Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
Have you been watching After Life on Netflix? The comedy-drama about a man trying to come to terms with the death of his wife is a subtle, bittersweet treat.
The cast is outstanding, finding the humane, the relatable, amid what could have easily been a line-up of one-note grotesques. Apart from this guy: a lazy, single-joke parody of a therapist drawn in stubby crayon. All the stereotypical assumptions are present and correct: arrogant, distracted, judgmental, oversharing, no idea of confidentiality … snore. Whereas the other characters reveal themselves gently as the series progress, he’s wheeled out each episode as an invitation to pop the kettle on.
The useless therapist character is pretty endemic these days: the one in The Responder who picked up the wrong notes and couldn’t remember a thing about her client; the more affable Stephen Mangan’s character in Hang Ups (for balance, Rebecca Front in Psychobitches is a tour de force). What really grinds my gears is the effect it might have on people who are struggling, who could really do with some talking therapy.
My goodness it’s a big step to make that first call, though. You might be considering it, might be ready to make that first brave move … then watch After Life - a programme supposedly tackling the stigma around mental health - and get put right off. So here’s a little counterstrike on behalf of your local, professionally accredited therapist.
True Fact One: we’re people, just like you. We have stuff going on in our lives. It’s what makes us good therapists. We’re also professionals, and leave all that at the door to create a space of trust and honesty for you to talk about your challenges and hopes.
True Fact Two: We have safe, clear, professional boundaries. But we care. We really do … it’s why we do it.
True Fact Three: it’s worth doing your research, as there are some chancers out there.
If your therapist ever, EVER displays even one of the characteristics listed above, go get yourself a better one. Your mental health will thank you for it!
I’ll get down off my soapbox (again) now.
Check out more Snippets and FAQs for information on Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.
Check out more Wellbeing Tips for hints on how to feel better now.
Contact me for help and support.