Daily life in a mature culture — my musings continue (I will continue with acedia in a few weeks when I finish with my thoughts regarding a mature culture). In the last posts, I suggested at least two three-hour sessions a week for in-depth personal work. What would this be like?
For most of my career as a physician, I was a psychotherapist. I hate the term (therapy, that is) — it is so misunderstood in our culture, and still today, people who go to therapists are regarded as less than competent. For me, therapy is the only place in modern life where the skills of being a mature human being are explored. And hence, for me, “therapy” will be the norm in a mature culture. It will just be called growth.
Also, for most of my career, I did group psychotherapy, as opposed to individual psychotherapy. I did this for two reasons:
- I was a physician, and hence almost all of my work was covered by the provincial health plan. On the occasions when I moved from one town to another, I would have a waiting list within three weeks — and within six months, the waiting list would be two years long. When I was doing group work, I had no waiting list; I simply added clients to existing groups, or I added another group to the week. It was simply more efficient to practice group psychotherapy.
- On occasion, I would still see clients for the occasional individual sessions, especially when there was the need to explore issues of privacy or trust before bringing the difficulties back into a group setting. Eventually, when people learn to trust each other, such individual sessions were no longer needed.
- I considered group therapy to be more effective. Clients learned that other people had similar problems, and they also learned from each other. My goal was to take the client to a level where they could do their own therapy — they learned this faster when they saw other clients struggling with their own issues.
I had three basic rules when working with people, rules I told clients when the need arose:
- I was willing to do up to 50% of the work; on occasion more, but not routinely. Even the best of people avoid issues, and it was not my job as therapist to make them work.
- If at all possible, we (the client and myself) would have fun! People learn more effectively when they are having fun.
- If anyone was going to be frustrated (in the therapy session), it was not going to be me. Now guess who will be!
I assume these three rules would still be necessary in a mature culture, but less so.
To be continued.