This holiday season, you are going to fork over cash/gifts to all those people who make your life easier and better. Maybe you will bake Pinterest-inspired cookies for your children’s teachers.
But what about your therapist? Have you thought through your gift for him (FN1)?
He’s tricky to buy for, right? He’s the guy who knows all about your fetishes, frailties, and foibles. You must choose very carefully, because he’s going read into your gift. You must project pure holiday cheer (and improving-daily self-esteem). You can’t get too symbolic or you will be “processing” the gift until June 2013.
I’ve compiled gift suggestions that are broken down into two tiers: the token gift for the newbie patient, and those for the lifetime patient.
For the newbie. If this is your first holiday go-round with your therapist, you want to keep it light. Your gift need only acknowledge the relationship. Humor always works as long as you don’t hint at your latent sexual feelings for him or your homicidal rage– avoid gifts sending those messages because they will screw up all of your January sessions.
I suggest this:
Put a bow on it and give it to him at your next session.
Lifers. You are my people. We both know you are going to see this man until one of you dies (and of course you want to die first because you can’t bear the abandonment). You can’t run to Macy’s and grab a fiesta ware bowl (what color would you get anyway?) or a bathrobe (way too much sexual energy wrapped in a robe).
You have to show up with something that conveys gratitude, psychological insight, and a dash of constructive feedback on how he could better serve you in the coming year. It’s OK to highlight a few areas where you would like him to bone up in the New Year. (Don’t use the phrase “bone up” with your therapist, because he will think it’s sexual, and it will get awkward. Trust me.)
You know where I am going with this right? You have to make your therapist a mix tape. Just like that Depeche Mode-INXS mix you made in high school. Pack it with messages and hints and blessings and wishes. That shit worked in high school, so don’t reinvent the wheel.
Here’s a sample of the songs appearing in the 2012 Outlaw Mama Therapy Mix. Borrow liberally (FN 2):
1. Don’t Call Me Daughter (Pearl Jam) — It’s a solemn nod to your daddy issues. Therapists love that shit.
2. Better Be Good To Me (Tina Turner) — This song sends the message to your aging therapist that he better stay on his game for 2013 because you have dreams to fulfill and at $100+ per session, there is no time for him to have an “off” season.
3. Thank You For Being A Friend (Golden Girls Theme Song) — Yes, your therapist is your expensive friend, but also, you want him to know that you respect old people, because he’s becoming one (like Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty).
4. Man In The Mirror (Michael Jackson) — This is gratuitous, but let him know you are not committed to being a victim. You will start with you. (He’ll think he taught you that.)
5. One Foot (Fun.) — This song should be included especially if your therapist
shoves practices the 12 steps down your throat. You can tell him how you listen to this song and think about “putting one foot in front of the other” and taking it “one day at a time.” I am hoping this is impressive enough that I score a free session or two in 2013.
6. Closer To Fine (Indigo Girls) — No, it’s not 1990 anymore, but I like to include something folksy with a retro-indie flair. “I went to the doctor / I went the mountain.” He will listen to this mix in his nice domestic sedan, and he will congratulate himself on what a great job he’s doing with you.
7. Tubthumping (“I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again”) (Chumbawamba) — What therapist doesn’t want to hear this anthem from a patient? Show him your resilience! Your “can do” spirit. (Caution: There are lots of alcohol references, so if you are struggling with “problem drinking,” skip this. Also skip: Jimmy Buffett.)
8. Many Rivers To Cross (Jimmy Cliff) — This is the song that will keep him on his toes, and make him sweat a little. This song doesn’t scream “I’m getting out the razor blades, Mother F*ucker,” but it does remind him that you have a few desperate longings that he’s supposed to be “treating” with his fancy Yale-University of Chicago degrees. Keep him from getting complacent over the holidays. Send him running to his JAMA articles over the break.
9. This Little Light Of Mine (I’m Gonna Let It Shine) (Gospel version) — If he’s Jewish, it works for Hanukkah because LIGHTS. If he’s Christian, it works as well, since it’s about Christ. If he’s an atheist, it works because works as a secular ode to self-empowerment.
Whatever you do, end on a high note. (Maybe the theme from Rent.)
FN 1: For the purposes of this post, I have assumed a male therapist, because my therapist is male, and I have a feeble imagination. Also: it’s all about me.
FN 2: Use the songs that work for your relationship, but you should avoid these: Psycho Killer (Talking Heads), Jolene (Dolly Parton), and anything by Amy Winehouse (don’t scare him), audio recordings of Sylvia Plath and/or Anne Sexton (keep suicidal ideation out of Christmas/Hanukkah). Also, avoid the work of Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Elvis.