A man walks into a psychiatrist’s office. “Doc, I keep making bad decisions, drawing unnecessary trouble into my life.  I think it’s my childhood that messed me up.  Can you help?”    “We can try,” says the doctor.

Week after week he returns, tells his story, spends more on his therapy than on his mortgage.  Sometimes he feels better, sometimes he finds he is shooting himself in the foot, no different than before.  Still, he returns for the sake of following through, to give the process a chance.

For two years he works with the therapist.  One day, he asks a question, and the doctor hesitates too long, responds incoherently.  There is an embarrassed pause, then the man is incensed.  “What the hell have you done for me in all this time?  I’m doing all the work here.  I don’t need you—I can take care of myself!”

He storms out of the office, determined to make a point.  He makes some decisions he has been putting off for a long time, pulls his life together, feels more empowered and more encouraged than he has in a long while.

What do you think — did he get his money’s worth?

— Josh Mitteldorf

If you can get from A to C without going through B, then more power to you!


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