brutal. I can't think of anyone I know who has done that without help, including myself.
Therapy isn't about being happy, it's about honestly knowing who you are, and then picking a suitable life.
My own experiences, and those of friends and family, lead me to deeply doubt that psychological training consistently turns out therapists who really can see clearly, or facilitate self-awareness.
My feeling is that those who have it, had it coming in to their training. And a lot of them still see things through their own perspectives and limitations.
This has grown worse as the profession has become politicized.
The secular world forces therapists - like artists - into the position of prophets, wise men, or truth-tellers. Yet training in art or psychology in no way guarantees that one has unique, deep perceptions to share.
And the real elders and scholars are not valued or consulted by secular society.
I would rather turn to the Rabbis, teachers, and communal leaders who know me for years and are part of the rich tapestry of connections in my traditional Jewish community.
My First Wife pushed me into therapy to Save The Marriage. I thank her for that... I learned that I was an arrogant ass with a problem with a Double Bind. It all went away with her. She can now control anyone that she wants to. My current partner/wife/best friend and I are doing quite well..... Life works if you let it
"...without having an agenda about or for you,..."
Do you really believe that? I mean, in the general case, not you specifically.
William O. B'Livion
Ben-David ... I think you are wise. My first husband died after we had been married for two years. Being widowed at the age of 25 is in some ways a weird experience. One is not long out of the parental nest oneself. and yet one has to deal with grief and a sense of alienation from others of one's own age who are still untried children. You feel isolated, and impatient because you don't belong to any particular group. Briefly, I went into therapy, and after seven months, freed myself from it. The therapist told me that I needed more counseling "to deal with my issues." But I had the offer of a good job [for a woman in those days] as a magazine editor, and I decided that I would rather supervise my own healing process than have it in the hands of a man I didn't particularly trust or like.
I'm glad I did that. Being a person who loves to research, I read widely, in writings of such wise persons as Rollo May, Karen Horney and others too numerous to list. I came to the conclusion that their seemingly simple advice, to "act brave and you will be braver,' "to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield," as the poet says in Ulysses, to knuckle down and keep at it, as my father advised me, was better than baring my soul to a stranger for an hour twice a week.
Reading is a great teacher, if you'll let it be. Reading and then carefully putting into practice what you have learned and mulled over until it makes sense, is the best solution for many of us. Like grains of sand and snowflakes, we are each one of us different from all others. But we can each of us love and learn from one another.
I've been doing that for 82 years now, and I still don't know everything I should. I wonder if I ever will.