I suppose its a bit cold in Poland at the moment being winter and all.
You stated: “And having read this blog entry I ask myself: isn't it supposed that we have problems, overcome it, and the therapist helps us not only with the immediate relief but also should give us a "fishing rod" so we can deal with our future problems without repeatedly going to the therapist. And your entry suggests that it's the opposite - I have my therapist and my children will have problems so they will have to go to the guy like me? Isn't it that I, being experienced and kind enlightened, can help my children (I mean in most typical situations, of course I don't cover extreme traumas here) to cope with their every day struggle on their own?
What do you think?”
This started out as a response to your comment but became longer so I made it a post
You make a good point about therapy and fishing rods. I have a number of responses to it.
The majority of my clients I would see for less than ten sessions. Most come with some difficulty and want it fixed up and then they leave satisfied to varying degrees. This probably fits with what you presented as your understanding of the therapeutic process.
However regarding fishing rods I disagree with you to some extent. My personal view is that it is a sign of psychological health to have a therapist (unofficial or official) in your life from birth to death. That is someone whom you can go to, to emotionally unload when need be, be kind of a mentor or confidant.
For most people in adulthood this would usually a be a partner or perhaps a close friend or relative. To have a dependency on this person in this way to some degree and thus to have completely your own fishing rod in my view is a retrograde way to live life.
This confidant is what I see as an unofficial therapist. That is they fulfil some of the functions that an official therapist does. For most people this works OK but it has some potential pitfalls. It is most important for a husband to remain a husband and not become a surrogate therapist to a wife, as that will quickly kill a marriage. So a wife can confide in him and emotionally unload with him but only a little bit such that he remains a husband and does not become the wife’s therapist.
When friends and partners advise each other they will always have an agenda of their own.
Also when someone seeks me out for counsel I have no other relationship to them so I do not have any other agenda. If a wife seeks advice (counsel) from her husband then his advice may be tarnished by his own agenda in that he will advise her to do what suits him also. If a wife is having difficulty in her relationship with her mother the husband’s advice maybe for her to withdraw from her mother but that can be partly due to his own dislike of his mother in law rather than what is best for his wife. He has a conflict of interest and that will influence his counsel to his wife even if he is trying to avoid such a thing. With an official therapist this does not (or at least should not) occur.
Also there is the confidentiality issue and a therapist is far less likely to gossip than a friend or spouse will about your inner thoughts and feelings you have disclosed to them. For most however these are minor complications and their unofficial therapist will suffice. For others they may have access to an official therapist who they feel comfortable with and thus they are used in that role as some may use a spouse to be a confidant or sounding board.
Sometimes in the psychotherapy or counselling subculture to have a therapist is like having a fashion accessory. It is the acceptable behaviour in that subculture and thus some people can seek counselling partly for these reasons such that they feel like they fit into their subgroup in society. People like Dr Phil have made a significant contribution to this development in attitude in some societies. He has made it trendy to have a therapist.
Sometimes people come from backgrounds that were very dysfunctional and thus the giving of a fishing rod to the client becomes a much more difficult and protracted process. Some times the problems resulting from their early life have left scars on the person’s very core or sense of who they are. It takes time, sometimes a very long time to assist the person to reduce such scars and the effect they have in their day to day life. Realistically very few of them will ever really get their own rod in a fully substantial way.