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Remember the Youngbloods

Even now having been retired from my psychology practice for two years, I still have visions of myself sitting in my easy chair gazing upon the wanting looks on the faces of my clients. They came to me with pain in their hearts seeking hope and resolution. They were struggling. Their eyes said it all. Can you help me make sense of these current events?

Over the course of 45 years I have had to face that scenario countless number of times. Personally these encounters brought forth a major challenge for me. A therapist must first help themselves before they can help someone else. In order to help them I had to be mindful that I had to find a way to come to terms with my own reactions to the events of the moment. My clients motivated me to work at my own needs. I had to find my own resolution and direction and face my own emotional and life issues.

In this past week while sitting back in my easy chair I have conducted my own introspective closed door session. The question I posed to myself was what would I be doing if I was still in practice? How would I help?

Step one is to get in touch with my own feelings. Ok, I am scared, angry, and a bit down. I have been tense, worrying and short tempered. I am reactive to the stresses of coping with covid 19. I am in pain over social unrest and the volume of unsettling reports of gun violence. I am enraged with an out of control President who seems hell bent on crushing my civil liberties and threatens the stability of my future and that of my family. Inconsideration, I would say that my reality testing would put me in step with most everyone else these days.

Continuing my self reflection, I sat back in my easy chair and let my mind drift. I began to recall that over my life time I have actually faced these challenges many times over. I remember the Cuban missile crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, the horrors of the Vietnam War era and my demonstrating in the streets, riots brought on by social injustice,Nixon, inflation, economic collapses, environmental disasters such has hurricane Sandy as well my personal life issues such as health and divorce. At each moment there certainly seemed to be many insurmountable bumps in the road.

Settling back into meditation, just letting thoughts cross my mind, I became aware of a musical song lyric. Listening to this tune I associated this song with a feeling of hope and peace. It has been years since I last recalled it. Over the course of the week I struggled to remember the group and all the lyrics. Thanks to google, with just a little bit of information they gave me back my full memory.

The Youngbloods(1967), Get Together.

The significant lyric is from the chorus.

C’mon people now. Smile your brother. Everybody get together. Try to love one another Right now.

The song came on the scene at a time in my life that is so similar to our current times. That song helped me to find strength to get through the jumbled emotions of those times brought on by war, social injustice and an oppressive government. Get Together told my story and presented me with a message of hope and a direction for my voice and feelings.

My unconscious mind brought me back to that song to help me once again become grounded. If I was back at my office feeling confident, I would now be ready to assist others. I often pointed out that at times we can become emotionally stuck. We sometimes need to find a way to break out of the ordinary to find our way to grow. I would at times suggest doing something unusual as a way to break through emotional resistance. I remember suddenly stopping an unfruitful discussion by getting up and challenging my client to a game of darts or suddenly stopping a family session and challenging the family to a game of balloon volleyball. At times it could be telling jokes, singing a song, free style drawing and even removing all the chairs and sitting on the floor for our session. The creative process to get out of the ordinary was so helpful in bringing about insight and growth.

Meditation can also be a valuable method of withdrawing from the ordinary and allowing our unconscious to resolve issues.

Being a drummer in rock bands was one my ways of coping. Music has always been a part of my emotional balance. Music gave me a big wow. Lately my wows have come from photography, writing and nature. When I become enmeshed in the ugh’s of life, I withdraw from the ordinary of life into my wow ‘s to get clarity and direction. Sometimes though the direction can come from a song from our past.

So my homework for next week's session would be for you to find your verse. What words can give you direction? It could be a lyric from a song, a quote from a book, a verse from a poem, or even a prayer. Find that message. Post it up on your vanity mirror and take time to reflect.

Check out the Youngbloods song Get Together, it may help you make sense of these times.

Dr. Mike

Clinical psychologist 45 years in practice. Worked with children and adults. Love nature, hiking, photography and drums. Retired living in DC.

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