April 2023 State of the Blog

When I started this blog, I intended it to be focused on improving one’s mental health. I had a lot to say on the subject. I am an intellectual-izer (I made that word up just now) and, once diagnosed in my twenties with Major Depression and PTSD, had made it my life’s mission to learn about the mental illnesses that plagued me and stopped me from living the life I wanted. I became an armchair expert, which I will not discount— I don’t generally think a lack of formal education makes one’s expertise invalid, after all.

But recently, in my journeys with psychodynamic therapy and actually improving from my treatment for the first time, I have realized that I don’t actually know all that much about mental health. This Beginner’s Mind (or Socratean realization that I only know that I know nothing) has helped me make strides in my recovery by reminding me not to be set in my ways. Knowledge is not necessarily wisdom, and knowing the difference between dopamine and serotonin did not make me any happier or more functional. Obviously, despite all my research, I still had a lot to learn, and I want this blog to reflect that.

From now on, this blog will be loosely themed around becoming a better person. There will still be poems and book reviews and other musings and anything I feel like publishing (tbh), but I have decided I want to take the “meat and potatoes” of the blog in a new direction. There will probably still be a lot of stuff about mental and emotional health, but I also want to write about stuff like:

  • social justice (especially transgender issues)
  • being your true, authentic self
  • learning (both formally and informally)
  • anti-capitalist ethics and leftism
  • setting and achieving goals
  • healthy masculinity and what it means to be a man
  • healthy relationships (especially polyamory)
  • getting organized (especially Bullet Journaling)

On to my credentials: I have none. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. I am not an influencer or a wildly successful business owner. I am just someone who has struggled to improve himself over the course of about 10 years.

A note on money: My job doesn’t pay all that well, but I make enough to survive. Write Mind will never involve affiliate marketing, selling ads, or upselling (beyond basic SEO to get my words seen by people who could use them). The point of Write Mind is not to make money. Any money I make will be from Patreon, in which subscribers can contribute donations freely and without coercion. If I make any resources or downloads, they will be free for anyone to use and not require an email list sign-up. If you appreciate my content and would like to be someone who helps me out, I’d love that!

If you’d like to be part of my journey, please stick around to read more!

Thoughts on Psychodynamic Therapy

I started therapy again recently.

Therapy has never done much for me, to be completely honest. I have made a lot of progress in my seven years of recovery, but it has mainly been from a combination of medication, the support and insight of other mentally ill people, and my own damned hard work. Breakthroughs, which have always been pretty rare, seemed to happen at the kitchen table or alone in my room, not with a therapist. In fact, many of my therapists have been outright disappointing and incompetent, and I spent a lot of time teaching them about their own area of expertise. I had, for a long while, accepted that therapy was not for me.

This therapist, on the other hand, is BUILT DIFFERENT. Every single week I come away with new insight that improves my life. It’s not easy going— and I spend the majority of the sessions choked up or outright crying— but it’s finally effective.

My new therapist does psychodynamic therapy, which is not a popular type of therapy. It’s based heavily on the ideas of Freud, who until recently I considered a quack. I cannot provide a thorough definition of psychodynamic therapy as I have only just begun it, but here are some bullet points from my research:

  • Psychodynamic therapy comes from Freudian psychoanalysis, but it has been continually updated and evolved since his lifetime.
  • Psychoanalysis was super intense and often involved five days a week of therapy. Psychodynamic therapy involves much less of a weekly time commitment.
  • Unlike psychoanalysis, which necessitated the stereotypical couch, psychodynamic therapy just needs two chairs for the participants. This change reflects the newer therapy’s more equal balance of power.
  • Much of the focus is on the relationship between the client and the therapist, which is seen as a reflection of other relationships.
  • It deals with repressed emotions and the subconscious, as well as psychological defenses that help us avoid unpleasant feelings and experiences.
  • Rather than focusing on quick skills that target symptoms (like CBT or DBT), this form of therapy tries to make deep, lasting changes.
  • Like many therapies, an emphasis is placed on childhood experiences and how they have shaped the client’s life.
  • Dream analysis may be used.

I don’t know if my therapist is so great because of the psychodynamic framework, or if he’s just really good at his profession. It’s probably a combination of both. He goes above and beyond when it comes to learning and perfecting his craft, and it has paid off in improvements to MY life.

If you have done psychodynamic therapy and you want to let me know how it went for you, you can comment or email me at joelsherwoodblogger@gmail.com !