Cathi Carol: Not a Psychologist (Part II)


Consider a teacher:  a teacher goes to college to learn how people learn, and how to teach them to learn.  There are theories of learning that explain how children absorb knowledge.  There are various skills to be learned about how to transmit knowledge.  Likewise, a therapist engages in a disciplined study, under qualified supervision, of how personality development occurs and how it goes astray.  A therapist is not just some nice person who is kind to you.  A therapist is a person who is learned in the ways and means of your psychological development, as a physician is knowledgeable in the ways and means of your physical development.

And there is no such thing as “free” therapy.  There is always a price to be paid, and if therapist and patient are not clear at the outset what that price will be then the patient will suffer because the therapist is in a position of power and it is always the power position that benefits.  A therapist might legitimately say, “I will engage in six weeks of therapy without financial charge . . .” because I’m really rich and can afford it; because I’m a student and not allowed to charge; because I’m doing research on people who eat pretzels with pineapple and you qualify.  The issue is not how much and what will be charged: the issue is that the patient and therapist must both be clear about the terms of the therapeutic contract before therapy starts.

A therapist never says “I love you” to a patient.  “I love you” is a statement of affectionate commitment and the therapist’s emotions are not to be involved in therapy.  If a therapist finds herself having strong feelings about a patient then the therapist needs to seek supervision to work out her own issues so that they do not interfere with her treatment of the patient.  For example, if a patient says something that reminds the therapist of the therapist’s sister and the therapist transfers her feelings about her sister to her patient then the patient gets mistreated.

A therapist should no more say “I love you” to a patient than say “I hate you.”  It is a statement of one person’s feeling for another, not a balm that a therapist offers to heal a patient’s hurt.  Friends say, “I love you.”  Liars and hypocrites say, “I love you.”  Therapists do not say, “I love you.”  If a therapist says, “I love you,” then therapy is not taking place.  The job of a therapist is to help a patient understand why the patient does things that do not lead to positive outcomes so the patient can change his behavior.  It is not the job of the therapist to make the patient feel better with insincere words.

No responsible therapist would ever presume to know the motives of a person she’s never met, yet that is precisely what Carol has done, claiming that that ‘he did this,’ ‘he did that’ for whatever reason.  Carol has no idea what the friend/colleague/therapist/lover did; all she knows is what I said he did. A good therapist always maintains a discrete distrust: what if the patient is a liar or ignorant or—oh, gosh—just plain crazy? And for her to say that I shouldn’t take it “personally” is the height of insanity.  Carol argues that this was therapy but thinks therapy isn’t personal.  Even sex is less personal than therapy.

Carol ends that I should “try to be a friend to him” after arguing that we didn’t have a friendship—he was giving me “free” “informal” therapy.  You are not supposed to be a friend to your therapist; you do not drive him to the airport or help him move.  You can’t have it both ways, and that’s the whole point.  The boundaries of therapy or friendship, and the boundaries of lovers or colleagues, are uniquely different and must be observed in order to have a safe, healthy relationship, whatever type it may be.  What my friend and Cathi Carol have in common is the absence of boundaries.

You should not take comments about psychotherapy from Cathi Carol to have any more expertise than those from your barber, barkeep or best friend.  None of them are experts in psychology, although any of them may (or may not) be an expert in you.  In the words of Mike Royko, “It’s been my policy to view the Internet not as an ‘information highway,’ but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies.”  Furthermore, although I think I am smart and experienced, and should advise you on how to live your life, you should always keep in mind that I, too, may be a babbling loony.

Currently, some comments written for my blog are not posted until after I approve them while others get posted directly without my advance knowledge.  I don’t understand how this happens but will try to learn and then make sure that nothing else gets posted without my prior approval.  I promise to do my best to only post things that I know to be true.

My best advice to you, in all cases, is to trust yourself more than you trust anyone else.

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About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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4 Responses to Cathi Carol: Not a Psychologist (Part II)

  1. Don says:

    Anne, Yes he was always at the hospital. I found out what he did to my wife and I confronted him on the phone , when he called me. It was at that time when he confessed. I knew he would not lie to me at that point. His tune has changed now. I hope that he is feeling the pressure now and not able to talk to or take advantage of anyone else. When did he mention the lawsuit? He and his attorneys have not responded seriously yet , it has been nine months. Yes I will write, although I cannot find your address in this damned contraption. I am glad that you are smart. Please e-mail it to me again. Don.

  2. Don says:

    Annie, Way to go , Cathi-Carol is empty shell of superficial mumbo-jumbo. Thanks for your help , you provide clarity and this helps with my foundation. I am sorry that he hurt you also. I think that he is a very sick man. The post from Mad Hatter made a good point , he seemed to be obsessed with you. I stopped speaking to him at the end of May 2011. We would talk each day on the phone from approximately Sept. 2010 to May of 2011. Several times a day . One word or a sentence could turn me around. Same as with you it seems. Did he start talking to you when we stopped talking? He told me that if he thought I really need to see him he would make time for me. Also it helps that you see the boundary issues so clearly. Mine were worn down for years and he led me to believe that I was so special that our relationship risen above and beyond what was normal humanity. He showed me a note from his father, it ended with to know you is to soar with the eagles. He told me that I was on his hero list , along with his father. He has shamed to many people. He had a gift and he used it for his own selfish interests. Don.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      My run with him was from May 2011 to May 2012. I wonder who he’s talking to now? Was he always at the hospital when you spoke with him? How did you come to stop speaking with him? Will I be getting a letter from you? Anne

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