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My Blind Therapist

I went to a blind therapist for nine years. Going to a blind therapist to help see yourself better is absurd. I can see that clearly now.

My friend Chris is a therapist. She actually has helped me more than the blind man did; and we split the check at the end of our sessions. I can’t get my insurance to pay for our dinner or lunch (actually it’s hard to get insurance to pay for anything these days, but that’s another posting). Nonetheless, she has such amazing insight into my life that I realize that sometimes listening to friends who know you really well is much smarter than listening to someone you pay and tend to not tell things to because you want them to think you are a good patient making progress that they can write about in their next paper. Damn, that is a run on sentence, but I think it’s worth it. Also, I get to feel good at the end of our times together because I think I help her too. You don’t get to help your therapist, it’s a one way street and that’s not good for curbing personal narcissism, nor your self esteem.

There is no shame in therapy when you are a New Yorker.  Most of my friends have been in some kind of therapy or other. When I mention it in circles from my midwest past, they think it’s odd indeed. Ok, maybe not odd, but rather pathetic or scary. It always surprises me that people think therapy is strange or shows something lacking in your personal make up. An old boyfriend of mine used to say, “An unexamined life is a life that didn’t go very far outside the box it started in.” I like examining my behavior and the behavior of those that have had an influence on me.

Presenting yourself to a blind therapist is not easy.

“You might not have noticed, but I’ve gained some weight over the past few months.”

“Really, how much?”

“Fifty pounds.”

I’m not telling you what he said next. But it was at that moment that I knew I needed to leave the therapy.

He also said some amazing things.

“Just when are you going to start behaving the way you want to be remembered?” comes to mind. How good is that? I wake up many a morning and decide that is the day I’m going to start acting the way I want to be remembered. Like the New Day, New Diet plan that after ten years I still believe is going to start each morning, (talk about self deception) by noon I’ve done something or other that is not how I want to be remembered. Alas.

An old boyfriend who died recently, Kenny, went to a therapist four days a week for twelve years. None of us who cared about Kenny  saw one bit of difference in his destructive behavior and finally talked him into quitting. We all met for dinner after his last session, and he sang the praises of his therapist. “You will not believe how honest he was in the last session. He said the only thing I could fault him for was not stopping the therapy sooner when it was clear it wasn’t going anywhere.” None of us said a word. Kenny was not a stupid man. He stood before the Supreme Court of the United States of America – twice. Blind is not just about seeing through your eyes.

I think women have a harder time in therapy then men. We tend to want people to like us and confronting the therapist can often be part of the treatment. I never did that really. Nor have many friends I have who are in therapy. Men don’t seem to care. “I’m paying him,” one guy friend said to me at dinner when I questioned the roughness of what he said to the therapist, “I don’t really care what he thinks.” I want to be that person, not just in therapy, but in life. “Hi, I’m Christine, and I care what I think, not what you think.” What freedom! I’m cured!

After I stopped seeing the blind therapist I found out he became a Rabbi. Does that make him a Rabid Therapist? Tee hee. I’m not Jewish, but my daughter is, and I wondered when I heard he became a Rabbi if I would have converted to Judaism if I was still seeing him when he had his ceremony or whatever right of passage makes you a Rabbi. After all I became a narcissist when he specialized in narcissism.

This next part may seem far fetched, but I assure you it’s true.

My ex husband emailed me last fall to say that the blind therapist turned Rabbi had been in touch and asked him for money for his campaign because he was running for Congress. I checked it out and sure enough, the blind therapist, turned Rabbi had turned candidate. I knew I’d made progress because I actually contacted the blind Rabbi Therapist Candidate to tell him I thought that was extremely tacky. He agreed and apologized profusely. Turns out my ex was on a list that he was given to solicit, and he didn’t catch it.

I realize that being in therapy is sort of like having a life preserver while bobbing up and down in the large ocean of one’s life. “I’m in therapy and will find out why I don’t tell you the truth.” As if the why makes it any better. It’s like the Catholic confession. Be a terrible person all week and no worries; say you are sorry in confession and poof, it’s gone and you are no longer responsible. Or, in Judaism, when God wipes the slate clean each year and you get a big do over the next. I love Judaism for that reason alone.

