I was reading this article about ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). I had a blinding flash of the completely obvious. I WASTE A LOT OF FUCKING MONEY ON THERAPY!.
I have been ‘in therapy’ off and on since 1995. Generally, every couple of years I arrive at some crisis point or another and off I go to therapy of some sort. Usually a combination of medication and ‘talk therapy’. Also generally, I get bored, my mood changes, I get tired of paying somebody to be my friend, I just flat out don’t like them, whatever—-and I go off on my non-merry way for a couple more years.
I may be the most uneducated consumer of mental health services to ever darken the door of a therapist’s office. In reading the article I discovered that ACT is part of the behavioral school of therapy. Behavior therapy is divided into three generations: traditional behaviorism, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and the current “third generation” or contextual approaches to behavior. That is good to know but what is the behavioral school of therapy? What other schools are there? What approach is my therapist taking? What does he believe? What is the end game? I have no idea of the answer to any of those questions.
I don’t ask those questions of my therapist and he also doesn’t bother to tell me. If I had a problem with my knee I would have orthopedic specialist look at it. Maybe he would refer me to a surgeon. The surgeon would certainly tell me what he intended to do and why. He would inform me of the risks. I might even get a second opinion. When it comes to my mental health I have been pretty content to lollygag around and somewhat happily fork over money with zero knowledge of the the ultimate plan or even the approach that is being taken with me.
I can’t completely educate myself on current psycho-therapeutic methods. I don’t have the time and frankly it isn’t my job. That is what I hope my therapist has done. I do need to ask a lot more questions and make him earn his money though. It will be better for me in the long run. I think. Continuing to simply show up and give my status report and then hearing some ‘attaboys’ and ‘go-get-ums’ is not really getting me anywhere except slightly poorer.