how to use a book meme to choose a therapist

the other day i chanced upon an old post by my blogger friend dave– he had followed one of the many book memes that abound on the web. this one is fun – here are the instructions:

1. grab the nearest book.
2. open it to page 161.
3. find the fifth sentence.
4. post the text of this sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. do what’s actually next to you.

the nearest book was the old webster’s dictionary that we always keep close by the dining room table in case something comes up at a dinner conversation. so what’s the 5th sentence in a dictionary? let’s make it the 5th entry:

cereus. n. a member of cereus, a genus of american cacti incl. c. giganteus, the largest cactus, growing to 70 ft high and 2 ft thick, with candelabra-like branching, and c. grandiflora, a night-blooming variety [L. fr. cera, wax]

a reader of mystery books from an early age (for the longest time i wanted to become a private detective), i’ve always been fascinated by how much insight one can glean from a little trivial information, like this here.

so if you were sherlock holmes, what would this little entry tell you about isabella the therapist? she

  • has online friends (let’s hope she also has real friends); maybe that means she’s likeable
  • likes to have fun. some people like that in a therapist, others don’t
  • doesn’t mind experimenting with something new, even if she doesn’t know where it’s going to lead her (do you prefer therapists who always know exactly where they’re going, or do you prefer those who like explore new avenues?)
  • has dinner conversations. she really does like to talk with people!
  • is a bit on the intellectual side, otherwise why would she keep a dictionary close at hand?
  • improvises; the instructions don’t to apply the book she finds so she reinterprets them in a way that fits (or would you rather have a therapist who makes sure that the rules are always followed?)
  • reads mystery books. let’s hope she also reads the occasional psychology text!
  • wanted to become a sleuth; if you a have problem that’s mysterious to you then maybe that’s a good thing. if you’re a little unnerved at the idea that a therapist will do too much rooting around in your deepest, darkest secrets … well, let’s talk about that (how therapists explore these dark places might be an interesting topic for another post)
  • gets insight from trivial information … does that mean you have to watch what you say? or maybe that when you see her, you can just sit there and grunt a few words?

so there you have it. next time you’re wondering about how to choose a therapist, just give her this book meme!

isabella mori
moritherapy
counselling in vancouver

3 thoughts on “how to use a book meme to choose a therapist

  1. ddrucker

    Hi Isabella –

    I haven’t thought about that meme in a long time. Being more hard-boiled, my logic says to me that there is more reliable information to be gained simply by knowing what book is closest at hand to someone. After all, leaving aside that Jungian synchronicity of what page is picked, chance is one thing, but the overall choice of the person who ‘stacked the deck’ is another. Hence, the only thing I feel I could safely and reliably about the kind of person you are (and hence, the type of therapist you should choose) is someone who keeps a Webster’s Dictionary on their coffee table (rather than, say, the latest coffee table book). This is not that usual a choice. It says, perhaps, that you are not someone who has a problem with clutter (as someone who kept no book on their coffee table might be). It also says that you are somewhat satisfied, at least on the face of it, with the printed word being the arbitrator of an argument. I might even go so far as to make assumptions about your level of education and the kinds of people you invite into your house (those to whom words are also important).

    Wow, that makes me feel Sleuthy indeed!

    -D

  2. ddrucker

    Hi Isabella –

    I haven’t thought about that meme in a long time. Being more hard-boiled, my logic says to me that there is more reliable information to be gained simply by knowing what book is closest at hand to someone. After all, leaving aside that Jungian synchronicity of what page is picked, chance is one thing, but the overall choice of the person who ‘stacked the deck’ is another. Hence, the only thing I feel I could safely and reliably about the kind of person you are (and hence, the type of therapist you should choose) is someone who keeps a Webster’s Dictionary on their coffee table (rather than, say, the latest coffee table book). This is not that usual a choice. It says, perhaps, that you are not someone who has a problem with clutter (as someone who kept no book on their coffee table might be). It also says that you are somewhat satisfied, at least on the face of it, with the printed word being the arbitrator of an argument. I might even go so far as to make assumptions about your level of education and the kinds of people you invite into your house (those to whom words are also important).

    Wow, that makes me feel Sleuthy indeed!

    -D

  3. Amanda

    How cool! I just came across this blog in my random wanderings and I have to say I love the introduction to your blog I got in this entry! Gonna try it myself I think!

  4. Amanda

    How cool! I just came across this blog in my random wanderings and I have to say I love the introduction to your blog I got in this entry! Gonna try it myself I think!

  5. jael

    Hi isabella,

    I tried to do this on the nearest book…the nearest book is a Microsoft Excel 2000 training manual with NO PAGE NUMBERS, and so I rejected that, because it is too much trouble to count out 161 pages. The nearest book I could find was “The Realm of Possibility” by David Levithan. On page 161 was a poem composed of sentence fragments separated by periods. If I took the word immediately before the fifth period, it would be: LOSER.

    If I took the fifth sentence-like group of words, it would be STOP CRYING.

    If I went further down the page, we would have gotten to observe the character respond to her own thoughts with other possibilities inside her. With such a limited bibliomancy, I would want to read further for more context.

    What I took from this little exercise is how difficult it is to make simple rules that apply to EVERY situation. Maybe life is like that too. Maybe there is no way to fit in all the time, even if that is your goal. Maybe bending the rules makes sense if the goal is to have a life full of learning and possibilities.

    Thanks for the bibliomancy. I’m not propagating the meme on my blog today, although I might do so next week. You can just have it as part of your comments.

    cheers,

    jael

  6. jael

    Hi isabella,

    I tried to do this on the nearest book…the nearest book is a Microsoft Excel 2000 training manual with NO PAGE NUMBERS, and so I rejected that, because it is too much trouble to count out 161 pages. The nearest book I could find was “The Realm of Possibility” by David Levithan. On page 161 was a poem composed of sentence fragments separated by periods. If I took the word immediately before the fifth period, it would be: LOSER.

    If I took the fifth sentence-like group of words, it would be STOP CRYING.

    If I went further down the page, we would have gotten to observe the character respond to her own thoughts with other possibilities inside her. With such a limited bibliomancy, I would want to read further for more context.

    What I took from this little exercise is how difficult it is to make simple rules that apply to EVERY situation. Maybe life is like that too. Maybe there is no way to fit in all the time, even if that is your goal. Maybe bending the rules makes sense if the goal is to have a life full of learning and possibilities.

    Thanks for the bibliomancy. I’m not propagating the meme on my blog today, although I might do so next week. You can just have it as part of your comments.

    cheers,

    jael

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