Many years ago as a relatively newly qualified psychologist I was working with a client whose presenting problem was difficulties in her relationship with her husband. I will call the client ‘Martha’ and her husband ‘Henry’ (I will never use real names in this blog).
The lady described the difficulties, and I responded in my best therapeutic manner. The exchange went something like this:
And what does Henry say when you talk to him about this?
(looking somewhat surprised)
Oh. Do you think I should talk to him, doctor?
I think that that would be a very good idea indeed.
The next week she returned. The exchange went something like this:
I tried that talking, doctor.
Well done! I think that that is a big step forward. How did it go?
Well, I said to him, ‘I think you and me should talk,’ and he said,
‘What about?’ I said, ‘About you and me and things like that.’
And what did he say?
He said, ‘Talk? To you? You stupid bitch! I pay some other silly bugger good
money to talk to you— you don’t think I’m going to do it myself, do you?’
I have to say that I was not impressed by Henry’s description of the therapeutic process.
As I have mentioned before, in addition to my counselling practice much of my work now is preparing reports and giving evidence in court cases. When I am asked what I do in this regard, I usually reply, “I get paid more than I’m worth in order to be insulted for a living.”