Posted by: Jane | 2008/05/20


I have always been sceptical of shrinks in any form. I just don't see how someone who doesn't know me at all would be able to help me understand why I behave/feel the way I do. I tend to think of consulting a shrink as being self-obsessed and precious and that the real problem is over-thinking things too much. I don't mean to be insulting, and good luck to anyone who finds help in this way. I suppose what I am asking is, how much benefit would someone gain, who is incredibly reserved and private about their feelings to start with. Maybe I would like to be proven wrong, but I think I have accepted that this route may not be the answer for everyone?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Well, Jane, fortunately most shrinks are not sceptical about you. Because they do know a lot ( from training and experience ) about how minds work, and how different people experience the sort of troubles you have, they can be helpful. And of course, apart from that general background knowledge, they would work towards knowing a lot about you, based on what you chose to reveal to them. Of course, you might choose to sabotage the project, but that would be unduly self-defeating. And where it is a one size fits all approach, ignoring rather than adapting to, the individuality of the specific person ( like analysis ) it would indeed be unhelpful.
As for precious and self-obsessed, that is indeed, in my view, what psychoanalytic type techniques foster, but they're comprehensively useless anyway, and only offered by shrinks who have ignored the scientific literature of many decades. CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) for instance, teaches YOU skills to recognize, test, and modify habits of thought, assumption and behaviour that are preventing you from reaching your goals. The method has wide applicability, but by its natured has to be tailored to specifically fit you.
It is a habit many of us form in childhood, to be excessively private and reserved, and evn though its a refreshing change from the many trivial celebs and others who one wishes would be much more private and reserved, it can be a hindrance, not only in therapy, where a therapist is trained to help with this, but in private life and relationships.
Almost mad makes another good point, in that, while the shrink's knowledge is valuable, the fact that they care enough to be helpful but DON'T know you enough to be part of the problem, can be an especial strength

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Our users say:
Posted by: almost mad | 2008/05/21

i think the point is that the shrink dont know u and it makes it easier to spill out your life story and problems, then they give you some advice thats more reasonable than your own over thinking brain. also you get to let out all your pent up frustrations.

Reply to almost mad
Posted by: shooter | 2008/05/21

Hi Jane,

I agree with Tango on this. I have severe PTSD, to the point that i used to go into "killing" rages evry so often. i sufferd for years because i also thought that i knew more than the docs. I later realised that they are trained to look for certain warning signs and other indicators that help with releasing your problems so that you can deal with them. you need to find a good therapist and work on getting to a point where you can move on with your life. i wish you luck in your journey.

Reply to shooter
Posted by: Tango | 2008/05/20

I think that most people grew up to be overly private and mostly to deny negative thoughts, anger, hate, etc - even not to cry or show emotion - "private" as you put it. Now I am a total lay person and can identify with much of what you say. However, research over the years has - thankfully taught us and brought us to a point of knowing that to keep things in, etc is not always helpful, and that one can suffer unnescessarily in the long run. We see this in PTSD where "soldiers do not cry" and we see it also in people not been able to let go of certain things and move on.

Seeing a Shrink will only help someone if they get to the stage where they realise that they just can not move beyond a certain point, where emotionally they feel bereft. You have to come to a point and acknowledge that you need help and you are going to take responsibility and work with your therapist. And yes - its not for sissies, its hard work to grow and face yourself / demons.

So, if some one is very private and reserved it will work because a good Shrink will know this and work at the persons pace. All thats needs to happen is to have a willing person to want to take that step!

Reply to Tango

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