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To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

THE MYSTERY OF WORK

For many my work is a mystery. Especially for the ones not living in the US or Western Europe. But even in the enlightened parts of the world,  many have only a vague idea about psychologists and therapists. 
 Many think it is something shameful when one is depressed, or obsessive-compulsive, or schizophrenic. I never got that.  Why is a liver condition is not shameful, but a chemical imbalance in the brain, or a reaction to trauma is?




You know me from my blogs, but this is how my clients see me. 
Isn't it interesting how a setting changes one's identity?
No, I don't smoke a pipe like Freud, or establish your archetype like Jung. 
I'm the newer brand of docs who are into object relational therapy.

My side of the room. I like it that others can't see the titles
of my books since it may be distracting on the first visits.
I deleted part of my info. on my  degree for passerby hackers. 
I love sitting in the forest:)


This is the client's side. Some have jokingly called 
my room "The dungon." It really helps being a mom: 
for the timid ones, as well as the ones 
who don't have any boundaries.
I wish I could say that the latter are kids, 
but they're adults, and for these I am "the Doc"


Sometimes a whole family sits on this long couch.
For group therapy or for testing we go to another  room.
Forgot to take a pic of the sand tray./box where children in therapy  
(mostly under 12 years old) play out their "problems" 
with miniature objects (to make a whole scene)

Most frequently asked questions:
I have a doctorate in clinical psychology and have practiced therapy at various group clinics, together with other doctors. 
(There are also therapists with a Masters Degree). What's the difference?
The latter ones may have taken a class in testing, but nothing like the doctoral people who can give whole batteries of psychological tests. The doctoral people often also have specializations in treating certain disorders and do research. 
In my case load I have a variety of crisis problems,  didactic sessions for anger or assertiveness management, domestic violence, parental,  or marriage or gender issues. I love to do long term therapy with a variety of clients of different age groups. 

Post Script: If you wonder what object relational therapy is, the easiest and shortest way to describe is as follows: it is the relation we have to objects (things/people) that tells us about our issues, conflicts, weaknesses and strengths. The focus of this approach is to change the relation to our significant objects so we can leader a healthier emotional life.

26 comments:

Kilauea Poetry said...

Hi Jeannette..
Interesting..this raises so many questions in my head? I had a friend who passed away maybe five years ago..but she suffered a lot through depression. My dad was a bit manically depressed but my mom seemed to be the one who did the enduring (lol)- only she didn't fall into it. On the other hand I did suffer in a much similar way as my dad..but only in Christ did I learn the concept of having joy in ones circumstances-
that after a long time. Perhaps it needs to be said that this is something you would really learn to apply as in mana- life in abiding- daily. I'm not trying to dismiss those or make light of anyone's problems just for the record- as many of us are simply in different phases (going through the fire) of life. The concept of suffering for me had been tainted by religion (almost on a level of the way one might look at martyrdom/catholicism)? Having said that..hmm? I knew I wouldn't get away with a short comment and would go on-then.. I may not read your response right away..much more could be said. Enough for now.
I think your rooms are really tasteful though- love the way you've done your colors and I can see your having fun with backgrounds! ha.
Anyway, my best to you, Regina-

Clytie said...

I love your space. Your forest. When my kids were in therapy, it was in a cold, clean, clinical office. Is it any wonder we weren't much helped?

Bless you for what you do. Thank you for caring, and helping.

ewix said...

This was so very interesting.
I'm a writer, and lately, a photographer and a bit of a left-over Jungian.
Your work sounds fascinating and valuable.
All best wishes from New York.

Elizabeth said...

This was so very interesting.
I'm a writer, and lately, a photographer and a bit of a left-over Jungian.
Your work sounds fascinating and valuable.
All best wishes from New York.

Floss said...

This is very interesting and positive. Our younger son is seeing a French psychologist because we are hoping for support in our plan to get him held back a year. He started Secondary School at 10 years old (normal in France as he is the youngest in his year) but is stressed and anxious by the pressures and work expected of an 11-12 year old class. I do hope that this psychologist will be able to help him, not just to cope with a bad situation, but to help us get a better situation. I'll keep you informed!

jeannette stgermain said...

