Why Have a Therapist When a Mean Friend Will Suffice?
The Wall Street Journal ran a story Tuesday featuring whiny people whining about how their old therapists let them whine too much.
According to the WSJ, these crybabies are now turning enlisting the services of brusque super bitchy therapists who cut them off mid-hot date story, set strict limits on what subjects they're allowed to talk about, and generally tell them to STFU in a variety of ways ranging from "Hmm, kind of rude" to "Wow, very rude."
The article only quotes one woman (a 23-year-old) who's receiving this kind of straight-talkin' therapy but, to be fair, she seems to love it:
"When there's unconditional love from my therapist, I'm not inclined to change."
The rest of the text is devoted to the therapists themselves, who want to make it very freaking clear to you they do not want to hear your goddamn whining.
Here are some things the graduates of the Everyone's Pop-pop School of Therapy say to their patients:
"Talking endlessly about your problems isn't going to help."
"If you are looking for the type of therapy where I am going to nod my head and affirm what you are feeling, this isn't the place to come."
"Stop. No more complaints. I don't want to hear about this one more day. You must talk about something else."
One of them even employs the classic little brother trick of mirroring patients' whiny statements back at them "using both the same words and tone."
As you might expect, these methods often lead patients to, as the article tactfully puts it, "transfer their anger" onto their therapists.
It also leads many clients to walk out mid-session, ensuring that the therapy has been truly effective.
While the article does make some good points (whiners are downers; try whining less), it truly veers into the absurd at the end, when it offers helpful advice on how to deal with the complainers in your own life.
Here are some tactics that will have friends and loved ones c-a-l-l-i-n-g you a See You Next Tuesday in no time:
"Point out there's a pattern. Say, 'Do you realize it's the fifth night in a row you've talked about this?' Offer to tape future conversations so the person can hear for him or herself."
And here is a list of other random suggestions, loosely grouped together as suggested alternatives:
"The person might want to write down a list of complaints and leave it in a drawer. Or keep a journal and circle repeated complaints in red pen. Or spend an hour at the gym, or do something outdoors with you."
So many questions. Does the person do anything with the list of complaints once it's in the drawer? Do they take it out whenever they feel down for an angry re-read? Do they ever burn it which, as multiple reality shows have taught us, is a cleansing exercise? Won't keeping a journal and circling repeated complaints in red pen encourage angrily obsessive behavior? Won't doing something outdoors with you, their straight-talking friend, and now the person they most hate in the world be frustrating for them?
Shut up, you dumb baby. You're asking too many questions. I don't want to hear it.