24 Mar 07

Psychotherapy with Dr. T.

Amid an array of stationary and personal effects on Dr. T.’s desk were Power Plays by Tom Clancy and an Arizona Highways magazine.
After discussing my ups and downs, and what progress I’d made with Dr. O., Dr. T. asked where my level of self-understanding was at.

“Before my arrest I was unaware of my character flaws. I was oblivious. I never took time out to think about the reasons behind my behaviour. Since then, the psychotherapy sessions, and my studies of psychology have enabled me to better understand myself. I realise all humans are imperfect and carry the seeds of psychopathology. We all have dual natures: good sides and bad sides. In prison, I see people going to the bad by immersing themselves in drugs. And I see people purporting to go to the good, but, like Dorian Gray, keeping their bad sides hidden. Instead of going in those directions, I’ve tried to learn about my bad side and my character flaws, and how to channel my energy into positive directions such as yoga and writing. My goal is to become a better person, instead of being a sex and drugs maniac, and having my life crash again.”
“Out of the disorders you mentioned,” Dr. T. said, “your bipolar and anxiety problems are classified as Axis One major mental disorders. Bipolar is thought to be genetic, and although I’m against meds, ninety-nine-point-nine percent of psychiatrists would recommend treatment with meds such as lithium and Depakote.”
“I’m against meds. I prefer the holistic approach. By changing the way I think I’m trying to address the root causes of my problems instead of just masking the symptoms.”
“Borderline personality is an Axis Two personality disorder. Out of all the personality disorders, it’s the most difficult and painful. In the past were you impulsive?”
“Did you drive recklessly?”
“You already mentioned sex and drug abuse. Did you have intense relationships that went bad?” “Yes.”
“Did you feel devastated afterwards?”
“Did you fell totally alone to the point were you would do anything to avoid being avoided?”
“Sometimes I liked being alone. Other times I threw parties so that I’d be surrounded by thousands of people.”
“Do you experience emotional ups and downs on the yard?”
“Not like before. It’s tapered off.”
“Were you abused as a child?”
“No. I had a model upbringing.”
“Does anyone visit you?”
“Yes. My parents usually come at least once a year.”
After discussing my post-release goals, Dr. T. said, “It sounds like you have good plans, and you’ve come a long way in understanding yourself. It’s obvious that Dr. O. had a big impact on you. That’ll be all for now. If you’d like to continue psychotherapy just put a HNR in and I’ll schedule you.”
“OK. Thanks.”

After this session, I read some of Meeting the Shadow by Zweig & Adams, and I was moved by the following quote:

The great epochs of our lives are at the points when we gain courage to rebaptize our badness as the best in us.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I liked the quote, but I would put another angle on it-that the victim in us becomes the conquerer. So many people blame everything but themselves for what goes wrong in life, and until a person can own up, they can't move on, as you have done.

jailhouselawyer said...

I would tend to agree with that. It sure enabled me to move forward.