Thursday, August 16, 2018

Don't Cut Class

All things considered, we are not running out of instances of ineptitude from the psycho world. This blog has scrupulously chronicled the bad therapeutic advice that floats through the media.

That does not mean that it's all bad. Serious psychologists, those who want to help their patients, are offering cognitive behavioral treatment and coaching. Anything else is seriously unserious.

Today, we find some excellent advice, coupled with equally excellent analysis, from a Los Angeles therapist, by name of Jennifer Taitz.

Addressing herself to college students, Taitz offers some simple but valuable advice: don’t cut classes. At a time when college students are flocking to mental health centers, this advice might not seem to be as brilliant as I think it is. But, if these students are suffering from a species of anomie, if they feel isolated and disconnected, what better way to take a consequential step in the right direction than: by attending class.

You have probably not thought about it, but Taitz has. She explains the value of attending classes in the Wall Street Journal this morning:

Cutting class also entails health risks. Getting up for lectures each day will help you cultivate good sleep habits, since one way to treat or prevent insomnia is to maintain a set wake time. If you stow your smartphone and mindfully participate, not only will you actually learn, but you may find yourself less stressed than when passively scrolling through social media or frenetically texting. Your British literature discussion may prove a nice distraction from ruminating about your relationships. And sitting in a room full of people you have something in common with is an opportunity to create meaningful connections and feel less alone.

If you assume sticking to your schedule feels forced—especially if you’re tired, hung over or behind on assignments—go anyway! Behavioral activation, or sticking to a meaningful plan independent of your mood, is as effective in treating depression as medication. Even when you don’t feel captivated by your required courses, arriving with your eyes up will help you live better and prevent the panic and sadness that are bound to torment you if you fall behind or isolate. After you commit to going to class, if your mind comes up with an excuse not to go, see that as mental spam, not a sensible plan.

Even if your college years are behind you, the same advice applies if you have a hard time getting going with your commitments. And if you need help with any of the above, find a therapist to help. But first, make a commitment to embark on your adult life as someone who shows up.

Yes, indeed. Show up. Be on time. Organize your life. Share a common experience. Connect with your fellow students. Participate. You will, feel less alone. And you will need less medication.

If, perchance, you do need a therapist opt for someone who understands these basic points. Such therapists are probably in the minority, but they do exist.


Anonymous said...

Adm. McRaven's (seal) book "Make Your Bed" starts with this premise and has pithy advice in a very short and readable volume.

parent said...

Adm. McRaven just stepped on his own ?ick. Puts down P. Trump after budget deal restoring the US military.....Guess it is true that above Coln. are political ranks. Yeah ok you are a BO Admiral, still a ?ick