Archive for the 'Introduction to Psychotherapy' Category

Bob Newhart and Psychotherapy

October 5, 2010
posted by Admin

Why do people laugh at the legitimate work of psychotherapy? What is so ridiculously funny about our profession? Recently, I was watching a video of Bob Newhart on Youtube. Please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE or go to www.youtube.com. And enter “Bob Newhart Stop it.”
Most of us can agree that Bob Newhart is a timeless comedian. Yet, in viewing this video, I can’t help but ask myself why the treatment of this patient on this video is so funny? After mentally wrestling for awhile, this is what I came up with.
There are a few suppositions to this video clip. Contrary to popular belief, most reputable psychotherapists that I know can not read a person’s mind nor can they see the essence of an individual’s vulnerability, pain and deficiency. As a reputable shrink, all I can do is empathically listen and pay close attention to the details of one’s life.
A second supposition is that all of life’s deepest questions can be answered in a simplistic, rational way. In the pretend world, no body does this better than Bob Newhart. The truth is that every individual is multi-layered and complex! We all have our share of personal obstacles, character conflicts and failed relationships. I doubt that we can tackle any of these in such a simplistic manner.
Behind all humor is a certain amount of aggression! Here, we see that Bob N. makes fun of the human condition. But let’s face it; if you tell a true “claustrophobic” to “Stop it!” you are actually blaming them for their behavior! Yikes! Comedians denigrate the human condition for us to be able to laugh at someone! That someone is us!