Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ask Dr. Helen

I have a new advice column over at Pajama's Media called "Ask Dr. Helen" where readers can ask questions and have them answered:

She’s wearing her Pajamas and she’s ready for your questions.

Dr. Helen Smith, the forensic psychologist and blogger from Knoxville, Tennessee, co-star of PJM’s Glenn and Helen Show, also known popularly as the Instawife, kicks off her new advice column with an important question on the topic of competence: “What should an adult be able to do?”

Do you have a pressing question that you need help with regarding relationships, men's issues, culture or life in general? Drop a comment below, write one at PJM or email me at askdrhelen at hotmail.com.


Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

Nice start. Hope you can keep it up. Good luck.

11:32 AM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Yishai said...

Good Luck Dr. Helen. I love your blog, and another (popular) venue could only do justice to your thoughts.

11:42 AM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While in therapy for depression I found myself correcting my therapist on what I found to be well meaning and not mean-spirited anti-male bias.

When I expressed that I felt that the field of psychology was biased institutionally towards men she asked me one of those leading "why" questions. To which I replied "because there aren't enough men in your field." She quickly changed the subject.

Over time she stopped making many of those references in our therapy sessions. I'm not sure if it was just to not upset me or because I changed her outlook.

I was facing real issues of depression based upon an un-cureable handicap and I still had to deal with a very biased world view.

What advice can you give to men dealing with situations that call for therapy but find themselves in a field that seems incapable of understanding them?

11:45 AM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Bruce and Yishai,

Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous 11:45:

Great question.

12:04 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote my daughter - kewel!

Best of luck on your new venture!

12:17 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! Good luck to you.

12:49 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do we need to change the whole married environment to make it better for everyone? AKA if you were goddess for a day....

I'm looking at the following:
1. Divorce is too easy which is bad for the children, and also for males.
2. The slant in culture and laws against males needs to be corrected.
3. However, simple equality is not enough because men and women are different, and need different things.
4. Also, it seems to me that women need to be altered. If that seems high-handed, well men have been altered for the last two decades. Sometimes men have even been whipsawed between contrasting demands.
5. There is too much strain on parents. This comes from blue-state academics who suddenly realize that if they become an academic star by fifty, they might have a hard time having children at fifty. It comes from spanking-is-abuse idiots (I hate to namecall, but sometimes its all there is left). It comes from situations like that poor lady blogger who had CPS called on her because someone didn't like her blog. I don't live in a big city, but for urban dwellers, it comes from cops being more interested in traffic tickets than in stopping crime. Our cities don't have to be violent, we choose to let them be because we're afraid of being called racist. Me, if I was a poor black mom, I'd want an officer on every street corner so my child could live.


1:15 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Manos said...

1. Divorce is too easy which is bad for the children, and also for males.

Divorce being easy was good for me as a male because it got me out of an abusive relationship.

1:27 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks because I had wanted to clarify that.

Divorce is good for powerful males. It allows them a serial polygamy with young, hot females. Its also good for young females as it allows more of them to snag for a period of time a very successful and powerful man. But polygamy is a bad idea for a democracy, and just a bad idea all around.

Abusive? Physically abusive? Emotionally abusive?

If its physical, then yes, thats sufficient excuse (Excuses: 1. Infidelity 2. Physical abuse of self or children.)

However, my experience is...I've met perhaps five women in my life that could have beaten me up out of the thousands I've met. One was a young titaness with an energy level that was overwhelming, and another was a happily sadistic prison guard. Now granted, I'm bigger than most guys, but still, the average guy can probably flatten 99% of women.

Emotional abuse? Well, I'm even less inclined to agree here. Again, this may be my experience but I have to hold back in arguement to keep from being too rough on females.


1:45 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Mike Netherland said...

One of things adults should be able to do is to stop using honorifics and titles (such as Dr. and Mr.) with first names. The old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" is, I think, still applicable to human society.

After kindergarten, I think, those parents still referring to other adults, even when there are NO children in earshot, as Mr. So and So, are ridiculous. So grow up, Dr. Smith. Start a trend.

2:24 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Tennwriter wrote: "Divorce is too easy which is bad for the children, and also for males."

I am feeling contrary! What if marriage is too easy?

What if having children is too easy?

I see a tough side of parenthood. Parents who have had 4 children taken away from them due to abuse or neglect, and they have more. Or she does.

Frankly, just writing that maybe marriage or prenthood is too easy kinda makes me cringe. What is the alternative? And I would not trust anyone else to make those decisions. But maybe the questions will spur something interesting.


3:15 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Manos said...


Not sure how you turned divorce into an issue of polygamy. A high divorce rate is indicative of a strong economy and choice - for both men and women. Look at places in the world with low divorce rates and you'll probably find less freedom.

A high divorce rate is not in and of itself a bad thing. I am more concerned that - especially when chidlren enter the picture - men lose equal standing in legal proceedings.

As to abuse, I assume you are not suggesting that only men are capable of abuse, physical or mental.

3:30 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Getting married is probably too easy. Having six months of counselling by your pastor or friendly shrink beforehand should probably be worth a one-time tax cut.

I don't say being a parent is easy. I'm a parent. Its horribly hard (but good at the same time).

We should make it easier to take care of children, and to stay married.


Simple really. Serial marriages aka divorce and remariage is equivalent to serial polygamy. I don't know how to be plainer than that.

On what basis do you say a high divorce rate is indicative of a strong economy? One would think the exact opposite. Investors like long-term, high-yield, and stable endeavors, not contract-breakers.

More freedom? More freedom to break one's word, yes.

Besides, the economy is not the measure of a nation.

