years ago while browsing in a bookstore a guy attempted to convince me to
buy a particular book in the remainder pile. The exchange was like Martin
Bubers I and Thou. Ergo, we exchanged e-mail addresses. I wrote
him. He wrote back, offering his services as a guide post. I was more thinking
of forming a friendship with a kindred spirit. The fact that he wanted to
be my therapist sort of stopped communications. I did check out his credentials.
Hes a bonafide licensed Ph.D. psychotherapist. Because I havent
made much progress with my current therapist, a few months ago I called him
and set up an appointment. That session was once again like an I and
Thou encounter. My dilemma here is Im torn between wanting this
man as a friend or settling for once a week, 50-minute-hour
I have addressed the issue of friendship versus psychotherapy
in another question. To summarize, genuine
psychotherapeutic healing depends on resolving
and no friendindeed no mere advisor or counselorhas the disinterested
objectivity to reach to this depth. An I and Thou experience
with a psychotherapist is fine, but unless this experience is grounded in
solid psychotherapeutic skills it will do nothing except lead you into the
and problems that you entered psychotherapy to overcome
of events leaves it unclear as to whether you terminated with your
current psychotherapist before seeing the second psychotherapist.
Ethics prohibits any psychotherapist from accepting into treatment any person
who is already in treatment with someone else, so your bonafide licensed
Ph.D. should have asked some questions about this when he made his initial
assessment of why you were seeking treatment.
Of course, if
you liedor simply withheld the truththen you must come to terms
with why you did this. And this brings us to the emotional core of your
If your psychotherapy
is not going well, then the whole point of treatment is to speak up within
the treatment about your feelings. If the problem cannot be resolved
then you should
terminate the treatment
and find another psychotherapist who can offer competent help. From what
you tell me, it seems clear that you have problems with this sort of emotional
honesty. In fact,
this very problem showed itself when this guy, with whom you wanted a friendship,
sold himself to you as a psychotherapist. You could have said, No,
Im already in treatment; I just thought we might be friends.
The fact that you couldnt make such a clean and direct statement points
to your need for genuine psychotherapynot some
idealized esoteric experienceto
resolve these interpersonal problems.
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