Session In Progress: Five Stories About Therapy

My therapist hasn’t called me back. Let me clarify: my potential therapist. I read her LinkedIn profile. I read her website. I tried to find her Facebook page. I left a voicemail on the office phone number. And then I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize, but it sounded like a butt-dial, so I don’t think it was her. But still, that was two months ago. “Just call her back!” you say. Hmm, no, I don’t think so, because what if the butt-dial was her way—subconscious or no—of rejecting me? Like I said: I need therapy. So do the folks included in this week’s reading list. We’re going all over the world: from improv classes, hospitals and living rooms in Belgium, New York City and Minnesota.

1. The Town of Geel

“Psychiatric Community Care: Belgian Town Sets Gold Standard.” (Karin Wells, CBC News, March 2014)

“The Geel Question.” (Mike Jay, Aeon, January 2014)

Since the Middle Ages, Geel has been a safe haven for the mentally ill. Now, its numbers are dwindling. Will this beacon of family-based psychiatric care survive?

2. Aviophobia

“How I Got the Fear of Flying Scared Out of Me.” (Katie Heaney, BuzzFeed, June 2013)

Katie Heaney places her (virtual) life in the hands of two PhD students and an airplane seat.

3. Staying Alive

“The Therapist Who Saved My Life.” (Ella Wilson, Literary Hub, May 2015)

After several suicide attempts, a rigamarole of diagnoses and a litany of prescriptions, Ella Wilson wanted to give up. Then, she met the woman who made her feel like a part of the universe.

4. Smile, Though Your Heart is Breaking

“Therapy & Comedy: A Match Made in Depression.” (Meghan Ross, Femsplain, January 2015)

Improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade gave Meghan Ross a break from the doldrums of depression.

5. Shock Talk

“How To Go Crazy: Electroshock, Beautiful Minds, and That Nasty Pit of Snakes.” (Tara Ison, February 2015, The Manifest-Station)

In this gripping excerpt from Ilson’s book, Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love and Die at the Movies, the author shares her preoccupation with electroshock therapy, the flimsiness of family ties, and the line between misunderstood and mentally ill.