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Showing posts from June, 2012

Sabbatical -- Summer Reading

Well, dang.  Regular readers know that every once in a while my brain goes on strike.  I can't imagine how I used to preach week after week after week.  Usually, I do a re-run or fill with some video.  But after posting something every week since April 2009, the time has come to take an intentional break, a sabbatical.

I hate to do this in the middle of a series.  I have one more post in me on apology.  But I need more than a week's recovery time this time.  So that series will have to wait until October or so.  I'll still stick up an occasional youtube.  I've got one in the file featuring Mister Rogers...

Meanwhile, I have some suggestions to broaden your blog-reading horizons.  Most are not about mental health issues.  They are the random reading that feed my mind and soul, a selection from my blog role.  Consider this my annual Summer Reading post.

First up, of course, Knowledge is Necessity.  John McManamy gave me a leg up in the blogging business, when he introdu…

Entitled to an Apology?

Perhaps because a central feature of both hypomania and depression is irritability, and because a characteristic of the "bipolar temperament" is a certain tendency toward an attitude of entitlement, interpersonal disputes tend to be common in this patient population. -- Ellen Frank, Treating Bipolar Disorder

Frank goes on to explain how this attitude of entitlement plays out in the clinical setting.  Unlike the usually self-effacing patient with Major Depressive Disorder, grateful for any scrap of attention, people with bipolar get irritated at imagined slights, such as when the therapist cancels an appointment, or is late.  Sometimes, the only way the therapist can maintain the therapeutic relationship is to go ahead and apologize for these imagined slights.

Yup, stick that fork in the 220 volt socket again.


So Robert Spitzer's Apology struck a nerve: apologies made or received, or not.  More like, Robert Spitzer's apology stuck a fork into a 220 volt socket, the nerve labeled Apology in the Clinical Setting, Or Not.

I have long been curious about this issue.  Fork in the 220 volt socket kind of curious.  I watched with wonderment as a therapist handled my complaint, which was, to me, about a life-threatening experience, steering the conversation away, time and again, from what I thought was the simplest, most natural direction, I'm sorry.

Now, I trusted this person.  Her avoidance of those words, her downright circumlocutions confused me.  My brain has long practice in making sense of the nonsensical behavior of people I trust.  So I decided there must be a rule, a therapy rule, that says a therapist shouldn't apologize, because it diverts attention from the real issue, which is about the client's mother, and not about the therapist at all.  Or something like that.