The Psychologist

This article by Charlotte Beale has been published by Mad in the UK It begins:

“One day, after very many preceding days, I decided to stop functioning. I lay in my mother’s bed, which was sodden with hours of tears, and decided to take leave of life. There’s a bit of the brain that scientists call executive functioning, which I think refers to making decisions, and acting on desires, and planning ahead. Well, I did my best to turn it off. I chose to have what my mother called a breakdown. I decided to check out because it was the only way I could make my family realise I needed different help. And I needed the peace of surrendering autonomy. I needed not to think about what to eat, or wear, or do with my day, or what happened yesterday, or two years ago.  

But that’s not the whole story. Six weeks earlier, I had started seeing a psychologist. I had been unhappy for years. And then, at 18, in Australia, I was raped. I managed to push it down somewhere deep inside, but when I started university, my centre couldn’t hold. I knew something was breaking. So my mother tracked down the psychologist I had seen briefly in my last year at school, and arranged an appointment with his colleague in London.  

Before we met, I emailed him, saying I needed to talk about the past.  

He replied: 

If you wanted to look at your family history, we could adopt a Schema Focus Therapy approach, which takes all the best bits of CBT but uses them to understand a person’s development through childhood/parenting/experiences. You can get a feel for this approach at It’s a more modern approach than psychoanalysis, which involves a long-term commitment and some very different ways of working.  

In our first session, he gave me a 12-page questionnaire. It asked me to answer 205 questions, with a score from 1 to 6. 1 meant completely untrue of me, while 6 describes me perfectly. There were further instructions …”

You can read more from here.

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