My first therapist wore a poncho and beads. As soon as my apprehension was clear, she tried to explain away, in a soft Aussie accent, the reason for the poncho. I have a cold, she said, I really don’t wear this every day. She allowed a chuckle. Such a stereotypical “therapist”. I smiled but I also noticed that she didn’t cough or blow her nose once. She wore the poncho to every session. Not so much as a sniff.
Things didn’t get much better after that. CBT is held up as the Mecca that all us nutjobs should make a pilgrimage too. Only then can we find forgiveness and redemption. But for me, it was just another tiresome journey. It was simply a way of paying for someone to tell me to pull myself together in a less direct way than just saying get over yourself.
And now I know that just as pills don’t work for everyone, therapy doesn’t work for everyone either. For a long time, I assumed I was doing something wrong but now I think it’s just the way I am. Too cynical, too stubborn, too unwilling to accept others’ advice. For other people there will be other reasons why it doesn’t work and all of those reasons will be valid. Sometimes it just doesn’t.
But against my better judgement and common sense, I have an appointment with a new therapist. Hopefully one that doesn’t wear a poncho. Hopefully one that doesn’t use passive-aggressive techniques to tell me to sort myself out. Hopefully one who doesn’t seem so shocked to find out that I was a happy child with a happy childhood or who will at least accept that when I say it. And hopefully, please god, someone who doesn’t tell me to be kind to myself.
It’s pointless to go. I could spend the money on a new laptop, a weekend away, a pair of new trainers. I go because I have to prove I’m trying and don’t know how else to do that anymore.