Like all writers I have to accept that fact that not everyone will appreciate my work. And I don’t mind the negative comments about my style of writing or even the content itself. Even though it’s one of the few sciences that is accessible to everyone and is something to which we can all relate, psychology isn’t appealing to every person who comes across the site:
“This is supposed to be entertaining?”
“Am I supposed to be laughing when you argue with a patient over the pronunciation of the word leaf?”
“Note to writer: psychology isn’t funny. This is some kind of unfunny joke, right?”
Some have been a bit more adamant of their disdain for the field:
“You’re actually publicly admitting you are a Psychologist? Psychology is a fucking pseudoscience and you’re a fucking quack cunt. Go and steal money from the needy and sell your shoddy fucking goods and psychobabble elsewhere you fucking cunt. I hope you get gang raped…”
“You’re no psychologist, and you’re certainly no different from the rest of the idiots on the internet. You’re about as introspective as a grain of rice.”
“…It [psychology] is a fucking load of quackery and it never achieved a thing but filling the world with neurotic assholes who spout psychobabble and waste their lives.”
“…you claim to be an expert on the mind…you don’t have a fucking clue I really hope you’ll be killed. You won’t be mourned.”
I can name at least two or three people who would mourn me so at least get your facts straight before writing about me.
What is unacceptable, however, is when people question my ethics, stating that I’m violating confidentiality. This is patentaly false. I have a Disclaimer, but more importantly I go to great lengths to protect every client involved on my site. Pick up a psychology textbook with case studies in them. Where do those vignettes come from? They aren’t made up. They come from clinical experience, as do my stories. Just because I’m not writing an undergraduate textbook doesn’t make me unprofessional or unethical.
A second downside of the site is having to deal with colleagues who don’t like reading anything about shrinks that paint them in a negative light. Dr. Pete and Dr. John love reading about themselves and can’t get enough because they can have a good laugh at their quirks. They are the exception, however. Dr. Jane stopped talking to me immediately upon reading my material and Dr. Allison refuses to have any conversations with me that aren’t about the weather. “I’m just afraid that you’ll write contumelious diatribes about me if I let you into my world,” she said. Not knowing what ‘contumelious’ meant I had no counterargument. And Dr. Steve? I’m just glad he doesn’t use the internet much, otherwise there would probably be hell to pay.
The worst side effect of ShrinkTalk, however, was being forced to choose between writing and my job at Dr. Gail’s practice. When I told her that I’d be working with Tucker Max’s company she frowned upon it. That is to say that she blew a gasket and wouldn’t allow it. The reality is that I can’t blame her. She has a very upscale practice. Clients are sometimes curious. They’ll Google you, research you. We all know that Tucker Max has a very strong voice and being connected to that won’t fly with some highly conservative people. Gail has a business to run, needs to make a living and has every right to see ShrinkTalk as not in her best interests. We parted as good friends and hopefully it stays that way. Unfortunately that job was a significant source of my income and, while I don’t consider myself a starving artist, losing that gig was a major blow to my financial situation. A wise man once told me that writing needs to be a labor of love and not about money. I learned that firsthand from this site.
So what now? Well, I went to a Bible study class recently – I’m exploring alternatives to my current Agnosticism – and the Pastor there said that Jesus’ message will keep coming, inexorably, unrelenting and unyielding, until it reaches everyone. Then the class ended so I didn’t get to hear what that message actually was but it made me think about my own goals. I may lose friends, colleagues, even clients who read my material and don’t approve, but I believe the objectives I described are important and I’m not stopping. Until I’m sure that I will not impact one more person I’ll keep writing. Unless I run out of things to say. Then I’ll stop and learn to play piano or something.
Thank you to everyone who generates the material for this site. That means colleagues, teachers, researchers and, most importantly, the people who seek out help when they need it: the clients. And, of course, thanks to you, the reader. Without you these stories would end up as countless, protracted emails to my mother. She definitely wouldn’t want that.