Broken Pianos And All The King’s Horses

August 25, 2006

There are some things that cannot be fixed, no matter how much we wish it were so.

We cannot undo lost loves or opportunities. We can atone for our misdeeds, but we cannot undo the damage we might have caused. That is within the purview of those we have hurt.

Many people beieve that therapy is absolution of a sort and offers a ‘fresh start’ with a  painful past magicvally erased. Nothing is further from the truth. Therapy is about learning to live with oneself and learning to live with and overcome one’s limitations- and one’s own individuality. In Listening To The Music And Tuning Pianos, Dr Sanity notes,

Many people have the mistaken impression that psychiatry is an “easy” medical specialty; and I suppose it is if you don’t really care very much about the people you are seeing. Or, if you can’t be bothered to really listen and take in what they are trying to tell you.

And that’s the hard part. To do it right often means letting go to some degree of the internal boundaries we each set up that protect us and separate us from other people; opening yourself to another’s pain in a way that makes you feel it yourself. And then sharing whatever strength you have to offer to help them deal with it.

The art of therapy is to become the other person, but not to lose yourself in the process; to immerse yourself in someone else’s pain, but hold onto the objectivity and knowledge that can bring you both out of the wilderness whole.

The therapist is the lamp, deprived of a map and wandering wiith the patient, illuminating the hidden recesses- or broken pieces. The task is never easy and always takes a toll on the therapist.

Think of the brain as a beautiful, elegant, and melodious grand piano, he told me. Now imagine that someone had taken an axe to that lovely piano, chopping it into millions of tiny little pieces…

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. We are the piano repairmen of the medical world…

There are some things that medication cannot fix. Some pianos that cannot be tuned–maybe because there is a crack in the baseboard; or the materials used in construction were warped; or even that those same materials were irreversibly changed by exposure to malignant environmental factors.

Any piano repairman will also tell you that some pianos start out as lemons (just as some cars) and cannot produce the same sounds as their peers. Some are so broken that even after repair they are not much more than junk…

All the King’s horses and the King’s men, cannot fix what is shattered. Those who try, know that best of all.

Read Dr Sanity, here. Read between the lines.

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2 Responses to “Broken Pianos And All The King’s Horses”


  1. [...] Sigmund , Carl and Alfred has a excellent post up (based on a piece from Dr. Sanity) about how therapy and therapist are suppose to work. They bottom line point is that it is a tough road, one where the past consciences / actions/ activities / results can not be undone but the thoughts, future actions / reactions, lingering distractions, and self view can be aided. Interesting stuff, and a clear view of how therapy should look and work. It is not as easy on the therapist at some would assume it seems. Full post here. [...]

  2. matoko_parri Says:

    meh.
    psychology will soon be as dead as phrenology, succumbing to cognitive neuroscience and molecular cellular bioloy.
    u should all get new jobs. :)


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