Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Shrink rap

It's time for therapy. Time to get professional help to sort out the tangled morass that is Nick's brain before it's too late. If it wasn't too late several years ago....

So here I am in the luxurious Malone* consulting rooms of Dr Melissa F, the doyenne of Belfast shrinks, the saviour of a thousand tortured souls, and the bestselling author of "Freeing the Self".

Dr Melissa: So why are you seeking therapy?

Nick: Well, among other things, I'm accused of being introverted, effeminate, anxious, sex-obsessed, cynical, unadventurous and defensive. Oh, and afraid of the dark. I need to get rid of all these undesirable, anti-social traits and become a mature, generous human being capable of infinite love and compassion.

Dr M: I'm sorry, I can't help you. You're obviously a hopeless case. The rot is too far advanced. You just have to resign yourself to a shrunken and shrivelled existence.

Nick: But I thought you could cure me. I thought you could cleanse my soul. You're the last chance I've got. Don't tell me there's nothing you can do.

Dr M: There's nothing I can do.

Nick: But don't you therapists like a challenge? A totally addled mind you can really get your teeth into? A seething vortex of neuroses, phobias and obsessions?

Dr M: Oh no, I'm all for the easy life. A straightforward nail-biter, a simple shopaholic.

Nick: I could get you some tickets for the Bruce Springsteen gig.

Dr M: On second thoughts, I'm getting interested. Maybe we can crack this thing. Which seats?

Nick: Front row.

Dr M: Fabulous. Same time next week then?

Nick: Absolutely. I'm saved, I'm saved!

Dr M: And I'm a banana.

I skipped down her front steps, happy as a lark. Yes, there's light at the end of the tunnel! Dr Melissa will purge the demons! My psyche will be born anew! Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds! But can I stop waxing my bikini line?

* Malone: the most prestigious and expensive part of Belfast. Home of lawyers, chief executives, more lawyers etc.

PS: My deadpan humour is clearly too convincing. Any resemblance between this post and tangible reality is entirely coincidental.


  1. I have been pondering therapy lately - perhaps you could get me a referral? After all, anything in Malone has to be good, right?

  2. FG - Melissa's diary is completely full for the next 3 years. Shameless bribery is the only way to get a foot in the door. Actually, I've never had any therapy in Belfast (though I had some in London). Therapy doesn't seem very fashionable here, most people seem to be from the "Just pull yourself together" faction.

  3. I went to the "Just pull yourself together" school!

    Is it any wonder I turned like as I am?

  4. I've had a combo, Nick, of outside therapy and self encouragement and analysis.
    Not of the Dr. M. school, unfortunately, cheap at the price of a few tickets but probably I'd be in far worse shape coming out than I went in!!!!

  5. Grannymar - Well, the JPYT school seems to have done you good, you seem to be a very well-adjusted soul!

    www - That combination's probably the right one. There are things we can sort out on our own with a bit of reflection and common sense but some things are so tangled they need some outside help.

  6. Never had therapy myself . . .I was offered grief counselling once but couln't bring myself to air my emotions in front of a total stranger. Seems to be very popular in America though. And frankly Nick, I don't think there's anything wrong with being introverted, effeminate, anxious, sex-obsessed, cynical or unadventurous and . . .I'm also afraid of the dark. Have to have a light on somewhere!

  7. what a wonderful combination you got there going for you! I am very jealous.
    mine aren't very exciting; ADD, OCD, bipolar disorder, depression, stress, a couple of phobias and anxiety attacks. Oh and paranoia.
    What happens if a therapist is suffering from some form of mental illness? Is there any monitoring process for the mental health of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and therapists?

  8. Nick, what's missing is erotic transference. Dr Malone would listen to you banging on about 'banging' for hours, much more intrigued by your bedroom shenanigans than by the offer of Springsteen tickets. I bet you didn't even begin to mention Voluptua. Silly boy!

    Therapists are human too, even though they can also be mad as houses. Case in point, here I am googling for images of Daniel Craig at 4am, ignoring my sensible voice which is telling me to go back to bed lol. And I can't do that right now cos my runny nose won't let me.

  9. I have a blog because I can't afford therapy (or am too cheap) - what should I do?

  10. Baino - I'm quite happy to air my emotions in front of a total stranger, probably more so than to someone familiar whose sensitivities I'm more aware of. Good to know you're not fazed by my plentiful failings!

    GayƩ - Goodness, your hang-ups are as prolific as mine! Good point about therapists' mental health. Hulla would know the answer to that one. I think there's only limited monitoring by professional associations and in practice shrinks could be pretty bonkers and get away with it.

    Hulla - Erotic transference eh? But I'm a happily married man, there's no way I would cast more than an accidental glance at Dr Melissa's tantalising miniskirt. Googling Daniel Craig at 4am? Aren't your clients eye-candy enough?

    Quicky - What should you do? Air all your most intimate personal problems of course, and we'll sort them all out for you.

  11. After reading your 'PS' I am afraid you think I had taken you seriously. And even more concerned that you would think I would be drawn to a therapist like the one you described (I must really come off as self-loathing)!

  12. FG, sorry about that. I wasn't quite sure about your comment, it was slightly ambiguous! I thought you might be assuming I had personal experience of some therapists and could recommend someone. I certainly didn't think you were referring to Dr M or that there was any self-loathing!

  13. That's ok, Nick. I've been told before that my sarcasm is often poorly delivered. And what regular reader of my blog would be surprised if I cited a need for therapy?

  14. FG - Your blog suggests nothing of the kind. It says to me that you're a very thoughtful and perceptive person who analyses your experience and behaviour much more carefully than most people do, which means the conclusions are always illuminating and well worth reading.