Via of all places, MeFi
, I came across a fairly powerful little essay
by a man, himself depressed, detailing a bit of the life and death of one of his college friends, who committed suicide.
I haven't much to say about it that won't involve long and excessive rambling, but I wanted to note it down here for later reference. There were many snippets within it which resonated strongly, but perhaps none so much as this description and possibly indictment of therapy:
He had been brave enough to start treatment, to seek insight, but insight had not redeemed him, as insight often doesn’t. It is heartbreaking to give words to your pain only to find that pain unaffected by articulation. It is a betrayal—the betrayal inherent in art’s and philosophy’s clear descriptions of what they cannot improve.
My problem is that I seek therapy as a science, because I was raised as a child of the Enlightenment and Rational Man. The therapy I want is the science of the mind, and the normative science at that - one complete with diagnosis and prognosis and prescription. But I have found that every single therapist I've met who has agreed and claimed that those things can be found within therapy is, in fact, a terrible therapist. If, in fact, therapy (psychiatric treatment without or other than psychopharmacology) is an art and not a science, then part of me - a great deal of me - is instantly suspicious and considers it unworthy. Or rather, I cannot muster up the approach, which I learned at my mother's knee, of opening up all to the therapist. I can (at least I think I can) open up nearly completely to therapists; produce the innermost secrets that I'm aware of for their delectation and analysis - all because I treat therapy as medical science, and thus can accept the clinician's dispassion with such information.
If it's not a science, but an art, then it feels prurient and invasive, and I can feel myself closing up, the flower armoring for the winter.
Art, I tell myself, is not what I need.
But, of course, what if I'm wrong?