Regina,
Sorry that you're struggling with all these questions. With one kind of depression (endogenous dep.) it's good to have medication.
But with other kinds of depression it would be to good to have therapy for some time, to learn cognitive strategies for daily life. These are general principles, but I like to email you, more privately. If I can't find your email, I'll ask you for it!


Clytie,
it's kind of dark in my office, but also homey -looks like a living room, which makes people. feel at ease.
Thank you Clytie, already in my teens I was interested in psychology, and helping people.

Elizabeth,
Ah, you're a writer, that's why your blog has some interesting ways of looking at things!

Personally, the theories of Jung are closer to my world view than Freud's, but as you can gather from my post, the object relational theories work better for me for long term clients.

Having said that, I also do like the variety of crisis- and short term work, where I use cognitive and family systems approaches. Not to forget art therapy with children.


Floss,
Have you said to your child's therapist that that is the reason why you bring him to therapy? And that you want a letter from him, stating that? (he might tell you that he needs to do some tests, to back up what he says).
If he gives a vague answer (something like "it depends..."), press him for a clear-cut and definite answer. Tell him that if he doesn't do that kind of work, to give you names of therapist who would be able to provide you what you need.
Or, tell him, that you'll bring him to another therapist "for a second opinion" (which again, may lead to testing). It's a very common strategy to ask for a second opinion with school problems.

Whitemist said...

I think many people still have the attitude that if they can not work out their own problems it is somehow a bad thing and I am talking this side of the world.
I know when I went through a crisis many, many years ago, I at first had that thought, but good friends convinced me otherwise and it did help.
There are good Doctors and not so good doctors in all fields and I have met some of both in this field.
I was aware enough to know when someone did not help and found someone who did and that does not mean I was looking for a doctor to tell me what I wanted to hear, much different, I simply needed guidance through difficult times (and we all go through them).
Clearing that initial attitude helped me know when to ask for help and when I merely had to just go through it.
I can see that you are one of those who I would readily go to in times of trouble.

jeannette stgermain said...

Joey,
Your attitude is after my own heart -it is not bad to ask for help!! -actually, it's the smart thing to do instead of plodding around for oneself for years. Glad you found that out!

With psychologist/therapists it is very important to have a chemistry between doctor and patient. I am well aware that I cannot help everyone -but then, there are more than 30 thousand others in the L.A. area!

DUTA said...

jeannette, people have difficulty also in telling about their liver problems, not only about depressions.

Anyway, I wonder whether therapists feel any change in the number of patients ,since the online forums on different diseases are thriving. people being able to participate anonymously and learn from the experiences of others with doctors and medications.

rainfield61 said...

Your post has invited all these long comments. It proved to be an interesting one, and to me, it is an eye-opener.

jeannette stgermain said...

Duta,
Yes, some people have difficulty talking about anything!
Real change I think is better measured when a doc sees a client face to face than on line -because than the client only talks about one thing (and most things one can get a better sense of "in context"), so the doc cannot see the whole picture.

More than 75% of our behavior is non-verbal! So, that means we have to see/experience that person in the same room with us. Being "oddly" dressed, or certain repetitive movements, or eye-contact tell me a host of things - I would not have that info., not even on skype where one has a picture of the person.

All this to say about the on-line forums -it's better than "nothing", but I would see it more as an info. gathering/research than actual therapy.

Rainfield,
Yes, I was prepared for the long comments, and waited a long time with this post, so I would already have a number of people trusting me.
You live in Malaysia, right? Do they have psychologists there?

In China, I know it's a very new thing, and most people do not know that it is the research and treatment of the psyche (soul, emotions).

Jo said...

Very interesting! A couple of years ago I went to see a counsellor / therapist for a few weeks regarding a problem I was having with a family member. The counsellor helped me immensely and I will always be grateful to her for that. In fact, she helped me much more than I anticipated, and I often draw on some of her advice still when I am confused about things.

There should be a special place in Heaven for you folks who help other people through the rough spots in their lives.

