lou walsh, lcpc

30 n. michigan avenue

suite 1516

chicago, illinois 60602

312.514.5689 louwalsh6@aol.com


about lou


curriculum vitae

helpful resources

directions and insurance

Confessions of a Dryel Addict

Dryel is a miracle.  It is also a lot of fun.  If you are not familiar with this creation, Dryel is a dry cleaning substitute.  In the box they provide, you get your own dry cleaning bag to keep your garments from touching the dryer, along with little towels that are treated with dry cleaning fluid.  Throw your delicates in the dryer on low, and presto!  Your clothes smell like you just got them back from the cleaners.  (I’d say it was just like getting them martinized but I still don’t know what that means.)

Anyway, I stuck my figurative toe in the Dryel water one day with some sweaters that seemed like they would be okay in the dryer.  Later, I got gutsy and graduated to silks.  Soon I was obsessed with the great smell and I was Dryeling everything - cotton sheets, pajamas, and all manner of everyday items - to aromatic perfection.  I knew I’d gone overboard, but it was just so grand to have everything smell clean all the time. 

I admit it, I love the stuff.  Amazingly, though, I was aware of the benefits for almost two years before I tried it.  I didn’t have the nerve to change.  I mean, taking your clothes to the dry cleaner is expensive and time-consuming, but I was familiar with dry cleaning, and so I refused to change, until the day that I had a Clothing Emergency.  I had to be somewhere in an hour and a half and had no clean clothes.  It was baptism by dryer, but at last I was liberated. 

Women who used to see me in the laundry room of my old building with my Dryel bag would stop me and ask how I liked it.  Everyone was curious, having heard about it themselves.  And I would always get very evangelical, although I would tell them not to use the stain removing fluid they give you - better to just get stains taken off at the real cleaners.  But if you need to be somewhere quickly in fresh looking clothes, it is wonderful.

The folks at Procter & Gamble would be thrilled if I could convert the world to Dryeling.  However, I can’t say how soon the people I talk to will try it, or if they ever will.  It’s beyond my control and I have to accept this.

That’s how I understand the difficulty for my clients in making changes in their lives.  Even when we say we badly want to change, we cling to the familiar.  See, we may be in hell, but it’s a hell we understand, instead of the frightening unknown.  And what’s scarier in life than ruining your drycleanables?

Okay, maybe a lot of things.  There are many ways we could all change.  But instead of looking inward and confronting the terror of personal change, most of us look outside of ourselves for fixer-upper people.  We all know someone else we’d like to fix.  Projects could range from something as big as getting someone to attend AA, to something as small as convincing a friend to change the hairstyle they’ve had since 1980.  We are all experts at improving the lives of others, because we can be objective about them.  And we become frustrated when loved ones either don’t heed our advice, or they do, but do not make the effort to change.

If it were so easy to get others to change, I would only see each client once.  But, like discovering the joys of Dryel, change is a personal journey.  It takes time to not only reach our insight but to actually summon the courage to do something with it. 

Are you frustrated by someone who won’t change?  Or are you frustrated by your own inability to do the good thing, the smart thing, to stop eating this or that, stop lying around when you should be exercising, stop dating people who ultimately leave you dissatisfied with them and yourself?  Probably, but you have your reasons for not changing right now.  And I guarantee to you that the person in your life that you want to fix has their reasons for holding onto their old ways, too.

Why do we need to fix other people?  Let me float this theory:  It’s a lot easier to agonize over their weaknesses than our own.  But isn’t it tempting to try to fix others anyway?

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on the principle that change has to be initiated by the individual, not family, friends, other loved ones, or even health professionals.

The companion program, Al Anon, was created so that people with alcohol abusers in their lives would have a place to go to learn to take care of themselves.  Al Anon members learn to give up control over others, since they never had it anyway.

Naturally, when we make that great leap of change, and it feels good, we want everybody to feel as good as we do.  We get evangelical, crowing about the benefits of doing things Our Way.  And it’s hard to remember that we were once stuck, too.  We want others to avoid the hurt and pain we encountered in our former routines.

I hope it helps to realize that no matter where you are in your life, no matter how well, you’re doing, there’s somebody out there who still thinks you should change according to their plan for you.  Maybe this can help us to be patient with that person in our lives we know we could fix if they would just -- let us.