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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Sound Advice for the musically-minded 
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T., 
the Shrink-rappin' Rock Doc 

Details, and, in some cases, the method of communication associated with the following letter may be altered, to protect the confidentiality of the distressed person. 

Dear Rock Doc: 

The day I was invited to be a special guest on Soul Train (you may not be old enough to remember that show), I thought I had "arrived."  I thought that it was my ticket to fame, fortune and all of the trappings that I assumed went with it.  

I had a couple pretty big hit songs back in the day, but then, folks dropped me like a hot potato.  It seemed like my appearance in Soul Train was the steam that kept me going.  I was happy, excited about life and motivated to record more and more hit songs.  

When things didn't happen like I thought they would, I fell into a depression that has lasted for years.  I attempted suicide twice, became an alcoholic and even though I'm in a recovery program, and I'm taking anti-depressant meds, I still struggle with feelings of hopelessness and despair every day.  I even went forward at a Billy Graham crusade for Christ, but that didn't do it either.  I was a terrible husband and father, thinking of nothing but remaining famous, and neglecting my wife and kids.  I lost them, and got just what I deserved, a plunge into loneliness and desperation.  A bar tender at a pub in Chicago told me about your column and he said it was "for musicians in distress." I said, "That's me!"  So he said that if I scribbled out a letter to you, he would print it out nice and neat and deliver it to you though the e-mail.  I am homeless and live on the streets and have no access to a computer.  This bar tender said he had a computer in his office and that it would be no problem.  I hope this works, because I'm at the end of my rope.   

Soul Train Stowaway 
  
Dear Soul Train Stowaway c/o "the bartender": 

First of all, I would recommend that you see the doctor who prescribed your medication and tell him or her that you are still very depressed.  I'm a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so I'm not an expert on psychiatric medication.  I do work with psychiatrists, and have learned that sometimes medications have to be adjusted to suit certain individuals.  Certain medications may work for one person, and not for another.  It is important to make sure that you are taking the right medication for you, and the right dosage as well.  A dosage that might be effective for another person, may not be effective for you.  I've been told that prescriptions are like clothing, they need to be tailored to fit---in the case of psych meds, you might say "shrink to fit (pun intended)." 

Also, in terms of the medication, it cannot take away deeply rooted feelings of low self-esteem, or the emotional trauma that may have contributed to you developing low self-esteem.  I don't know you, but I would seriously question the notion that you were a bad husband and a bad father.  Perhaps you were simply a struggling husband, and a struggling father.  Struggling with human weakness does not make you a bad anything-it simply makes you a human being.  Moreover, you may have lacked some important communication skills and parenting skills that would have rendered you more effective.  

I would recommend that you take some parenting classes.  In addition to making you a more effective father, if you ever have children again, it will help you achieve your goals as a parent, and it will help you feel more confident in your relationship with your children.  There are parenting classes available in most communities for folks who are lacking in financial resources.  If you let me know where you live, I can help you out with that.  

If you ever get into a relationship again in which marriage looks like a possibility, I'd recommend pre-marital counseling so that you can prevent some of the problems that occurred in your last marriage from happening again.

Counseling, or psychotherapy, in general is a good idea for someone in your situation.  Once again, if you let me know where you live, I'll try to find some counseling for folks who are lacking in financial resources.  

As you know, I often recommend music for musicians in distress.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a soul man-I'm the rock doc.  But after reaching deep into my musical doctor's bag, I did happen to find a song with a little soul flavor in the mix, it's actually a rap song I wrote for folks like you who are apparently suffering from, among other things, low self esteem.  The song is called, "Dr. B.L.T.'s Self-Esteam Engine," and I think your bar tender friend just may be willing to download it for you, and, if you don't have a CD player, even play it for you.  He can download it here:  

Link to Dr. B.L.T.'s Self-Esteam Engine: 
http://www.drblt.com/freesong.htm 

Have him scroll down about nine songs to get the song tailored for you. 

 He seems like a good friend for you.  Bartenders often consider themselves to be informal shrinks in their own right, and I can understand how they arrive at this notion.  Though they may not have the educational training, many have had the experience of hearing and responding to all sorts of problems.  Of course, I would recommend that, after your friend gives you the song, you inform him that you are an alcoholic, and that, as an alcoholic, you cannot expose yourself to the bar scene.     

As far as your brief excursion into Christianity is concerned, I believe your original decision to follow Christ was genuine, but that it wasn't followed up with something us more seasoned Christian folks refer to as discipleship.  Church is a good place to get that, but you can also become spiritual fed and nurtured by reading the word of God and praying diligently, and with faith in your heart that is at least as big as a mustard seed.  You can also receive spiritual guidance from brothers and sisters in Christ who have had a number of years of rich spiritual growth.   There is a young man by the name of Brian "Head" Welch who lives in my town who is presently under the mentorship of "Pastor Ron" from Valley Bible Church.   He achieved all of the fame and fortune that you set out to achieve (and did achieve, to some degree), and all of that was not satisfying enough for him.  He, like you, was left feeling empty, alone and in a state of total despair.  All of that stuff cannot satisfy the soul, and it cannot enhance a damaged self-esteem.   

http://www.tollbooth.org/2005/features/korn.html 

Ask the Rock Doc:  
Sound Advice for the musically-minded 
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T., 
the Shrink-rappin' Rock Doc 

Details, and, in some cases, the method of communication associated with the following letter may be altered, to protect the confidentiality of the distressed person. 

