Get used to failure – that’s one of the main themes coming out of Mark Vegh’s self-published memoir: A Broken Therapist’s Guide to Completeness.
While Vegh is a registered clinical counsellor, working as a child and youth mental health therapist, he doesn’t profess to be perfect, or lecture his readers on what they’re doing wrong. But he does describe his own failed experiences with the intent of helping others overcome conflict a lot better than he used to.
“Everyone has problems big and small,” he said. “Us humans want to be resilient and push ourselves through. We do a lot of weird things to get through our problems that often leave us delusional, tainted, fragmented.”
Of which A Broken Therapist’s Guide to Completeness outlines.
Vegh is hosting a book launch on Saturday, March 31 at VQA Wines in Sardis from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
This isn’t your typical, know-it-all, Dr. Phil like self-help book. While Vegh has extensive experience in counseling and has a bachelor of arts degree in pastoral theology, a masters in family counseling, and specializes in dialectical behaviour therapy, which is the advice he presents throughout the book, he’s taken a more humble approach.
Vegh is the first to admit he’s failed – a lot.
“I explain my own follies in the book,” he said. “Probably my biggest being twice divorced by the time I turned 27; both marriages combined totaling 11 months. I was a walking, talking paradox carrying a boat load of shame.”
Rather than confront his emotions, he put up defenses. When a friend disapproved of his divorces and told him he’d pray for him, Vegh sat at the table smiling and nodding, but in his head, he silently cursed out his friend, and couldn’t get away from him fast enough.
“My defense was I’m going to show you a smiling face, but walk away completely pissed off and maybe not talk to you again,” he said.
Had Vegh used dialectics, he believes the outcome would have been better.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a tool that uses resolution of disagreement through rational discussion and counter discussion. Rather than bottle emotions up, it’s more effective to listen and communicate, said Vegh.
“You don’t have to like or agree with the person, but you also don’t have to resent them,” he said. “You can fully listen, and sincerely try to understand their points of view, but at the same time, your identity doesn’t have to fall apart.”
Vegh never imagined himself a writer. But a year and a half ago, he started writing a letter to his three children in the hopes of leaving them something they could fall back on long after he was gone. Ten pages in, he realized the letter was something more.
“I heard a long time ago that you don’t get over yourself until you’re really old, but I wanted to do that a lot sooner,” Vegh said. “No matter what age you are, don’t wait until you’re really old to get over your hurt and bitterness. You can do that quite quickly, I think, with the way you handle your experiences.”
Vegh hopes to evolve this book into a series of books using the Broken Therapist theme.
A Broken Therapist’s Guide to Completeness can be purchased at the book launch, as well as online at www.xlibris.com for $19.99.
For more information, visit the website www.abrokentherapist.com.