Therapy has the power to transform lives. It can help individuals overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, and various mental health issues. However, in our capitalist society, therapy is often treated as a commodity - something to be sold and bought, rather than a necessary service to support the well-being of others. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at how capitalism impacts therapeutic services and why it's important to recognize these effects.
Monet David Blog
Counselor Lafayette, La
I’ve got a confession to make. I am so sick of people finding out what I do for a living and then saying the absolute most out of pocket stuff to me followed by, “Well, you know, you’re a therapist.” Usually, the statement is about being hypersensitive, or empathic or having poor boundaries (they think it’s a good thing). Can’t relate. You know why? I went to school for 3 years to learn about boundaries and to understand that to be a good therapist I must be professional and ethical in my practice. And it’s just that—a practice. Since becoming a therapist, I have learned to NEVER compare myself to another professional. So, you’ll never find me saying, “I’m the hair stylist friend,” or “I’m the accountant of my friend group” because I have a deep abiding respect for other people’s professions and education. As the youth say, I stay in my lane. So here a few more things you should avoid saying when you find out someone is a therapist…
The frequency with which anxiety exists in our bodies can only be described as frenetic and unrelenting. A hive of bees when it is at its worst. An amalgamation of symptoms—elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, shortness of breath, tensed muscles. It’s no wonder those of us burdened with anxiety move quickly—from one task to another, constantly planning and waiting for the next crisis we will inevitably overthink. It’s taxing both emotionally and physically. To overcome such intense symptoms feels impossible. But what if it isn’t?
Day after day I hear from clients an innate desire to connect with other people. To make new friends. To have novel experiences. My young adult clients struggle to make friends because their time in college was cut short due to the pandemic. My adult clients struggle to meet new people because work takes up so much of their time. My adolescent clients are limited in what they can do with their parent’s permission. So, all in all, it’s gotten to be very lonely these last few years. So, when a client begins to lament about their needs not being met I share with them this freshly curated listed of activities you can do in Acadiana!
In this late stage capitalist hellscape, you will often hear, “We’re family here!” Which should serve as a giant red flag. Why, you ask? Because work is work. You are there to perform tasks and uphold responsibilities laid forth when you agreed to take the position and really, no more.
One of the first questions I ask a new client..... what is your opinion about medication, and what are your past experiences with medication? Often, clients are open to the idea of pursuing medication to address their symptoms and trust my clinical judgement when referring for medication management. Some clients have bad experiences with medication and let me know that they are reluctant to try again.
Picture it—I stand before you, perfect erect posture, an ornate hat placed upon my head and bedecked in some sort of religious garb. I beckon you to come forth and hear my wise words and you are hypnotized by the image before you. The atmosphere mimics the final scene of that one movie where Bill Murray whispers into Scarlett Johansson’s ear and the audience is none the wiser but desperately wishes they were. This time you get to be privy to information. I gently say to you, “Stop being the therapist friend. It’s not necessary. Just be, like, a good supportive friend.”
The therapeutic relationship is such a fascinating concept to me. I invite you, as my client, to join me, your therapist, in an intimate, vulnerable space with clear set boundaries. It seems like for many clients this is a novel experience. They are typically seeking counseling services to address interpersonal conflicts wrought with enmeshment and boundary violations. In these contexts, therapy can serve as a model for what positive, open relationships can look like in one’s life.
The COVID-19 pandemic really turned the mental health world on its head. Not only have rates of mental health issues increased, but therapy completely revamped itself to accommodate for the risks involved in contact between clinician and client. Now that the world is settling a bit, we have had some time to reflect back on the last two years and to explore the research about teletherapy.
Can we talk about gender? I mean, it’s all that’s talked about these days and so it’s not a stretch to ask, but what if we really talked about it? Let’s say your child, your daughter in this example, comes to you and says, “Mom (or Dad or Grandma, you get the picture), I’m not a girl.” How do you react? What does this mean for you? Your family? Is your world turned upside down? It’s a lot to take in. Especially if you haven’t considered what gender means to you. So, let’s do that now.