Dear Rock Doc: 

The day I was invited to be a special guest on Soul Train (you may not be old enough to remember that show), I thought I had "arrived."  I thought that it was my ticket to fame, fortune and all of the trappings that I assumed went with it.  

I had a couple pretty big hit songs back in the day, but then, folks dropped me like a hot potato.  It seemed like my appearance in Soul Train was the steam that kept me going.  I was happy, excited about life and motivated to record more and more hit songs.  

When things didn't happen like I thought they would, I fell into a depression that has lasted for years.  I attempted suicide twice, became an alcoholic and even though I'm in a recovery program, and I'm taking anti-depressant meds, I still struggle with feelings of hopelessness and despair every day.  I even went forward at a Billy Graham crusade for Christ, but that didn't do it either.  I was a terrible husband and father, thinking of nothing but remaining famous, and neglecting my wife and kids.  I lost them, and got just what I deserved, a plunge into loneliness and desperation.  A bar tender at a pub in Chicago told me about your column and he said it was "for musicians in distress." I said, "That's me!"  So he said that if I scribbled out a letter to you, he would print it out nice and neat and deliver it to you though the e-mail.  I am homeless and live on the streets and have no access to a computer.  This bar tender said he had a computer in his office and that it would be no problem.  I hope this works, because I'm at the end of my rope.   

Soul Train Stowaway 
  
Dear Soul Train Stowaway: 

First of all, I would recommend that you see the doctor who prescribed your medication and tell him or her that you are still very depressed.  I'm a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so I'm not an expert on psychiatric medication.  I do work with psychiatrists, and have learned that sometimes medications have to be adjusted to suit certain individuals.  Certain medications may work for one person, and not for another.  It is important to make sure that you are taking the right medication for you, and the right dosage as well.  A dosage that might be effective for another person, may not be effective for you.  I've been told that prescriptions are like clothing, they need to be tailored to fit---in the case of psych meds, you might say "shrink to fit (pun intended)." 

Also, in terms of the medication, it cannot take away deeply rooted feelings of low self-esteem, or the emotional trauma that may have contributed to you developing low self-esteem.  I don't know you, but I would seriously question the notion that you were a bad husband and a bad father.  Perhaps you were simply a struggling husband, and a struggling father.  Struggling with human weakness does not make you a bad anything-it simply makes you a human being.  Moreover, you may have lacked some important communication skills and parenting skills that would have rendered you more effective.  

I would recommend that you take some parenting classes.  In addition to making you a more effective father, if you ever have children again, it will help you achieve your goals as a parent, and it will help you feel more confident in your relationship with your children.  There are parenting classes available in most communities for folks who are lacking in financial resources.  If you let me know where you live, I can help you out with that.  

If you ever get into a relationship again in which marriage looks like a possibility, I'd recommend pre-marital counseling so that you can prevent some of the problems that occurred in your last marriage from happening again.

Counseling, or psychotherapy, in general is a good idea for someone in your situation.  Once again, if you let me know where you live, I'll try to find some counseling for folks who are lacking in financial resources.  

As you know, I often recommend music for musicians in distress.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a soul man-I'm the rock doc.  But after reaching deep into my musical doctor's bag, I did happen to find a song with a little soul flavor in the mix, it's actually a rap song I wrote for folks like you who are apparently suffering from, among other things, low self esteem.  The song is called, "Dr. B.L.T.'s Self-Esteam Engine," and I think your bar tender friend just may be willing to download it for you, and, if you don't have a CD player, even play it for you.  He can download that song here: (scroll down approximately 9 songs)

Dr. B.L.T.'s Self-Esteam Engine: 
http://www.drblt.com/freesong.htm 

He seems like a good friend for you.  Bartenders often consider themselves to be informal shrinks in their own right, and I can understand how they arrive at this notion.  Though they may not have the educational training, many have had the experience of hearing and responding to all sorts of problems.  Of course, I would recommend that, after your friend gives you the song, you inform him that you are an alcoholic, and that, as an alcoholic, you cannot expose yourself to the bar scene.     

As far as your brief excursion into Christianity is concerned, I believe your original decision to follow Christ was genuine, but that it wasn't followed up with something us more seasoned Christian folks refer to as discipleship.  Church is a good place to get that, but you can also become spiritual fed and nurtured by reading the word of God and praying diligently, and with faith in your heart that is at least as big as a mustard seed.  You can also receive spiritual guidance from brothers and sisters in Christ who have had a number of years of rich spiritual growth.   There is a young man by the name of Brian "Head" Welch who lives in my town who is presently under the mentorship of "Pastor Ron" from Valley Bible Church.   He achieved all of the fame and fortune that you set out to achieve (and did achieve, to some degree), and all of that was not satisfying enough for him.  He, like you, was left feeling empty, alone and in a state of total despair.  All of that stuff cannot satisfy the soul, and it cannot enhance a damaged self-esteem.   

When you successfully give up the alcohol, and, with a help of a trained professional, begin to discover the roots of your self-esteem issues, you will be able to boldly climb aboard my "Self-Esteam Engine."  Be on the lookout!  I'll be stopping by a station near you! 

If you are a musician-in-distress, or a parent of one, please share your concerns with me via this e-mail address: 
drblt@drblt.com 
 
 
 

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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