Pubdate: Tue, 19 Nov 2002
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2002 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: Jana Rockne


The snide remarks editor Bill Thomas made in his Nov. 10 letter from the
editor, "Setting a new standard for the judgeship," were grossly unfair to
the many people who seek counseling to address serious mental health and/or
substance abuse issues. "Feel-good" counseling is an oxymoronic term, as
anyone who has struggled with depression, divorce, death, schizophrenia or
substance abuse knows. The days where a counselor advised "if it feels good,
do it" are long gone. Any responsible member of the press should know this.

Thomas failed in his duty to the public to report societal concerns with
objectivity and truth. Making the decision to seek counseling is often
extremely difficult, due in large part to the scorn people show toward those
of us who are less than perfect. Counseling offers no excuse for bad
behavior. It helps to change behavior so this world is a more sane place in
which to live. Shame on Thomas for his arrogant sense of self-righteousness.
And congratulations to Judge Haley for having the courage and leadership to
express the wide range of feelings he has regarding Judge Gilbert. I am so
impressed with Judge Haley's willingness to state publicly that Judge
Gilbert's lapse of judgment may be due to a more serious substance abuse
problem. Rigid thinking such as Mr. Thomas' would have Gilbert tried and
executed before he's had an opportunity to redeem himself.

For the unenlightened and ill-advised, please know counseling of any sort is
rarely a walk in the park. The process can be deeply painful. It can hurt
the person seeking counseling, their family members and those closest to the
client (which should be of some minor consolation to Mr. Thomas). But it can
lead to a better life. There are a multitude who will support people in
their effort.

Jana Rockne

Traverse City
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