People love a good advice column. Remember Dear Abby? Such great stuff. Fun fact; her daughter continues to write the column that Ms. Abigail Van Buren (who’s real name was Pauline Phillips) started in 1965.
Advice columns are everywhere and lots of them are the bomb. A personal favourite for anything work related is Ask a Manager (both as a podcast and online). Allison Green, who writes and records the podcast is or was an actual manager, responsible for hiring and firing. She’s literally an expert in her field and it shows.
Some advice columns don’t hit the mark quite so well. Either because the columnist is a journalist who may be filling in, or simply trying to make a name in journalism, or because the advice can be so generic that you don’t get much out of it. Other times, columnists miss the mark completely, either because of their own bias, or perhaps their lack of experience in working with real humans.
Since the pandemic began, we noticed that sometimes our comment section had life questions and I have greatly enjoyed answering those. Because, lets face it, not everyone can afford therapy, or even wants to commit to attending regularly. I’ve tried to stay on top of these, answering by email, while recognizing that I’ll never know the entire picture.
The questions we’ve received seem to reflect specific circumstances or issues people face on a day to day basis. At work, in their relationships, with their kids. All good stuff.
In answering a simple question, we don’t get to do the deeper digging that we would do when we work together in therapy. We don’t get to know who the asker is as a person, what they struggle with, who is in their support network, and what their personal story is. They don’t often reflect the asker’s history, personal situation, ethnicity, etc. Nor do they allow a therapist to start to recognize patterns or to dig through the big stuff in the same way.
But at the same time, answering these questions has given me a bright light of dipping a toe in a providing some advice and suggestions on a brief scale during this long (soooo loooooong) pandemic. I’ve enjoyed replying to folks anonymously and hoping that the advice (something I tend not to offer in therapy unless asked for) hits the mark. Every now and then I get to hear how things work out and I’m happy for the update.
Which is why I’m excited to announce the “Ask a Therapist” corner of this website.
Here’s what you can expect from our advice column:
- Each week, I (or one of my team) will answer a question posed to us via our comment section, emails, or in sessions (with permission to share non-identifying information from our clients.) In the interest of openness here, I’m homeschooling my two youngest so this may be less regular than I hope, but I’m aiming for weekly. (Got homeschooling questions? Just ask!)
- If you have raised a great issue in therapy with one of us that we feel others are struggling with, we’ll ask if we can share the question and answer, all while keeping your information and identity confidential.
- If you haven’t been asked by your clinician specifically if we can share, then you can be assured that it’s not you that we’re quoting. So no worries that your personal challenges or issues will ever leave our leaving our confidential bubble.
- We’ll answer questions posed on our Facebook page, from emails, in sessions (generally speaking and with consent), by filling out a comment form, or in any of the groups that we’re involved with (again with consent).
- You agree to take the advice and apply if it suits you. Or not. But you also agree not to sue us if you don’t like the answer or the outcome.
- In writing to us or asking a question, you’re agreeing to allow us to publish the issue or letter and the suggestions we may have.
- If you’d prefer to keep things private, let us know and we’ll continue to try to answer via email as best we can.
Got a sticky situation, a personal problem, or a question about how to live better? Let us know by using the comment form below and keep an eye out for the answer.
We’ll publish the situation and answer on this website.
Your name and email will not be published. Names and situations may be altered slightly to protect confidentiality. By sending us an email, you agree to be added to our email list (You can opt out anytime. Life is crazy. We just don’t want you to miss the good stuff.)