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The Therapeutic Package: My Treatment Continued

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Early on my psychiatrist informed me that she and I were allies in the process of my therapy. One day she drew stick figures to illustrate our relationship; in one drawing there was a large figure and a much smaller one, and in the other drawing the figures were the same size. She told me that she represented the large figure in the first drawing, and in the second one she was one of the equal sized figures.

Which character did I identify with, she asked. Was it the tiny one in the first drawing, or the equal one in the second? I answered that it was the second one. Dr. Romero then proceeded to draw what looked like a ball of yarn between the equal figures, our respective stick arms attached to it. That ball was the therapeutic package.

The meaning of that package was that we were going to work on my problems together. I was not alone in this struggle. We were allies in this therapy. She would not be the big, dominant figure lording it over me.

I felt a little surprised and relieved at the same time-- I certainly liked the idea of having my therapist as my ally.

Apparently she had been schooled in the dismal fact that people with mental disorders often times feel very much alone in their struggles.

I had let trusted people know about my disorder because I do not feel that it is shameful, although it is not something that you would impart to the majority of people because there is a stigma attached to mental problems or disorders. The significant people who knew and know about my obsessive compulsive disorder are sympathetic and it goes a long way.

A psychiatrist is a trained professional and has to listen to your every weird little thing and cannot judge you. It is really good because in time you find that you are not hesitant to say anything.

Ever since Dr. Romero brought up the notion of the therapeutic package, she would occasionally remind me (and still does), that we are working together on my problems.

I’m not alone.

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That's really cool that your psych took the time to explicitly say that you are equals. My therapist tells me that he's teaching me to be my own therapist, and that on a human level he has nothing on me. He knows a lot about OCD, and he shares that knowledge with me, but he respects that I am most familiar with my own life.

April 2, 2010 - 9:07am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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