Blog-Buddies, here is our chance to continue an interview about Energy Spirituality, psychological healing, cutting cords of attachment, and other topics related to deeper perception. Arlene, the Groovy Psychiatrist, has superb knowledge about all that I teach.
She is also, of course, a psychiatrist. (Although “Arlene” is not her real name… and Arlene as a name would never, ever do well in Soul Thrill Name Realignment Research for this particular person, I am quite sure. ;-))
Thanks to the Blog-Buddy who volunteered to transcribe this interview! You can read the earlier segment of our Interview about Psychiatry and Energy Spirituality here. And the original set of questions can be found in an earlier contest about psychological healing and spiritual healing.
Rose: Welcome back, Arlene the Groovy Psychiatrist. And this is Rose Rosetree as well. We’re going to continue our conversation generated by a contest where people at my blog, Deeper Perception Made Practical, sent their heartfelt questions to you, as someone who knows both about psychiatry and also knows an awful lot about Energy Spirituality. Anything you want to say as we sail into Part Two of this conversation?
Arlene: I was thinking about the last question because we both know an Enlightened psychiatrist who is involved in addiction work, and so if you were struggling with that, to find someone like her would be a really good thing on the path of recovery because she would probably help you with a lot of other things in your life besides the addiction alone.
Rose: And addiction is seldom really just an addiction, right?
The nature of addiction
Arlene: I truly believe that. In my observation, addiction is usually just one part of a many-pronged issue. And so I think that a lot of other issues get addressed when the addiction itself comes to attention.
Because it’s almost like its representing, or standing in as sort of a symbol for, a lot of other things that are usually also going wrong. So I think that an enlightened psychiatrist can really help with not just the addiction itself, but all the things that are connected with it.
Rose: Yes, that makes so much sense. Of course, one thing that a person can do in seeking out a psychiatrist or other practitioner with a high state of consciousness is to get a photograph of that person, often available these days on the Internet, Facebook, Google images or wherever, and then do an in-depth aura reading of that person.
If it looks promising, maybe even do a skilled empath merge, or have someone do research for you (someone like me for instance). I’ve helped people learn about what the people are like: Their integrity, how they handle power, etc. It can be quite interesting. So there are ways that deeper perception can be a substitute for the trial-and-error approach.
You know, the other thing you were just saying about addictions — I learn things all the time about myself and people.
I’d say one of the main themes that I’ve been learning in this year 2011, is the extent to which so many people either have an addiction, whether it’s to marijuana or cigarettes or over-eating or sex, which is no euphemistically called a “love addiction,” or belong to cults. Also, so many people are just walking around half asleep.
I wonder if you have noticed something similar, as people wake up more — and that would include me waking up more, and maybe your waking up more. It’s very interesting how there’s more free will, there’s more clarity of perception, and there’s more of a natural high.
Changes related to 2012?
Arlene: I have noticed that. It’s sort of interesting to see, you know, you’ve had discussions on your blog and I’m sure the bloggers are aware, you know there’s a lot of discussion about the Mayan calendar, and then I think not that long ago there was this discussion around the end of the world, and not the apocalypse, but something around the souls leaving the earth.
And I think that these kinds of discussions create a lot of different effects on people. Some people, like the bloggers, probably experience that they’re becoming more and more awake, and it feels really good for them. But others may experience it as, it may agitate them or make them anxious. And certainly conversations about the end of the world tend to make people feel anxious and worried.
Rose: That’s probably a good thing!! (Laughter)
Arlene: And maybe react by trying to suppress their anxiety through addiction, through obsessive-compulsive behavior, through denial, or repression, or any number of ways that we all try to deal with difficulties in our lives; we all react in different ways.
So that’s what I see more of, many more different ways of people reacting to the circumstances around them. Certainly right now politically also, even if someone were not spiritually awake at all, it would be hard not to notice that politically, in America right now, these are some interesting times, and we’re going through a lot.
Rose: Well now, speaking of coping with interesting times and difficulties, I’m going to scamper over to Comment #7, which happens to be from me. And, here the heart of my comment goes like this:
You are familiar with the term “energetic subroutine,” which is about ways that a person can unintentionally use one part of an aura to do the work of another part of an aura.
I give the example in my comment of a chakra databank at the Third Eye Chakra about seeking psychic guidance. This chakra databank winds up doing the work of a part of an aura like the Heart Chakra Databank for Emotional Self-Awareness. I wanted to know if there’s an equivalent concept in psychiatry.
Just to restate it one more time, because not all of you who are listening to this part of our conversation about psychiatry and energy spirituality are familiar, perhaps, with the term energetic subroutine. Let’s talk about Gladys or Joe. Say that Gladys has been very earnestly seeking psychic guidance because she’s been told that this is the root to spirituality, and certainly this is very big in new age circles, in psychic teachings, in mediumship teachings, in channeling teachings, the idea that psychic guidance is the highest, bestest way of making choices in life and getting information.
I’ve had many clients like Gladys who have parts of her aura that are really not working, like the ability to have her own emotions, or make contact with objective reality. That’s what I mean by an energetic subroutine.