As to abuse, a nurse who ran a floor, and then went on to state honors, told her relatives that she saw more cases of males being abused than females. However, I stand by my preceding comment. A guy by nature can defend himself against most, no almost all, woman, unless he is ambushed with a weapon, or she's armed with a gun and gets the drop on him. Now why do you think that guys allow themselves to be abused? And no, I don't think its self-hate.


5:08 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with tmink, and disagree with mike netherland.

In other days it was much harder to get something or somewhere, than it was to keep it afterwards. Now the opposite is true, because most things are too easy to get (and not just marriage licenses and home loans) but harder to keep.

Dr. Helen is called that by those of us who appreciate what it takes to do all she has done to achieve her PhD and various other certificates. The many years put in, and untold hours of work. Actually, she prefers to be called Helen (ask her!), and many do call her that. I prefer to call her Dr. Helen......Mr. Asshole.

5:33 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a few questions:

(1) 9mm vs. .45acp ?
(2) AR vs. AK ?
(3) Smith wheelgun vs. Ruger wheelgun ?

Let the games begin!

6:15 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad post. That'll teach me to go on line from work after loosing a bid on a project.

mike netherland, I apologize. No excuses.

6:19 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Manos said...


I have witnessed abuse of men for the simple fact that the women knew that their man would never lift a finger to harm her - that would destroy his own sense of self worth.

To some, and hopefully few, females, this is used as leverage. That is abuse. There is often a mental health component involved such as borderline personality disorder.

Abuse is not about who can beat up whom, its about power. Abuse is not just about who could bench press the most weight.

When the power of the state is then given over to women with this mindset to have a man kicked out of his own house on their word alone, we have entered a a whole new arena for abuse - abuse of the system.

As to high divorce rates being a sign of freedom, I haven't done a study on the topic. But to use your analogy, most traders hold onto a stock for a short time before selling it. I simply fail to see divorce as a moral issue. If a married couple does not get a long I am grateful that we live in a country were there is no social pressure to keep them together.

8:51 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats about what I expected as an answer. And here's the punch line, bad pun, I guess, anyhoo, we need to teach men to defend themselves.

We need to teach men the first rule of the English gentleman...when not to be a gentleman. I'm all for being kind, courteous, and gentle with females. But, if they start slinging a punch, they should expect to get forcibly sat down in a chair (which is what I've done), and if they really are a threat which since most are incompetent at violence isn't that many, they should expect to get their eyes dotted.

And yes, the legal system would scream bloody murder if a guy did that. So it needs changing.

See the problem is your solution is to add another injury. My solution is to remove the situation which allows the injury in the first place.

In what other economic area is breach of contract considered a plus? Happily, God forgives our sins, or else I'd be in real trouble.


2:05 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Mike Netherland said...

Apology accepted. Better luck on the next project!

7:37 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(1) .45acp (9mm's are for girls)
(2) AR (buy American)
(3) Smith wheelgun

11:07 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Manos said...


I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

11:29 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Evan wrote: "A high divorce rate is not in and of itself a bad thing."

I disagree. Too many children come into my office who are suffering while their parents divorce. Too many come in suffering AFTER their parents have divorced. I am divorced, it was right that I divorce, and I regret it almost every day because it hurts my precious, oldest daughter.


11:49 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Manos said...


Would a married couple staying together "for the kids" really be better? Isn't it too hard to determine which is worse?

Given that I err on the side of more freedom. The freedom to walk. Also a lot of divorces occur with no children involved.

11:25 AM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Evan wrote: "Would a married couple staying together "for the kids" really be better? Isn't it too hard to determine which is worse?"

Evan, making a marriage work for the sake of the children is an improvement, but staying in a sick relationship hurts the children in my experience (personal and professional.) And I agree, it is VERY difficult to determine which is worse, at least it was in my situation. I do not decide many things for the people I work with and for, and that is good in the case of the question you raise which is very complicated.

And I think that the situation is very different with no children. In that case, you have adults who got themselves into the mess and can get themselves out.

I support freedom as well. But I worry about irresponsible freedom. And I have no ideas about how to make it any better!

Thanks for the thoughts, I appreciate thinking about and responding to what you write.


3:07 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen

....not to mention that being able to work from the house full time is a killer dream come true!

7:23 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a hoot to beat the band, and also a good idea from a business point of view, consider DR.Helen T-shirts and coffee mugs.

I'd be drinking my coffee out of an "Ask Dr. Helen" mug right now if I had one to drink out of.

And if tastefully done, I'm good for a half dozen T-shirts!

6:12 AM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well......maybe I was a bit overzealous on the T-shirts. I'll just go for a week's worth. (two)

6:43 PM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you for real? What kind of sicko pajama party are you brewing? GAAAAGGGrossBarfVomit

10:45 PM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

I work from my house all the time. In fact these wireless laptop computers have made it unnecessary for me to even get out of bed most of the time.

I'm thinking of starting to wear Depends, which would be the ultimate in convenience, and make it so I would only have to move my body every couple of days.

Dr. Helen:

On a serious note, I asked you a serious question over at Pajamas Media. I hope you will have time to respond...

3:39 AM, June 30, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


I saw your question over at PJM. I am just glad you got out of the situation safely! As far as feeling guilty? The problem with the third world is that to get something done, it is often necessary to use threats, bribery or other methods. The doctor surely should understand this. You gave him a choice, that is all you could do. If you look at it as a moral question, what is more important? The doc's reputation or the kid's computer lab? If you feel it was the latter, than there is nothing to feel guilty about. Glad you are back.

9:54 AM, July 04, 2007  
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