Written by: Dr. Ng Wai Sheng
Picture: A tree in a park in Melbourne
Does the tree in the picture above look weird or amazing to you? Look closer again…
These days I found myself doing 2 things with my clients in therapy.
With those who act like they were “crazy” to the world, I help them to see how normal they are in my session.
With those who act like they were “normal” to the world, I help them to act as crazy as they can be in my session – crazily angry, crazily sad, and crazily confronting their fears!
What I’m slowly learning from my clients are these:
The first-group-people are often so despaired with their circumstances that the only way they could survive is to hurt, either themselves or others around them, or both!
The second-group-people are usually great pleasers of their circumstances. They are what we would normally labeled as “nice people”, “good wife/husband”, “caring son/daughter”, “responsible worker”, “friendly neighbor” etc. Often in giving themselves to others, they have denied themselves the right to be human, or may even delude themselves that they are more than human!
And so, with the first group, I try to widen their perspective about their current circumstances. We live in a less than perfect world with less than perfect people. And where there is hurts and pain, my job is to help my clients to acknowledge their wounds. Often, with just a simple human acknowledgement (and not a fancy diagnosis), the presumably “crazy” person is transported back to the normalcy of human experience. And then together we go find the healing or closure that they need.
With the second group, I often have a harder time convincing… Cos’ most often they really believe that they are “just fine”, for as long as they practice their friends’ or family’s favorite mantra of “don’t think so much”. But every once in a while, with a few brave souls, we have the pleasure of taking a trip together to the “crazy planet”, where fearful thoughts, tears of sadness and murderous rage, even jealousy and shame are welcomed, the same as joy and peace. And the funny thing is, after a trip or two like these, these brave clients begin to think that “crazy planet” is not so crazy after all! Unwittingly when one begins to embrace some craziness, one actually becomes more human! Hah!
So… Let’s be a little normal and a lot more crazy today, shall we? 😉
Disclaimer: All stories presented in this article are based on, or inspired by actual events. In certain cases, incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for privacy and confidentiality purpose. Certain characters may be composites or archetypes, and are not intended to depict or allude to actual persons or families. Any resemblance to actual incidents, persons, places or events is entirely coincidental.