It’s almost like outsourcing to India, when you don’t live in India. So, is there an equivalent concept in psychiatry, and if so, how is a problem like that treated?
Arlene: So in psychiatry, they would probably call that a defense mechanism. For example, a defense mechanism would be intellectualizing a problem, like what you were talking about with an energetic subroutine of not experiencing your own emotions.
So lets say a client comes in and clearly he is upset about a breakup. But rather than expressing his emotions about it, he intellectualizes it. That would be a defense mechanism.
One way to treat it would be through therapy, pointing it out to the person: “Do you notice that, in difficult situations, you try not to experience your emotions and instead you intellectualize them?” I might try to help the person reach some insight about that.
And then he might say “Yes, I realize this is a problem for me, like when I lost my job, rather than feeling bad about it I intellectualized it.” Then I could help him try to change those patterns of behavior.
So that’s how psychiatrists or psychologists would typically approach that. There are other defense mechanisms too, but that would just be one example.
Detachment and boundaries in the therapeutic process
Rose: That’s such a great example. Thank you. And now, continuing on, another question here. I must admit, I put a bunch of questions in here. So here’s another one from me.
When I think of the healer’s role in psychiatry, I think of someone who is very vigilant to not allow personal feelings, thoughts, or reactions show to a client. I think of the psychiatrist who has a patient lie on a couch, the kind of practitioner my mother went to, actually, back in the 1950s, some four days a week. Do contemporary psychiatrists have a similar obligation to blank out their personas when dealing with patients?
Arlene: I laughed when I read this question. So what you’re describing is analysis, or psychoanalysis, which was in its heyday in the first half of the 1900’s, probably up until the 1950’s, maybe the 1960’s, and there have been good articles about it recently in the past year in the “New Yorker” magazine, the history of analysis. I would say that psychiatrists, in this day and age, like in 2011, don’t tend to blank out their emotions as much as when Freud was alive, that was the model that he presented. But what we are expected to do is to maintain neutrality, or to be neutral.
So, we may have a client that we really don’t like, but we still have to act in that client’s best interest, and so we are expected not to show that we don’t like that person. Similarly, we may have someone we really like, or are even attracted to, and we would definitely also be expected to maintain neutrality in that situation.
One thing that I find so fascinating about psychiatry is because it has such an interesting history.
People have different views of psychiatry depending on if their view of psychiatry is a snapshot from 1920, or from 1960, or from 2000, or from 2011.
And people’s experience of the field is so different, and has been different, depending on how they’ve interfaced with the various people in field or the various systems in the field. I think that’s why people have so many conflicting views of the field.
Rose: Well that’s fascinating. You know, it is intriguing to me to hear you talk about the responsibility of a psychiatrist to be neutral when working with patients or clients that are liked or not liked. I know one of the luxuries I have in my work with clients is that if I have a client I don’t feel I’m connecting with well, or someone I really don’t feel I can help, I get to terminate the session. I often would do it in the very first session, cause I can tell pretty fast. Or sometimes I will recommend after a few sessions that a client not work with me any longer, because I don’t feel as though I’m really helping that client, and I don’t want to just put in the time.
As somebody who’s working now, you think when you’re finished with your residency, you would afford yourself such a luxury, or is there a different kind of ethical, or just some other, criterion that’s used?
Arlene: That’s a really interesting question. So, when a psychiatrist enters into private practice, he or she can set up their private practice anyway they would like, and so usually at the first appointment you set out the guidelines for you practice.
A practical one might be, if you don’t call and cancel your appointment 48 hours in advance, you’ll be charged the full amount for the session. As a trainee, I don’t have the luxury of saying to someone in the middle of an intake appointment “I don’t think I can help you, so I’m going to stop the interview.”
But we do have guidelines at the clinic, guidelines I did not create. If a patient misses a certain number of sessions, they get a letter, and if they don’t respond to that letter, usually within a month is the standard practice, then their chart will be closed.
Patients can be fired. For example, if a patient were to show up and physically threaten any physician in the clinic, that would be automatic grounds for dismissal from the clinic.
So there are guidelines like that. But if you’re a solo private practitioner or if you’re in a group, the group can determine its guidelines and policies and what will be grounds for not continuing with someone or you can put in your own guidelines, like if I dont believe I can help you, I reserve the right to end the interview at any point. Any practitioner can set that as their criterion. But if you’re in a group practice it might be harder, but usually the group all agrees to the same guidelines; if you’re a solo practitioner you can create any guidelines you want for your own practice.
Rose: As part of the guidelines you work with at this time, how long do you continue therapy with a patient, provided that that patient can keep coming to you? Is it just that the patients decides, or do you sometimes have goals and then say, “It’s done now. You’re cooked.”
Arlene: Usually it’s a joint discussion. Usually at the start of therapy, the patient has some goals, and so usually you try to work to meet those goals. There are forms of therapy that are time-limited, that are specifically time-limited and are designed to be that way, so they will end at 20 sessions, or 8 sessions, or 15 sessions, so that no matter what happens, session number 15 comes and the therapy is ended, it was designed to end that way.
