I thought that this was just how we, with our human frailties and our inherent drive towards contact-in-relationship, seek to make intimate connections. Granted, it’s not the ideal way to meet all of our relational needs although – hang on to your hats here – it probably is the best way to meet our sexual needs. (Needs which, astonishingly, failed to get a mention on last night’s programme.) Yes, we sometimes use sex as a shortcut to intimacy. Yes, this is not always in our best interests. Yes, we often expect our relationships to transform our lives and feel disillusioned when they don’t. But I always thought this was a part of the human emotional landscape which may or may not require psychotherapy, depending on the impact on the individual. Silly old me. No, apparently this is a disease called sex addiction, which is soon to be an epidemic and – get this bit – requires an industry of sex addiction centres to make these people normal again. Ouch. Get thee behind me, capitalism.
And it got better. Ulrika was then invited into ‘equine-assisted psychotherapy’, complete with an ‘equine therapist’ who was either a 15-hand chestnut or a woman with unfeasibly long hair tied back in a very swishy pony tail. You know how owners start to look like their pets? She couldn't quite shoo the flies away yet, but you could imagine her practising in the privacy of her bedroom. It was not clear who was the therapist, or indeed, who actually knew what was going on here. Ulrika cried because she picked the first horse that she saw. This, observed the woman with the unfeasibly long hair, is also "her blueprint for picking a mate", thus demonstrating consummate assessment skills considering she had only known Ulrika for a few minutes.
“After these revelations, it isn’t taking much to destabilise Ulrika” said the voice over. I think we missed the boat on that one some time ago. Ulrika was then invited to tell the horse what she was feeling, which I suppose just about beats talking to a cushion.
“It is hard to believe that Ulrika has just revealed one of her deepest insecurities to a horse”, said the voice over. Hard to believe? I was wetting myself. The horse was starting to look a bit embarrassed. He’d only taken the gig to get his equity card, and he was clearly wondering whether his TV career was already over.
My prescription for Ulrika is to avoid the tendency of advanced capitalist cultures to attempt to manage our alienation from our core relational needs by pathologising any emotional twinge into a condition that requires treatment.
* More on this later. Yes, much more on this later.
Cartoon by Cathy Thorne at everdaypeoplecartoons.com