Monday, 12 July 2010

I have no dad and nobody cares about me

Just over a month after the last blog about Derrick Bird, here is another on the same theme of men's pain and isolation in Raoul Moat's final lament before he shot himself at the weekend.  He wasn't psychotic or even inarticulate - he wrote a 49 page letter. He was just deeply deeply troubled and unhappy without a good enough foundation in life. It is probably the usual story of insufficient quality mothering and lack of a father and then a life with inadequate internal resources, where too much had gone wrong. He was, like Derrick Bird, faced with a lack of real intimacy and no apparent means of getting any.

When will people realise that good therapy can help? The usual cliché that women see therapists and men see probation officers and alcohol counsellors probably applies. More support for parents, widely available support for couples, good skilled psychotherapy and above all building a culture in which men can be real and intimate and feel valued as men would stop most of the killing and much of the pain.  By good skilled psychotherapy I don't mean a few sessions of counselling with volunteers or a session with the prison chaplain but the sort of individual and group therapy which can get to the roots of psychological pain and make a fundamental difference.  Therapy has been around for well over a hundred years but in Britain it is still marginalised, misunderstood and laughed at.  I have spent some of each week for the last 20 years training therapists and counsellors.  With the new cuts in public expenditure you can be pretty sure that the military, and the pharmaceutical industry will suffer less than the tiny amount of real therapy in the NHS. As for going privately, many men spend more on drink  in a week than the weekly cost of  therapy.

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