Ask the Rock Doc:
Shrink-wrapped advice for
Dr. BLT offers advice for
a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis.
following inquiry has been paraphrased, with certain details omitted and/or
altered to protect the confidentiality of the subject.
Ask the Rock Doc
Sound Advice for the Musically
by psychologist, Dr. Bruce
L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T., The Rock Doc
Dear Dr. B.L.T.:
Hi, my name is Hal.
I'm an alcoholic---big time. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I
love to drink and have no desire to give it up. Life is short, you
die, and you might as well just fly by, and have a good time along the
way. I just turned twenty. I used to be a real Bible-thumping
believer back in my freshman year of high school. I got converted
by attending a Halloween party for teens put on by my church. They
got the idea from Youth for Christ who does Scream in the Dark every year.
This wasn't your typical Scream in the Dark event. These Christian
kids got together and decided they were going to show us what hell was
like, and then try to convert us after it was all over. It wasn't
the haunted house, but rather, the sermon that followed, that scared the
hell out of me. I was always fascinated by hell. It actually
seemed like kind of a cool place to go (well, not temperature-wise), but
not after that sermon I heard. I decided then and there that I was
much better off in heaven. My conversion didn't last for long though,
not more than about one year. I was some kind of Christian! I went
to church and the whole bit, but I got bored and turned off by all of the
judgmental hypocrites in church. I am now what folks call a Gothic
Groupie. Yep, I've got the black finger nails (toe nails, too), and
I wear the black, lacey shirts, and all of the traditional Gothic attire.
I'm into bands like Mission (UK), Lady Cadaver, the Serpenteens, and Dreadful
Like I said, I used to be
a church-going believer. That was until I met this woman who got
me into the Gothic scene. She was married (still is) and has children.
I met her in a Gothic club in Chicago. She seemed very strange and
mysterious and this is what attracted me to her. I was 18, just graduated
from High School, and was basically without a job, without motivation,
and without a sense of who I was. I am an Asian American and adopted.
I have no idea who my parents are and know nothing about my pre-adoption
period. I guess I kind of looked up to this married woman as a mother
figure. She started out to be very nurturing and fun, but then her
dark side started coming out. First she mentioned that she used to
be a hooker, and that kind of scared me. At the same time, it was
dangerous and so it attracted me. Then I began to I see in her a
rage that was so powerful that words can't describe it. She had a
sort of sadistic need to verbally abuse me every time she became depressed
and this happened at least once a week and sometimes it lasted for several
weeks at a time. Being around her became depressing. Many times
she threatened to kill herself if I left. I started getting more
depressed and drinking more. Even her kids brought me down.
I never saw her husband and she never spoke of him. I broke it off
at one point, but got sucked right back into the relationship, and now
it seems I just don't have the will power to end it.
Dear Hal. O. Wean:
I call you Hal O. Ween because
you are drawn to evil and darkness, and because it is imperative that you
wean yourself from the woman you've described to me. You never mentioned
the name of the married woman that you're addicted to, so I'll call her
Mrs. Pain. She reminds me of a fictional character I titled a song after
named Mrs. Pain. I used her as a metaphor for depression. Like the woman
you described, she brought everyone around her down. Here are some
of the words:
...She had a song named
And she had a son named
She had a daughter named
"Damsel in Distress"
And her nickname was : "Insane"
She had a dog named "Down
in the Dumps"
and a cat named "Catastrophe"
Fish who swim in a bucket
And though it may sound
Her name was "Mrs. Pain"
Yeah, her name was "Mrs.
You are attracted to darkness
because of a void in you. Part of it has to do with your adoption,
and the fact that you have no connection to your biological, and thus,
your psychological roots. A healthy sense of identity is extremely
difficult to establish and cultivate when you've been adopted.
While their intentions may
have been good, those folks who tried to "convert" you may have used the
wrong methods and the wrong motivational techniques to lead you to Christ.
Scaring people with hell, fire and brimstone messages tends to drive people
to the Kingdom, instead of leading them, as Christ did, with his love.
You are like the man in
Plato's allegory of the cave who has been in darkness so long that the
light is unbearable to him, and he becomes blind, or, “Blinded by the Light,”
as Manfred Mann's Earth Band put it in a song. Freud would say that you
are fixated in the oral stage of development, and therefore you have the
oral fixation with drinking, and with the mother figure in your life (although,
based upon your description of her, she seems more like a monster figure).
You will need help in weaning yourself from this woman I call “Mrs. Pain”
(Tom Jones would call her “Daughter of Darkness”).
You will need to see a professional
therapist, hopefully one who is open to the approach I refer to as psychoPRAYERapy---one
who sees the cultivation of a personal relationship with Jesus as crucial
to a complete recovery. If you let me know where you live, I'll try
to look one up in your area. You will need to explore with that therapist
all of the childhood issues and present-day pressures, personality traits,
and emotional states that contribute to your present dysfunctional state
All though it's not all
evil, you might need to take a break from Gothic music, and, especially
the Gothic scene right now. I'm not sure if there is such a thing
as Gothic Gospel music, but I know that there are Christian bands like
Evanesce that are better for your soul than a lot of those bands that you
have described--bands that are also fixated in their oral stage of development
(fixation with death and with the womb is basically a fixation with the
safety of the womb). The womb is a dark place, and a place in which
the unborn child is in a state of utter oral dependency. For you,
it is easier to return to a womb-like state than to face the harsh realities
this world has to delve out, or, so it seems. To you, it is better
off being in a tomb. For you, being dead is easier than facing the dread
you face every morning when you wake up. But the very faith that
you seem to have abandoned could sustain you through these difficult times.
Jesus offers light in place of your darkness.
Your musical prescription
is a copy of the free song I plan to send you (if you provide me a mailing
address. When you hear the song, “Mrs. Pain,” reflect on the power of prayer
in removing those things and people from our lives who have nothing but
darkness to offer.
Then pray. Go out
and, with the help of a good therapist, face your demons. Conquer
the darkness with the light of scripture and prayer. You are not
an orphan in God's kingdom. You may have strayed, but God's love
hasn't. It remains. All you have to do is to accept it.
The very first solo I sang was in a church I attended at the age of 9.
It was called, “Child of the King.” There is a place for you in His kingdom,
and it is in His kingdom that you will find your roots and your identity
as a child of God.
The Rock Doc
If you are a musically-minded
person in distress, write Dr. BLT at email@example.com or visit his website
Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce
L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university
instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music. He
uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the
problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging
His face and name recognition,
particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music
video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band
a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV
Video Music Awards.