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March 12, 2012


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The Good: After decades of denigrating therapy even though I'd never tried it, I finally felt the need. I was succumbing to crying jags for no reason, exhibiting clear (if mild) symptoms of PTSD. On my second visit, I described some things my dad did when I was young. The therapist said, "Sounds like he was a sadistic asshole." And at about age 40 I was, just like that, magically given permission to pierce my dad's fog of bullshit and see him for what he was. I haven't been to therapy since, because that one revelation got me past the problem.

The Bad: Against all advice, I went to work for a close friend. He became paranoid and began ordering us in engineering not to talk to marketing or the CEO. In a small startup. A pattern set in: he behaved badly and in a paranoid and micro-managing manner, the CEO took him to task privately, he agreed to a meeting to apologize and resolve the issues. And at every such meeting he balked and did a 180 from what he had promised the CEO.

I finally figured out that he always scheduled these mea culpa meetings on Thursday afternoons. Right after his Thursday morning therapy session. His therapist did nothing but tell him that he was right and everyone else was wrong, empower him to be a paranoid road-blocking jerk. By the end, the engineers would lock their doors and refuse to open them when he came to their office, even though he could see them inside. Bad therapist! No biscuit!

If you can find a good therapist, it is absolutely worth it. But that finding a good therapist part is the trick. So many very very damaged people who have spent years and years in therapy elect to become therapists themselves. I've known several flat-out batshit crazy folks who have become therapists, and just the thought of them doling out advice gives me the willies.

I'm not suggesting avoiding therapy. But I do suggest trying to get a word of mouth recommendation. That's what I did, and it worked out superbly.

y/y. late adopter, firm believer.

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