Two Shrinks: Psychiatrist and Cognitive Therapist
By Susan Orlins on October 05, 2012
He is a psychiatrist.
She is a cognitive therapist.
He was always on time.
She is sometimes late.
He would not turn off the lights, even though I don’t like artificial light when natural light is streaming in through the window.
She will work in the dark if I ask. She will also turn off the air conditioning and open a window if I ask, even when it is 90 degrees outside.
He told me nicely to deal with it when his dozens of keys on a large ring were swinging like a pendulum within my peripheral vision from the lock of a closet.
She does not have a large ring of keys, but if she did, and if I were to ask, she would make the swinging stop.
He wanted to know how it made me feel when I snuck out of the house in two feet of snow and walked 1 ½ miles to my friend’s house where all my high school mates were partying and, after my father found out, he arrived in a fury to pick me up and take me home.
She doesn’t know that I snuck out that day I made my father so angry; she knows little about my past.
He made me come at the same time every week, then I cut back to every other week, then one last time after I said I was moving on from him.
She lets me make an appointment whenever I feel like talking. I have seen her twice since August.
I saw him regularly for nine years. I saw her for less than a year and then felt chipper enough to cut way back. He might say it’s like when someone tries real hard to open a jar and then the next person opensit with ease. “I loosened it for you,” the hard trier says.
To be fair, I began seeing him during the upheaval my marital separation caused. Over time he helped me figure out how to guidemy children through my divorce and how to mange my own reconfigured life.
Yet if therapy is going to be helpful, why should it take nine years, especially given that it can take less than one year?
In fairness, he was smart with a dry wit, and after getting over the divorce hump, I continued because he was fun to talk about myself with. I cut back on this shrink when my finances began to shrink. And, finally, I outgrew him altogether.
Time passed and I became curious to try a Cognitive. Keep in mind that probably not every Cognitive is flexible like my Cognitive.
Coming Soon: Lessons Learned from Cognitive Therapy.
What lessons have you learned from psychotherapy?
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