Monday, November 19, 2007

Um, in the seventeenth century? There was like this war?

A sign that your course of psychotherapy might be well and truly OVER:

Your therapist suddenly interrupts you to ask about the subject of your research--which you raised only by mentioning, among a bunch of other activities, an upcoming conference paper--and then keeps asking chit-chatty follow-up questions for ten or fifteen minutes.

Not that the subject of your research isn't fascinating, and not that you don't have layperson-friendly soundbites and all, but if you'd already been feeling that your psychotherapeutic work was complete--and that shelling out even the few bucks your insurance requires as a co-payment was more and more an exercise in self-indulgence--this could be the thing to clinch it.

11 comments:

Renaissance Girl said...

HILARIOUS! Perhaps after you had finished delivering your verbal precise, you could have asked the therapist to visit your class and do a brief but entertaining psych profile of Milton. Gratis, of course.

I think that you're remarkably well-adjusted. And I say that as someone who's heard lots of conference papers.

Renaissance Girl said...

Oops. I meant "precis," there.

Flavia said...

Thanks, RG! I actually did try briefly to make my account of my research relevant to, you know, the stuff that's actually supposed to be going on in a therapist's office. . . but then I thought, "really, she's right--we're done here."

(Still, in my fantasy, shrinkita would have asked, "But how does the English civil war make you feel?")

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Yeah, that would be a big sign, I think. Very funny.

I stopped going when I had the same feelings about the copay.

life_of_a_fool said...

I'm impressed that you've reached such a point (in that I have yet to do so). It is pretty funny though. . .

Prof Mama said...

This cracked me up, especially because I had almost the exact experience with the therapist I saw when Unbloggable Issue was at its worst. She spent 10 minutes of what turned out to be our session asking questions about my research! I had been thinking therapy was over, and that clinched it. By the end, she and I agreed our work was over.

And yes, it's flattering, but it's also kind of disconcerting. I felt like I was just getting my ego stroked!

Susan said...

Well, we can ask, how do you *feel* about the English Civil War? And which side are you on?

muse said...

Hilarious. I always think of Pope's "little knowledge" whenever this happens to me and the doctor (or therapist or specialist) proves to be embarrassingly ignorant on some issue yet still has an advanced degree. I usually interpret this as the moment not when I'm "cured," but when I realize it's time to find another (smarter) doctor. It's kind of like the veil being lifted.

Flavia said...

Susan: hmm. Well, I guess the English civil war makes me feel. . . excited? Because it was the event that really sold me on the 17th C. as a period of study? Or perhaps sad, because of the serious and long-term upheaval it caused? To the extent that I'm on a side, it's probably the Parliamentarian--but see my previous answer. The authors I work on are pretty much evenly divided between the Royalist and the Parliamentarian, so it's hard for me to be too partisan.

And Muse: in some circumstances, I could imagine feeling that way--and it's certainly true that my current therapist is completely clueless about academia and academic life--but it hasn't been necessary for her to have that knowledge. By way of contrast, during the six or eight months that I was in therapy in grad school, I saw a woman who was a) an MD/PhD, and b) affiliated with the university--but although that should have made her, in some ways, a good therapist for me, it absolutely did not. My current therapist is a LCSW and it's clear that I, my experiences, and my lifestyle are very different from those of most of her clients. . . but she's smart in the ways I need her to be smart.

We may be done with our work together, but it's not about her intelligence; it's about the issue(s) I needed to work through now being largely resolved.

muse said...

Oh, Flavia of course you are right. And I completely agree. I think what I meant to convey was my own pretentiousness getting in the way of making real progress in therapy. It's a terrible hang-up I have. I have no idea whether my own shrink (more of a psychopharmacolagist than a therapist, to tell you the truth) knows anything about my work and of course it doesn't matter. It's just that I can be such a snob sometimes!

The Bittersweet Girl said...

So familiar and still so strange! I went to see a therapist because I was struggling with a mass of issues surrounding a Major Academic Project and she seemed to think that the best means of helping me work through my issues was an endless discussion of the Project topic. I cut it off pretty quickly because, frankly, the last thing I wanted was to have to put on the "here's why my research is great" song and dance routine to my therapist!