Tune Up for the Mind

Long couch.  Kitchen timer.  Writing pad.  Two people face-to-face.  This isn’t some mind teaser, but rather, my image of a standard therapy session.

A friend of mine who knows that I’m a non-fiction book nerd recommended I read The Happiness Hypothesis. I’m still in the early chapters, but found this particular quote telling.  The author (Jonathan Haidt) says there are two types of people who need therapy.  “Those who need tightening, and those who need loosening.”

It struck me quite particularly because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how big a proponent of therapy I am (theoretically mostly because I have very little personal experience with it).  But, I really am a fan of the concept of having an unbiased person to whom you can be totally self-involved and talk about whatever you’d like.  I don’t tend to like ‘burdening’ those whom I hold close with all my exciting news, emotions, drama, etc, but to have a designated person who can level with you and not expect you to listen in return sounds awesome.

As I mentioned, I don’t know much about therapy, but from what I understand it’s expensive, thus making it a challenge for we Betwixters to take advantage.  I really do have this idealistic thought that everyone should have affordable access to therapy, thus creating a more emotionally-aware environment.  Pipe dreams, yes, as clearly there is also the hurdle of one’s choice to go and commit to such sessions.  But, to me, it sounds pretty wonderful (albeit I’d image you’d face some emotionally challenging road blocks).

To the author’s point, I like his ascertion of ‘tightening’ and ‘loosening’, and think we all likely go back and forth to some degree, probably tending more regularly towards one or the other.  Kinda sounds like taking your car in for a tune up.  We do it at the doctor every year for our bodies, I think we should consider doing it more regular for our minds and emotions.


  1. 10,000 Maniacs – Trouble Me. That’s my dedication to you.

  2. I haven’t heard of that one, but I can tell you that about half-way into ‘happiness hypothesis’, it’s interesting if you like psych. It’s very psych based, written by a positive psychologist.

  3. Being someone that need loosening, I think about therapy a lot. What stops me even before the cost is finding one. I’ve only found the option of looking through a healthcare providers book and closing my eyes and pointing or asking others if they have a recommendation. Of they don’t, they’re wondering why you want one. Would love to hear your thoughts on the happiness hypothesis. There are so many happiness books now I would love help on what to read and what is avoidable. Heard of the happiness project?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts