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All the therapy? February 2, 2013 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Did anybody ever do an analysis on what proportion of Ask questions get answered in some way with a suggestion to get therapy?

It's definitely one of the most common answers for any kind of interpersonal struggle here, but are there statistics on it?
posted by curuinor to MetaFilter-Related at 9:30 PM (54 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

100%
posted by taff at 10:35 PM on February 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


That's a pretty unhinged topic for Meta. You need to get help.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:49 PM on February 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'd suggest that therapy might help you in this situation.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:50 PM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are not statistics on this as far as I know, but I imagine it's something that might be wrangled... by someone... Not me.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:26 PM on February 2, 2013


A parallel question to this is: what proportion of cat behavior questions can be fully answered by the statement "cats are weird"?
posted by radioamy at 12:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Something Awful's equivalent forum sometimes just has 'GET THERAPY' in the forum title, and is now at the point where they put suicide helpline data in the FAQ.

Both they and AskMe have any annoying tendency to answer any relationship question with 'get therapy'. But honestly, therapy can help pretty much all your problems, and a professional can do so much that any anonymous Internet stranger can't.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:31 AM on February 3, 2013


Have you considered mindful meditation?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on February 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Mindlessness meditation has been working out really well for me.
I think?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:16 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


what suits alligators doesn't suit the others
posted by Namlit at 6:29 AM on February 3, 2013


Just get whatever camera feels best in your hands.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:56 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dump that camera already.
posted by Drastic at 7:08 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


metafilter is not a doctor, go to the ER NOW!
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:10 AM on February 3, 2013


Could be a long wait at ER, so you might get hungry. Perhaps you should take the rest of that salmon lasagne you left in the bedroom?
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on February 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


what suits alligators doesn't suit the others
posted by Namlit at 9:29 AM on February 3 [+] [!]


What do you call an who is alligator wearing a vest?

A. An investigator
B. Sir
C. Stop talking to alligators and go to therapy
posted by bilabial at 8:12 AM on February 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


A parallel question to this is: what proportion of cat behavior questions can be fully answered by the statement "cats are weird"?

That's
the one with 100%.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


% Posts that suggest therapy = 100% - (% posts that suggest lawyer)

Actually, that's probably not true as there may be posts that recommend both lawyer and therapy. Who's up for making the Venn diagram?
posted by dayintoday at 9:09 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should go to therapy, but if it's been sitting out longer than 2 hours, don't eat it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Only when we start answering cat question by recommending taking the cat to therapy and answering relationship question by recommending getting a cat will the Circle of Unending Return be complete.
posted by winna at 9:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


dayintoday: "there may be posts that recommend both lawyer and therapy"

Indeed. I've seen them, not that I'm going to go dig through AskMe for one. If anybody feels motivated to, they're often in response to questions related to divorce.
posted by Lexica at 9:15 AM on February 3, 2013


A couple of years I pulled a table together from the infodump with a record for each post in three months' worth of human relations questions. My goal was to go in, read each post, and populate each record with data for like whether the OP was told to go into therapy, whether they were told to break up with their significant other, whether the question was asked anonymously, what the poster's gender was if they identified it, etc.

Of course it was all totally ad hoc and unscientific, but it kinda would have been a fun dataset to be able to see stuff like whether men or women get told to get therapy at a different rate, or whether anon gets told to DTMFA more often than a username does.

However, it turns out that reading a bunch of human relations questions one after another is actually super-depressing, and I think I gave up on the project after tagging less than two weeks' worth of questions.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:35 AM on February 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


Honestly, I was kind of surprised when that low-carb, no soy vegetarian question didn't get "therapy" as an answer. Maybe it was deleted.
posted by ODiV at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


% Posts that suggest therapy = 100% - (% posts that suggest lawyer)

Actually, that's probably not true as there may be posts that recommend both lawyer and therapy. Who's up for making the Venn diagram?


I got your intersection right here.
posted by dersins at 10:08 AM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


However, it turns out that reading a bunch of human relations questions one after another is actually super-depressing, and I think I gave up on the project after tagging less than two weeks' worth of questions.

You could crowd-source it, like the tagging-old-posts project. I, for one, LOVE reading reams of depressing human relations questions.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2013


You seem to have a need for clarity on this issue, curuinor. Please tell me about it.
posted by scruss at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could crowd-source it, like the tagging-old-posts project.

Somebody should, but ideally somebody more knowledgable about crowdsource data design and collection than I am.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:48 PM on February 3, 2013


Only when we start answering cat question by recommending taking the cat to therapy and answering relationship question by recommending getting a cat will the Circle of Unending Return be complete.

I took a dog to therapy once. It was an apricot-colored poodle that had been wandering, leashless and ownerless, a few yards/metres from my therapist's office. He was pretty dirty and tired, no one nearby claimed him, so definitely lost. As this was the fourth lost dog I had crossed, I had a leash in my purse... the third lost dog was a Golden Retriever and after nearly getting my arm HAPPY DOG MEET NEW HUMAN wrangled off in typical Golden fashion, I figured a leash was a good investment.

It was late-ish, a cop I crossed said he couldn't help with the lost poodle, I knew phoning the local pound would take an hour minimum before they could get there... and so in I went to therapy with a strange dog.

Ended up being helpful because Mister Apricot Poodle was one of those dogs who decides to bark, pointedly, at sounds that are practically silent for humans. I had often mentioned my startle response to my therapist, a response which still makes life difficult, for instance in operas with gunfire (blanks)... and so she got to see firsthand that describing it as "jumping out of my seat" was true. (She had believed me before. Just that, well, after all these years, I'm the one who's still in disbelief at how fast and high I jump. Would be nice if that relaxed a bit eventually.)

To the point of this though, yeah, no, I don't think there are stats, though as another human relations questions reader, it does come up often (and it generally seems a supportive thing). Crowd-sourcing is an idea; I'd be up for going through some too.

Btw, Mister Poodle went to the pound the next day, and was claimed by his owners a couple of days later. Happy to say that all four dogs I've found were reunited with their humans.
posted by fraula at 2:07 PM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mrs unSane is an animal behaviourist (read: pet shrink). She once had to deal with a dog which liked to pee in the owner's toaster.

95% of pet shrink work is dealing with the owners.
posted by unSane at 2:32 PM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have wondered the very same thing. Though by my estimate, I think at most, 60% of all Asks seem to end with suggestions to get therapy.

A hefty chunk of the rest are DTMFAs, though there is considerable overlap, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:05 PM on February 3, 2013


Mrs unSane is an animal behaviourist (read: pet shrink). She once had to deal with a dog which liked to pee in the owner's toaster.

If it's not a breach of professional ethics, could you give us a high level summary of how this pattern was established and how mrs unSane solved it? That seems like a positively bizarre problem.
posted by winna at 3:10 PM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a therapist and I think therapy is sometimes recommended too liberally here. Therapy works well and quickly when people are interested in change, and for dealing with issues of distress. It is not a panacea, however, nor is it always a good idea when natural coping strategies are working well. Billy Bragg has a line in some song on one of his weepy albums about being careful when you take things apart in the realm of human relations as they don't always fit together again.
posted by OmieWise at 3:32 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it's not a breach of professional ethics, could you give us a high level summary of how this pattern was established and how mrs unSane solved it? That seems like a positively bizarre problem.


History doesn't record how it started but probably as some kind of territorial pissing thing. There's a whole dominance thing with dogs about being at a higher level than you, and its surprising how many dog problems can be traced to them thinking that they're at a higher level in the dog-erarchy than you (or your partner, or kids). Usually these bizarre problems are just one aspect of a seriously screwy dog-human situation which can be hard to correct, because the problem really isn't with the dog but the humans.

The 'solution' was pretty much the usual one, train the owners to reinforce their dominance by not letting the dog sit on furniture, beds etc, being stricter about feeding, positive reinforcement for peeing in the right place, other obedience training, and so on and so on. But often when things have gone this far and the dog is older, there's not much you can do. Mrs U got out of the crisis business because it was too depressing, and sometimes there were horrible liability issues (kids + aggressive dogs). Now she's more into puppy training and pet photography.
posted by unSane at 4:39 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh and get rid of the toaster.
posted by unSane at 4:40 PM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you put some toast in & turned the toaster on, the dog would learn pretty quickly not to pee on it. You might even be able to jerry-rig it to have a continuous supply of current to make the process a bit easier.

The bigger issue, IMHO, is how & why is the dog able to get up onto the kitchen bench in the first place? Or, why is the toaster on the floor?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:05 PM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you put some toast in & turned the toaster on, the dog would learn pretty quickly not to pee on it.

Negative reinforcement is not big in behaviour circles. Moreover, you'd just train the dog to do it when you're out.

Some dogs are very good climbers. One of our dogs used to be able to climb a 6' garden fence.
posted by unSane at 5:26 PM on February 3, 2013


The thought of someone letting their dog on the kitchen counter makes me even more determined never to eat food out of a coworker or friend's kitchen. Say what you will about restaurants, but few of them deliberately permit the lesser beasts to roam food preparation surfaces.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was that my dog got on top of the entertainment center and chewed all the buttons off the remote, but it taught me a valuable lesson about not assuming what things will look like toys to a puppy's eye, so I got something out of it.
posted by winna at 5:30 PM on February 3, 2013


I'm curious what "therapy" actually is. I saw a counselor to combat depression and anxiety a few years ago (a long time ago now actually) and we just chatted for an hour or so in his dingy low-rent office overlooking a car lot (he actually is also an entrepreneur, specializing in coffee shops).

To get my insurance to pay for it, we called it "professional coaching". Is that "therapy"? Or does therapy involve lying on a couch?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:46 PM on February 3, 2013


So I was at a Furthur show a little while back talking to some old Deadhead who had been on the road following the band and partaking for way too long. We were talking and I was having a hard time following him. Most of what he was saying was in some sort of stoner hippy 60s slang. The last thing he did say to me was, "Man, that therapist was one weird cat."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:32 PM on February 3, 2013


I'm curious what "therapy" actually is.

"therapy" is a sloppy synonym for "proofreader." Like, Wall Of Text Get Ridder.

or so it seems, sometimes
posted by Namlit at 12:53 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"therapy" is a sloppy synonym for "proofreader." Like, Wall Of Text Get Ridder.

Or just add another color of page and call it "MetaJournaling."
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:39 AM on February 4, 2013


Perhaps you should take the rest of that salmon lasagne you left in the bedroom?

Is this a food question or a relationship question?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:05 AM on February 4, 2013


If the salmon lasagne you left in the bedroom has left, the latter.
posted by Namlit at 8:07 AM on February 4, 2013

% Posts that suggest therapy = 100% - (% posts that suggest lawyer)

Actually, that's probably not true as there may be posts that recommend both lawyer and therapy. Who's up for making the Venn diagram?
Get therapy, consult a lawyer, DTMFA, and start CouchTo5k. I think that should pretty much cover it.
posted by deanc at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or does therapy involve lying on a couch?

No, it doesn't have to, although people do that 99% of the time still when therapy is shown on TV.
posted by sweetkid at 8:57 AM on February 4, 2013


deanc: "Get therapy, consult a lawyer, DTMFA, and start CouchTo5k. I think that should pretty much cover it."

The beauty of this advice is that it can all be undertaken simultaneously. Even while eating the roast beef sandwich you left out overnight.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:05 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please don't DTMFA with your mouth full. That's just rude.
posted by ODiV at 9:08 AM on February 4, 2013


Not if you do it by text.
posted by flabdablet at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2013


Is there a rule that cat questions must be accomanied by a photo?

Of the cat.

Why not?
posted by mule98J at 9:41 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you considered a 12 step program? Don't let the fact that they talk about God stop you; there are a lot of different kinds of meetings, and you should keep trying them until you find one that fits your needs. But a 12 step program could really help you get over your need to recommend that everyone get therapy.
posted by decathecting at 12:36 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course you'd need therapy after the 12-step program...
posted by unSane at 4:50 PM on February 4, 2013


However, it turns out that reading a bunch of human relations questions one after another is actually super-depressing, and I think I gave up on the project after tagging less than two weeks' worth of questions.

Soon, we will be seeing an AskMe question like "I have been reading all the AskMe posts lately, and I strongly suspect I am in a depression. Lately I have been experiencing thoughts of suicidal ideation."

Answer: Get therapy (177 favorites)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:24 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course you'd need therapy after the 12-step program...

You start with the therapy, the therapy leads to medication, then you need the 12-step programme to get you off the drugs.
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on February 5, 2013


I dumped the salmon lasagna on the dog, who was peeing on the cat she had stuffed into the toaster.

I think that's why yellow makes me sad.
posted by trinity8-director at 4:57 PM on February 5, 2013


Note: everyone needs a shrink.
posted by TedW at 6:16 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you sure? Some of them seem easily small enough already.
posted by Grangousier at 11:45 AM on February 6, 2013


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