Your office is lovely. I would feel very relaxed there.

Floss said...

Thanks so much for your advice. Yes, at the end of our first session (prescribed by the doctor) I told the psychologist that this was our goal in bringing our son. He looked rather astonished (I believe French psychology is very Freudian, and the French education system is also very rigid) but he knows what we hope for. I don't yet know if he agrees with us, but I will do as you suggest if I find we're not getting straight answers from him. Thanks for taking the time to reply to all your commenters!

Heather said...

Hi,

My name is Heather Jones and I am the assistant editor of Epsychologist.org. I am contacting you today in hopes of developing a relationship with your website; we have seen your site and think your content is great. Epsychologist.org offer a free informational resource to both the general and professional public on several issues.

I hope you show some interest in building relationship, please contact me at heather.epsycholosgist.org@gmail.com.

Dick said...

That's very interesting, thanks for sharing. The things you've mentioned are not a shame at all but often people who have never had one of those things make you feel like that. It's better to have a broken leg or something like that because it's easier to talk about and I don't mean for the patient.
It's horrible to have a depression or something like that.

jeannette stgermain said...

Dick,
With depression as for many other diseases and conditions/situations, the road of health and healing is made easier when there are people around us who do not think they have all the answers! Support and empathy does a whole lot of good!

Stine in Ontario said...

Your work sounds fascinating And you are also a talented artist!

jeannette stgermain said...

Jo,
sorry I went out of sequence:)
Glad that you had a positive experience in a similar office! Yes, it's great when we have someone to confide in and who is a neutral person.

Don't you know there IS a special place in heaven for the psychologists? It's called "The Counselor's Office", and you know who my Boss is:)
Thank you!- my office is not gigantic, but that's good, so I can't too much stuff in there!


Floss,
You're welcome - I love solving problems for people. Yes, true,in most of Western Europe, Freudian-related therapy still reigns. That's the reason why I went to get my doc. training here in the States, because the Freudian way of seeing things I somehow could not combine with my faith.

jeannette stgermain said...

Stine,
Thank you, so that sets me up perfectly for art therapy:) which I wish I could have done more of -but I was too busy with making a living and with my kids to do extra things on the side...

Natural Moments said...

Everyone tells a story, but one of the main problems is that we believe the story so much that we have a hard time letting it go. The story then controls us. If one can learn to shift key symbols from a negative stance to a positive stance, then how one see's the world and experiences it totally changes.

Words have tone or vibration to it. If we raise the vibration or the bar to all of our thoughts and feelings, then they take us a liberating journey through life. We then want to feel what there is to be felt in this one moment, instead of repressing that which comes to mind. If one learns to invite exactly what one wishes, instead of leaving it up to fate, one then finds the door to their destiny.

Beth Niquette said...

What an extraordinary person you are! You are an inspiration.

jeannette stgermain said...

Natural Moments,
Often people need help from outside to shift from a negative to a positive stance.
I had to think a bit about your sentence "if one invite what one wishes, instead of leaving it up to fate, one often finds the door to destiny."
The common western worldview is not to be fatalistic, but very many people do not know their potential, and others have to point it out to them and give them strategies how to apply their new found freedom. That's where I come in...

Beth,
Just passing on the inspiration that others and my heavenly father has given me:) I feel privileged!

Dina said...

This is a good inside view. Thanks for it.

And thanks for your questions today about the altitude and climate. I tried to explain it, realizing that I never had before.

jeannette stgermain said...

Dina,
Thank you! I'll go to your blog to read it:)

matthew houskeeper said...

You haven't been analyzing us over the internet,..have you?

I must have missed some of your posts, because I had no idea you are a therapist. I would have guessed that you didn't work. I can only imagine what else I have
incorrectly assumed about you. ;)

jeannette stgermain said...

Matthew,
I mentioned it a couple of times n replies to comments, but never actually wrote a post about it.
I purposefully waited for some time with it, knowing that some people might be intimidated (if they would not know me).
Therapists can't talk about their work, because it's confidential - maybe that's why I gave the impression that I don't work:)