“Oh, you are going to read my mind!”
When people meet me for the first time and ask what I do, I say, “I am a psychologist.” And they reply, “Oh, you are going to read my mind!” Some people squeal when they say that. Others wriggle most uncomfortably.
Depending on my mood, I say “No, I only do that when I get paid. Or if I am feeling mean, “Is there anything to read?”
Both are true. This is my work. I am certainly not going to do it when I don’t get paid! And our minds aren’t readable. There is nothing in our heads but a jumble.
“No, but I’d be interested to know what is in there!”
Thankfully, the jumble is quite interesting and I will enjoy listening to you. What is the story you tell? Where have you come from and where are you going to? What is bothering you right now? How does the decision that you have to make today disrupt your story?
I want to know your frontier
When we are living on the frontier, we have lots of serious decisions to make. They worry us deeply because somehow they don’t fit with the usual story we tell.
I’m glad you are on a frontier. That means you are alive. That means you are interesting. You don’t feel it because at this moment, you are a little jumpy because you think you might have gone one frontier too far!
Have you? Or does living fully mean that we have times when we wonder a little?
The 5 reasons you might talk to a psychologist are these
Dispassionate listening post
- We will listen. We aren’t a paid friend. We are a sounding board. You need a neutral sounding board because your decision is big. Your friends can’t help you because they have a vested interest in your decision. When you consult them, you are negotiating.! Your psychologist doesn’t negotiate with you ~ except for their fee rate.
You pay (!:)) and you have someone who is a neutral interface between you and the world.
Space to hear yourself think
- We will listen even when you are being a little tedious. It’s not that we are super-patient. There are times when we will push you too. It’s just the tedious parts are the parts where you are stuck. You have to hear yourself out loud to hear what you are saying. You don’t hear yourself when you talk to friends because you are are talking with them. What you are repeating is partly what they want to hear, yet don’t hear.
A third neutral person allows you to distinguish what you say from what your audience wants to hear.
Decide what you believe is right and wrong
- We accept that you are making a hard decision. It might seem trivial to someone else but the decision is hard because it affects your story. This decision affects who you. We know that you are debating what is right and wrong and what is worth doing and what it not. This is a deeply moral decision. It shocks us to make moral decisions.
We’ll stand by you until you get it right. You will be the light of your own path.
Take first steps with some careful experimentation
- We know that nothing is real in this world until you do it in the world. We will encourage you to act. Talking therapies have their limits. Until you try out what you are doing in the real world, it means nothing.
We’ll help you define small experiments you can make to move you forward
Get the information you need to make a good decision
- We’ve been around. We are reasonably worldly. We know that you gather information about other people’s intentions and preferences, about facilities available to you, about resources you need. We’ll even help you do this because we may have quick internet searches and templates set up already or easily adapted from another project elsewhere.
We will help you go to the source and find out what you need to know. We will prefer you to do the fetching though because action is what gets you moving along a path to a decision.
How do you find a psychologist?
I would like to say it is easy. I’ve tried in strange towns and it was incredibly difficult. I’m afraid if you don’t know a psychology, and there aren’t that many, then they are hard to find.
I’ve been in UK for 2 years now and I know a range of people in my field.
I am a work psychologist
The decisions I specialize in are all to do with work. What work should we do? Who should we work with? How can we work together profitably? Are we getting the best out of a working arrangement, or could we get more? Am I languishing and where could I flourish?
Most of the people I work with are not looking for a psychologist. I could swing from the rafters for all they care!
People who ask me to work with them have a specific issue they want resolved. They know they are at a fork in a journey. It’s not life threatening but they have a feeling that they want to get this one right. They want someone who will pay attention, meet them on their own territory, and help them separate an issue into parts so they can make up their own minds what to do. They also want information from other sources and advice on how to lay out their decision on a piece of paper or on a computer screen so they can think clearly.
Fast but thoughtful
They usually want to work fast and are impatient at diversions. Sometimes we have to persuade them to slow down. Sometimes we have to persuade them to “do some work” on thinking this decision through.
External facing and business oriented
Though they are making a big decision, it becomes fairly impersonal pretty fast. Their work is a business and they want to run it well. Taking time to stop and ask whether you are going in the right direction for them is pretty important. They are only stopping briefly to clear their head and set up some priorities.
Frontiers are there to be conquered!
So, nope. It’s not your mind that interests me. It is your frontiers. And the incredibly interesting story of how you choose them and set out to conquer them.
Sometimes I’ll ask you whether it would be better to speed up. Other times I’ll ask whether it will be better to slow down. But you will never be boring!
The first part of your post is so true! I had a friend is a psychologist and we always joke about his mind reading super powers. It seems to be a psychologist, people think you are some kind of super human.