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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Shrink-wrapped advice for a song 
Dr. BLT offers advice for a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis. 

The 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 Minded 
by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T., The Rock Doc 

Dear Dr. B.L.T.: 

My boyfriend, Reg, said that I shouldn't write you because shrinks are un-cool.  He doesn't know that you're also into music.  He's a big Weazer fan.  He also likes Green Day and Cake. I'm a 19-year-old solo artist from Australia who has been traveling with, and opening for an eclectic band known as Purple.  Reg is the drummer in the band.  I go by the name of Jackie Blue.  I borrowed that name from a song my mom used to play all the time by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils called Jackie Blue.  I thought it also was a good name to go with the band I open for.  They are very popular in the land down under, but you've probably haven't heard of them.  They have been working hard to get signed with an independent record company in your country of the United States and I think they will make it big some day.  I want to ride on their coattails and become a big star over there myself.  The problem is, my parents just got divorced, and I feel like I'm caught in between them.  The band wants to tour Europe and they want me to join them.  I know that this could be a major opportunity for me, but I don't feel like I can leave my mother right now.  She is really an emotional wreck over this divorce.  She took it personal that I recently moved out and got my own apartment.  With all that's been going on, I've become sort of a freaky hermit.  I stay locked up in my room all day and never answer the phone. 

Believe it or not, I'm a born again Christian.  I've been praying to God that everyone will just go away and leave me alone.

My dad isn't exactly having a picnic either, and he often relies on me to pass on information about my mom.  He's looking for all signs of hope after she finally had enough of his violent outbursts, and told him she wanted him out of her life.  If that's not enough, my boyfriend has been pressuring me to have sex with him, and it's just one more complication in my life that I'd rather not have to face.  I'm not sure if I love him or if I just fell into his arms to escape the pain I'm feeling over my parents' divorce. 

Dear Jackie Blue (Teen in Between): 

I'm very familiar with the song, Jackie Blue.  I wonder how much you share in common with the girl depicted in the song.  I'm not sure if you really took the time to reflect on the words to that song, but there is a line that says: "..lives her life from inside of her room." A room can be a place of safety and solitude.  Returning to your room is like returning to your mother's womb, where you once felt safe and protected from the outside world.  There's another retro tune that you might have heard by the Beach Boys called In My Room.  The female trio known as Wilson Phillips recently did a re-make of the song with a little help from Brian Wilson, the father of two members of the trio-Carnie and Wendy Wilson.  It captures what I believe you are feeling right now-a deep desire to escape from all of the things you find yourself caught between. 

Developmentally speaking, you are still an adolescent, stuck between childhood and the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood.  That's one reason why I believe you are doing the right thing by resisting the sexual pressure that your boyfriend is putting up you.  You can tell him I said that. 

You can also tell him that he is in the minority among Cake fans who think I'm un-cool.  Speaking of Cake, I know a secret that would probably help him to see me as cool, as it has many Cake fans.  It has to do with a certain music video.  No, on second thought, I won't go there. To be honest, I don't feel I need to convince Reg of my 'cool' status.  For me, being a positive role model for teens is more important than being considered cool. 

Part of being a good role model is to motivate teens to avoid getting in over their heads.  Because the myriad developmental changes going on within teens include profound biological and physical changes, holding back sexual urges can be challenging at best.  And since teens tend to see only the present, and not the future; only a world that revolves around their immediate needs, desires and instincts, and not one that extends beyond these parameters, the temptation to live for the moment can become unbearably difficult to resist.  There are consequences, and those consequences can be excruciatingly painful.  Sex adds intensity to any relationship.  Such intensity can lead to outcomes such as: painful, abrupt relationship break-ups; an unwanted pregnancy; the possibility of contracting any of a number of STDs; a host of pre-maturely introduced responsibilities; and an emotional intensity that interferes with important life and career goals.  If you think you are a Teen in Between now, you'll find yourself being caught between even more competing demands if you allow your boyfriend to lead you there.  Besides, God's planned sex for members of an exclusive club:  married people.  I know it seems unfair, but those are the rules. 

In addition to being stuck in between childhood and adulthood, you are obviously feeling stuck in between your parents.  Many times children and teens, whose parents are in the midst of a divorce, find that their parents use them as pawns, or pull them apart as if breaking apart a wish bone.  Pink has a song about that called Family Portrait

But instead of bringing good luck, being pulled apart like a wish bone, can cause tremendous turbulence and turmoil within the adolescent.  In the midst of such a conflict, you must hold on to the attribute that quintessential Greek philosopher Aristotle identified as the "hallmark of adolescence."  He was speaking of "self-determination."  And don't forget, if you are a believer in God, that God is there to mediate such conflicts, and to offer you comfort and guidance.  Even though Plato stated that reasoning first begins in adolescence, that very reasoning process can get lost beneath an excessive desire to please either or both parents.  With God's help, you must decide which decisions are in your own best interest, and which decisions reflect God's will and God's divine purpose for your life.  Remember, that God's son, Jesus Christ, was also an "in-betweener."  He was caught between His father's demand for perfect righteousness, and the woefully sinful nature of humankind.  He took on the burdens of the whole world so that we would not have to bear them. 

God also put people on this earth who could help you bear the burdens you've described to me.  Take advantage of what these people offer when they extend support to you, whether they be friends, immediate family members, relatives, a pastor, or a musical shrink like myself. 

I've got a musical prescription for you--- a musical home remedy that comes in the form of an original song I call Teen in Between.  If you e-mail me at the address below, I'll send you a free copy.  In the mean time, in between time, keep your priorities straight and you'll keep the "roll" in your "rock 'n' roll".  Establish your personal boundaries with your parents and your boyfriend, get close to the heart of God through prayer and reflection on scripture, and, as Neil Young once said in a song, "Keep on rocking in the free world!"

Dr. B.L.T. 
The Rock Doc 

If you are a musically-minded person in distress, write Dr. BLT at

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 patient--society.

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. 



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