Analysis typically is the most intensive form of therapy, and people can be in analysis for years, and it tends to be a little bit more open-ended, but I definitely think that therapy is a collaborative process between the therapist and the client, at least in 2011 as I understand it. I think it may have been less collaborative in the past, you know where maybe the therapist had more power or more decision-making power, but usually it’s a joint process.
Rose: Well thank you. Now, here’s a related question, but I’m going to save it for Part 3. So is there anything you want to say to finish wrapping up Part 2 of our conversation before we go jaunting on to Part 3?
Arlene: No, it’s an interesting set of questions.
Rose: Thank you. It’s sure an interesting set of answers! Back soon.
Part 3 of Interview: Arlene, The Groovy Psychiatrist and Rose Rosetree, Founder of Energy Spirituality
Rose: It is a continued conversation with Arlene, the groovy psychiatrist (as youre known here), and Rose Rosetree, the representative of Energy Spirituality. As we continue to talk about the relationship between these fields and how people grow and heal, I thought it would be good to go over to Comment #22 from JANE. She said:
Do you think more people are turning to spiritual healers in this day and age than ever before, in conjunction with the help theyre getting from their psychiatrist? Are a lot of patients you meet open to trying non-traditional methods of healing?
Arlene: I dont know if more people are turning to spiritual healers than before, because there have always been people who have turned towards the pastors or ministers or people at church, so I dont know of any studies where there would be data about that. But I do think there are people who are definitely using both modalities, spiritual healing and psychological healing, and utilizing psychiatrists as well.
Rose: Well, do you think, and this is continuing on with Janes question here, is it likely this demand from consumers will put pressure on doctors to recognize mind-body-spirit forms of healing as legitimate, and to entertain it as options in healing that work for many people?
Arlene: I remember reading that question and not knowing how to answer it, in part because Im not sure that I know the answer to that question. Its usually the clients who determine what sort of healer they would like to utilize, and not the practitioner who directs which healers the patient is interested in calling upon.
Some clients will talk about other healers theyve used in the past or healers theyre consulting concurrently, but we dont interfere with that process. So if they want to utilize five different healers at the same time, I usually wont know about it.
Or if I do, theres not much I would do about it. So I dont know if it would have any effect on my recognition of the fact that theyre using other modalities or not, because it might not affect whats happening between me and that person.
Rose: So you wouldnt suggest that somebody talk to you or let you know while youre in an ongoing relationship? The reason that Im asking is that one of the guidelines I have with new clients is that I ask some questions at the beginning, and one them is if the person is in therapy.
If the person is in therapy, doing any kind of work with a mental health professional, I ask that client to get a kind of permission or consent from that therapist. Because, to me, its a very important primary helping relationship long-term, and I want to make sure that the practitioner doesnt feel that theres a conflict.
Arlene: Oh, I see. We do ask if the patient is seeing a counselor or therapist. And part of the reason why we ask that is that if we have to coordinate care, its helpful for us to know who that person is. We would also, generally, need a medical release to be able to communicate with that person if we would like to coordinate care.
But usually, we dont ask, “Are you also consulting an acupuncturist? Are you also consulting your pastor? Are you also consulting a hypnotist?” Those questions are not a standard part of the interview process, generally. Some practitioners may ask about it, but we dont at our clinic. I do ask them who their primary care provider is, again to coordinate care, but I dont usually ask, “Are you also seeking other modalities of healing besides the use of psychiatry?”
Rose: Well, that makes sense because the setting in which youre working as a psychiatry resident is, as you say, a clinic. And so am I correct that means more short-term relationships with your clients, rather than long-term relationships with them?
Arlene: Sometimes we have long-term relationships with them, but it tends to be a much more biomedical approach because were attached to an academic medical center. We do offer counseling services as well, but usually people wont access our clinic for only counseling and not any medication management. It can happen, but I have yet to see it happen.
Does it help to analyze experiences outside of therapy?
Rose: Here comes a question related to Gladys, who sees a psychiatrist four days a week. Something interesting was discussed in our recent session. This is a Rose question that got on to this.
Gladys has a very ingrained habit after all her years of therapy, where she stops many times in the course of a day and thinks about an incident that just happened. Gladys then tries to analyze what in the past is related, and might be a pattern. Is this really a productive thing to do outside of therapy? With my perspective from Energy Spirituality, I would say “No.” Whereas Gladys had assumed this was helping her to progress. Im wondering about your view on that.
Arlene: I personally dont think its productive, but I cant speak for all psychiatrists, I can only speak for my only personal experience. I dont think its very productive to do that.
Arlene: For one thing, I think, you know, part of life is actually living it.
Rose: Youre kidding!
Arlene: Even psychiatrists, we participate in the grand scheme of life like everyone else. I think that to constantly sort of stop the process of experiencing life and living it by analyzing it, or attempting to analyze it, is not helpful.
I think that there are, I think youve talked about this on your blog, there are times where its good to stop and integrate experiences,. But there are times to do that, and I think that constantly trying to stop and integrate experiences multiple times throughout the day, its probably not very helpful.
It would be more helpful to live, and then save up some of those times, and then reflect on it later.
Rose: In praise of living!