Therapists and the Moral Compass

Tony and Dr. Melfi

I loved the relationship between Tony Soprano and his shrink. It was so well-written and acted. So much sexual tension and irony in the meeting of these two. It also kind of broke the mold on males going to seek therapy as well.

It occurred to me that the whole psychotherapist / psychologist / psychiatrist field has quite a moral dilemma. They are supposed to be primarily concerned with their client’s mental well-being and they are supposed to give honest assessments of their patients (or clients) states of mind. However, since they derive their living from on-going treatment, how often do they drag therapy on unnecessarily?

Sometimes when I am stressed out, it helps to talk to someone. I am a bit uncomfortable, however, with the occasionally exorbitant rates charged at times, but more so with the questionable financial ethics involved. A shrink that asks for payment in cash (obviously so there is no fiscal trace of the transaction) is a particularly sticky one. If the shrink is dishonest with the tax system, how likely is it that s/he will be dishonest with me? But then, they are not supposed to be moral barometers – I suppose you could say that we project that morality on them, but still it slightly damages the client-therapist trust a bit, at least for me.

Another time I had a therapist invite me to group therapy. It was excessively expensive and to be perfectly honest, I felt like the one “unbroken” person in the room and this turned me off the therapist and therapy in general for quite a while. Someone else I saw occasionally seemed to insist on continuing sessions after I felt that the issues I needed working on were sufficiently resolved. The twisted argument would be that I was delusional in thinking that issues were resolved, but I don’t think that holds water at all. Outside of real psychosis, I think folks are pretty capable of telling whether they just need a little boost or that they are losing it.

I find that it must be a fascinating way to make a living: getting into someone else’s head and poking around if you will. I’ll bet it is probably downright frightening what they occasionally find. But then, I have yet to meet a poor, downtrodden shrink so they must be able to cope. A shrink of shrinks, like on the Sopranos Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, must even be more twisted – like reinsurance I guess. Perhaps that’s what I’ll do when I retire from computers – be a geek shrink – there is probably a vast untapped market there, don’t you think?


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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One Response to Therapists and the Moral Compass

  1. Pingback: TV Shows: Top 5 old faves – The Sopranos | Fino's Weblog

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