A panel discussion
A group of Swiss Psychiatrists sat upon an elevated surface discussing how psychiatrists
are portrayed in film and the role f Psychiatry in society.
I sat with a Psychiatry allergic friend trying to decipher the language ..
“Arrogant bastards”,my defiant friend growls..
I try to calm him down,they don’t bite ,they are harmless over there in the distance not taking notes i their notebooks nor diagnosing ,analyzing or pretending to listen while their minds are on automat pilot..
Therapy has left its disappointing scars,lasted longer than an abusive marriage and cost much more ,i was a low hanging fruit,eager to please and comply,I accepted the words of the therapist however rarely spoken as the gospel truth but looking back is 20/20 vision ,i mentally made a wish list for what i would have wanted my therapist to do:
1.Tell me how difficult my life circumstances are and have allowed me to stop beating myself up for not being successful enough in an alien foreign xenophobic society .
2.Tell me how language is important for feeling understood
rather than have insisted on speaking Hebrew with grammatical errors and clear lack of clarity of subtext and context.
3.Give me goals and practical guidance rather than to have helped me live in my home in outer space.
4.Given a limit rather than sponged off years of my life which ended abruptly with a stuttered defensive shrug rather than an explaination as to what exactly did therapy do to help me to understand myself and others.
Most of the time the therapist was like a driving instructor who only reacted when i would crash into a wall and then muttered passively “less gas”
I asked a question and 3 therapists responded that no ,it is not about money and yes one needs to differentiate between being odd and mentally ill…but i still had a feeling i hit the nail on the head;optional therapy is very much about money,it is a form of banking and a long pointless therapy means money in the therapist’s account without comsideration of what is good for the patient .
Before Sigmund Freud people went to see priests and rabbis whose advice was covered by the community and there were no mental illnesses but demons ,spirits,curses,and a blessing or exorcism went a long way but then people got burned as witches and placed on ships towards the devil island or placed in cages and beaten.
So mental illness has come a long way but my scrambled question came out like a bitter accusation,
was it all about money?
The stern frowning faces of the psychiatrists seemed to have answered my question beyond their denial that money plays a role in diagnosis.
Films are created by creative people and therefore the psychiatrists are often portrayed as evil agents of society.
Therapy attempted to make the black and white vision a rainbow of various shades beyond just good and bad,but ultimately therapists undergo a conservative training and they are conservative people who are good at jumpimg through social hoops who feel good being powerful and rarely are good at empowering like Dr. Fried in “I never promised you a rose garden.”
Typically after the film the therapists stood at the bar next to the film podium drinking in their exclusive closed circle ,200$an hour ,not far from there women of third world countries stood at street corners and ask for less in return for their time..
A young man with a beautiful face came to me to say hello,
“don’t you remember me?”he asked.
It took me a while but then he began to speak of conspiracies and i recognized his diagnosis as some sort of schizophrenia..
i did not need a medical degree…
it was a man whom i ran into once in a clothing shop facinated by his words but here is where i wonder why psychiatrists are necessary at all when all most of us need is someone to talk to without being judged.
I excused myself and walked away..my friend was waiting outside ,he said ” psychiatrists and all doctors need a thick skin not to feel too much” but i reminded him we both suffered from thin skin.
It does not make for a profitable profession or social status like Psychiatry but it helps me to write anyway ..