Being ‘clever’

Stephen Fry (on a now ancient podcast of In the Psychiatrist’s Chair) made a very powerful and interesting point about how his own ‘cleverness’ and ability to articulate his mental anguish can get in the way of conveying how desperate he can feel. I come across this a lot in my practice too. I often explore with clients their frustration at trying hard to get adequate help and support, but failing miserably to get it. It seems that if we can articulately describe to someone how terrible things feel – especially if with self-reflection –  this can simultaneously send the message that we are ultimately, psychically robust ‘enough’. This is a bind, as Fry suggests.

The answer to this? Take the words literally, not the fact that they are well chosen and well placed ones.