Paid to Talk

As somebody that has spent a bit of time in the mental health system, I have noticed that many people with problems cling to therapists as one of the few positive influences in their lives. This is a notion that I could never get behind. I could see why people enjoy having psychiatrists as they can prescribe medication to help with chemical imbalances that lead to many disorders that the people suffer from, but a therapist, while knowledgeable in the basics of psychology, does not have that power of prescription, save for the power of recommending it to somebody that does.

A therapist does know about psychology and can recommend you do various stress reducing exercises, tell you about how your sleep may be influencing your mood, and be a general source of support. The problem with that is that the more “practical” things they can teach and tell you about are widely available to be learned about on the internet. While it can be argued that having a therapist can open your eyes to it if you are not aware of it, I would say that somebody that is serious enough about their mental health to seek out the aid of a therapist should also be concerned enough to do research by themselves instead of needing to rely on obtaining the knowledge from a therapist; a therapist that may or may not actually know of them themselves as there are no qualifications or tests to be a therapist. Every mind works differently anyways so while a therapist may know of certain techniques, they may forget to teach them if they find that the patients they had in the past were not being helped by it enough, but the next patient they get could possibly benefit greatly from it and not be taught it due to a disillusioned therapist.

The less “practical,” though very important, role that the therapist provides is being supportive to their patients. The listen to them talk about their days, provide words of encouragement, and provide what words of wisdom they can to help somebody struggling. While this is a good function that everybody needs to have in their lives, it is not a function that can only be provided by a therapist. Family, lovers, friends, and other figures of guidance in peoples lives whether they be teachers, priests, or community leaders, should all be willing to provide this kind of support and do so for free. The therapist does have the advantage of being a professional that is not personally involved with somebody’s life the same way a family member is so while one may go to their family normally, when they have a dispute with their family that is causing them distress, they would theoretically then go to the therapist. But there are plenty of more people personally involved in their lives that they could be going to such as a friend. Taking the time and energy to go to a therapist means that they are not making new connections with new friends and people that can take on that role when they are in need. While most people do not want to be their friend’s personally therapist, a good friend does want to provide a little support every now and again if they can and having a few good friends to go to makes it so that no one of them is overburdened.

A therapist meanwhile is only interested in being helpful for their own profit. They are a paid friend. Some people I have met in need of support spend all of their money on therapy, which leads to other sources of distress for them. A person would not normally pay a friend to give them words of encouragement and said friend may not even accept financial payment for such a service if it was offered, but that is more or less what therapy is. Even so, people seem to think that a therapist is something noble.

I will admit that my view of what a therapist does is negatively skewed as for my personal experience, I have had to watch what I say more than a normal person seeking therapeutic aid. My personal experience was half of them trying to be helpful and half of them seeing if I needed to be locked up in the hospital again. Even so, I believe that the principle of being paid to be a support to somebody in the way that a therapist is should not be thought highly of and should be perhaps a source of distress to know that is what you are receiving rather than a source of relief.

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