I’m still examining my life, but have found other ways to do it. I am going to stick with writing which is a form of therapy right? It’s much less expensive. You don’t need to rush to make the appointment time. You don’t have to wonder if you are the favorite patient or not. The list goes on and on.

7 replies on “My Blind Therapist”

I think women are more open to therapy than men and we have a better understanding that it takes time. You can’t fix all the issues in one 45 minutes session. Men tend to expect miracles more often. But I’m all about not going to therapy for the rest of your life. Sooner or later you must put on your big girl panties and take the plunge on your own. Writing is my therapy as well! Keep going Christine!! 🙂

I have gone to therapy on and off for 20 years. I could never commit. I would stop because I got bored or I got tired of hearing myself complain. But then I would get myself in some desperate situation and I be back in therapy again. I stopped going after my marriage broke up. Although the marriage was breaking up anyway…going to therapy sealed it. BEING HONEST…well some things should be let unsaid. I’m not against therapy…but what I’ve learned is that like everything else in life, living your life is a process. It is a work in progress. I agree you just have to take the plunge and live and live as honestly and as best you can. I am no longer waiting for my life to be fixed, my therapy is moving forward to see what happens.

Were you trying to be clever when you wrote “Going to a blind therapist to help see yourself better is absurd. I can see that clearly now?” Was the blindness actually a all consuming obstacle that negated all his other positives? They can’t read body language but maybe blind people aren’t influenced by the superficial biases we are. maybe you just had a bad therapist and not a therapist who was defective because of a disability.

I’m seeing a blind therapist this week and found your article when I googled “blind therapist.”

I guess I was trying to be clever. But underneath it all, I can say that for me it was also a way to hide a bit. My blog is not meant to be a serious endorsement of any type of therapy, or any type of anything. It’s just my personal story and thoughts based on my past experience. Good luck with your experience! To each his own.

I was also googling “blind therapist” (I’m a blind therapist!) and came across this post.
I am taking a year off from practicing, and might never go back, and tend to agree with you that writing and good friends can be the best forms of therapy.
Reading your description of therapy with a blind therapist (who I have actually spoken to on the phone, funnily enough), made me a little sad. Don’t worry, I wasn’t sad in an I’m-offended-this-wasn’t-PC-sort-of-way, I was just sad because your post is another example of the perceived chasm that separates blind and sighted people: the stereotypes, the assumptions, the gut feelings that each group has about each ot
her. As you no doubt know, there are shitty, narcissistic blind therapists, and shitty, narcicistic sighted therapists, and completely oblivious blind therapists, and amazing blind therapists, and mediocre sighted therapists. I strongly believe that the chasm to which I referred is only as big as each group makes it out to be. When I did rape crisis work, I was honored that the women chose to share their stories with me, and there were many moments, I think, where we both forgot I was blind. I know your entry was meant to be somewhat tongue and cheek, but i just felt compeled to reply, because we’re all human, we’re all delightfully complex, and to me, our similarities are just as important as our differences.

Dear Tasha,
Thanks for your thoughtful response to my blog post. For me, having a blind therapist was a way to hide. That said, he gave me many gifts, and I do not regret going to him. But if I had it to do over again, I would not have done it. And, if I am honest, him being blind is one of the reasons. He was also my Abnormal Psychology Professor, and I have never, ever had a better teacher. I am now working with a life coach, who in my mind, has brought me further in a year than nine years of therapy with DS. You are right. Different strokes for different folks. I wish you best in whatever you choose to do next. Christine

Good life coaching can be amazing like that and it’s actually one of the routes I’m considering. I think life coaching can be a lot more authentic and can help you cut through the BS, whereas therapy can often indulge and proppogate it.
Interesting that part of why you liked going to DS was because you could hide. I think my clients felt like that about me at first, but after a while, they totally changed their mind when they realized I wasn’t afraid to call them out on things, though I always endeavored to do it as gently as possible because confrontation is not my thing. I really believe that three-quarters (if not more) of what makes someone a successful life coach/therapist is their intuition, and their ability to use it in a way that promotes resonance and compassion. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, I don’t think my blindness makes me any more intuitive than a sighted person, and inttuition is one of those tools that you have to work damn hard if you want to use for the good.

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