I want to make three things 100% clear:

  1. I believe in therapy, but only good therapy.
  2. Therapy, whether good or bad, is expensive. If something cheaper solves things, cheaper is the way to go. Why I discuss self-help, support groups, hypnotism, and coaching.
  3. Sometimes therapy is mandatory.  No dead person is helped by even the best therapist.

I don’t know everything, but I know a great deal about the difference between good therapy and bad therapy. Mainly, because I’ve been a patient as well as a therapist. 


 It is strongly advised that when becoming a therapist, you deal with your own problems and strengthen your self-awareness. For three and half years I spent an hour four days a week on the couch, talking about anything that came into my head, and reporting my dreams.

Was it helpful? Yes, confessing your darkest thoughts, venting all your hurt feelings is cathartic. Also, I came to understand me better; finally, I learned to say the F-word.

The F-word story: When I was about eight or nine, someone had written F— You on the inside door of the girl’s bathroom at my school. I had never heard or seen that word before.

When I got, home I asked my mother: “What does the word ‘fuck’ mean.”

Instead of answering, she marched me angrily to the kitchen sink and poured Old Dutch Cleanser in my mouth. Traumatizing. For years I simply could not say “Fuck” or “Fuck You.”

In analysis I came to understand why, but what really worked was a bit of behavior therapy. In analysis, you are required to lie on a couch with your shrink behind you and say whatever comes to mind. In time the word “Fuck” kept coming to mind. I think there were four or five sessions where I must have said “Fuck” at least twenty times.  Behavior therapy forces you to do the thing you fear to do. Saying it became okay.

Why I don’t recommend analysis

When I had grown up in my dreams, my analyst said that was a clear sign I was ready to end my analysis. In our last session, I asked about handling some specific problems.

He said, “My job was to help you understand your conflicts; Your job is to figure out how to apply that knowledge to your life.”

Not helpful. There is a myth among some therapists that one should never state an opinion or give advice. Good therapists do both in ways that help.

Actually, the things my analyst did that were analytic no-noes helped me most. One example: he told me to be kind to my mother as she was at best “disorganized.” That lifted my belief I was the only one with a problem.

For many the ability to say anything and not be judged remains the lure of analysis. That is powerful, but also addicting, and expensive.

Apply analysis when appropriate, but keep it on a short leash…

Alan Cohen



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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