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Why "Geek Therapy" Works

August 8, 2014
A growing number of therapists are using this "geek therapy," but what is it? This is a term used to describe the implementation of things considered "geeky" in therapy to help connect with a client. For example, my Star Wars water bottle or framed Doctor Who inspirational quotes (the latter of which only exist in my imaginary office--for now!). It's a curiously "newfangled" term and yet, geeks have been around since the dawn of civilization. Ok, I have no research to back that up, but surely it's true. How do we explain being so passionate about what we do or like if not by genetic predisposition coupled with a nurturing environment that brought such geekery to fruition?  

(^This is the thing I want. In a frame.^)

In today's environment, I am happy to say, being a geek or a nerd is much more accepted than when I was a child. I remember the first time I was called a nerd, and how it was said in such a negative way. I remember how my mother was upset. I remember how my feelings were hurt by it, because why would my mother be upset unless being a "nerd" was a bad thing? Today, being "geeky" appears to be accepted by the mainstream society, and it feels amazing to have so many new friends in the geekdom!

To me, being a geek is about being genuine about the things that we like without being ashamed or embarrassed, even if doing so makes us unpopular with the majority, even if it makes us outcasts. It's about being true to ourselves, being real.

In therapy, decades of research shows that possibly the most helpful aspect of therapy, what helps us heal, is the therapeutic relationship itself. That is, the relationship between a client and their therapist. How genuine that relationship is, or how genuine the person perceives their therapist to be is related to the outcome of treatment. The interpersonal aspects of the therapeutic relationship that are cited in the literature include warmth, empathy, and being genuine. How a therapist is able to relate to a client influences the outcome of psychotherapy.

Considering that the implementation of geek culture in treatment can help therapists relate to some clients better, it's no wonder that its effective implementation, where appropriate, may have a positive influence on the outcome of psychotherapy. Letting our geeky sides show in some cases may help our clients experience us as real, genuine people, and help them feel comfortable and safe within the therapeutic relationship. And isn't that what they deserve?
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