Category: Interviews

Artist of the month: Chuck Prophet and here’s a song that will lead into our topic: “Barely Exist”


I’ve been practicing psychotherapy for over forty years. Early  in my career, I studied an approach called Transactional Analysis (TA), made popular by the books “Games People Play,” by Eric Berne and “I’m Okay-You’re Okay” by Thomas Harris. Both of these books introduced the concepts of life scripts, games, rackets, strokes, relationship transactions and the most universally known (and unfortunately commandeered by various writers without giving credit)the idea of the inner child. One of TA’s concept is the sweatshirt. The sweatshirt as a metaphor is a shorthand way that announces to the world the way you might feel about yourself. For example a patient of mine (let’s call him “L”)recently told me that he thinks of himself as a loser. In the very next sentence he announced that he has to be perfect in all endeavors. His metaphorical sweatshirt on the front might read “Loser,” on the back “Be Perfect.” On reflection he recognized his dilemma. Since it’s impossible to be perfect he’s set up to fail and therefore to feel the horribly negative way he feels — a loser. This patient did not yet have the awareness — as we’ve discussed here in earlier blogs — to see his accomplishments and/or to give himself silent and open credit for them, taking them in deeply and experiencing them fully.

Sometimes a sweatshirt is evident in body language, in facial expressions, and of course in the words you use. The sweatshirt you wear can be positive on one side, negative on the other. It can be positive on both sides or negative on both sides. It can tell the world how you feel about yourself and how you feel about other people e.g. I’m Okay, You’re Okay or the different variations of those two psychological positions.

Using the metaphor of the sweatshirt can give you a sense of how  and what you’d like to change in your life, the message you’d like to give yourself and give to the world. So let’s have some fun with this. Think about your sweatshirt. What’s on the front and what’s on the back? What sweatshirt banner would you like to change? Maybe you have multiple sweatshirts in your psychological wardrobe. Take them out of your drawers examine them and decide what you want to keep and what you’d send off to Good Will. If your sweatshirt(s) indicate a specific problem and you want help with it send Dr. Ike your question and he’ll make sure you learn how to change the banner.

For those of you in the tattoo generation you can substitute tatts for sweatshirts. Let us know the tattoos you wear. A tattoo is obviously harder to change, but you can always get a rose  and make it more prominent than the words “I’m a Loser.”

Today’s musical set:

“Creep,” Radiohead


“The Child In Us” Enigma


“Children In Bloom” Counting Crows




27 thoughts on “Your Sweatshirt

  1. And now for the coup de grace…a black or bright red sweatshirt:

    Front: Failure to Read the Label
    Back: Can Result in Death or Severe injury

    That would turn some heads :))

      1. Just an evil sense of humor to lighten the mood but keep things nice and sharp and everyone on their toes! I am certain that all who are fundamentally honest with themselves can relate and will get a smile if not a chuckle…

        1. For musical accompaniment I recommend “Handle With Care” by the Traveling Wilburys and “Burning Love” by the King of Rock and Roll…

          1. Humor is a mask and an aggressive one but through it we can share our depths without drowning ourselves or anyone else…

  2. Or how about this?

    Front: Dispose of Properly
    Back: Do Not Incinerate

    I would seriously wear something like this!

  3. The front is “I’m so sexy.” The back is “Don’t touch.” As I read this I figured out why I’m alone. Everyone says I should have no trouble meeting a man and have a relationship. No problem meeting. Just have problems keeping. Can you help with this?

  4. I have big “To Do” list. Is on the front of mine. On the back: My list of accomplishments is nonexistent!

    1. Hard to believe that your accomplishments are nonexistent Mara. Take ten minutes and start with the simplest accomplishments and start from there. For example you know how to use a computer and you can write and spell. We can all see that’s true. Here’s Hall and Oats, “Kiss On My List.”

  5. Front: Congrats on your promotion! You deserved it.
    Back: I worked my ass off while you kissed ass. I hate you and this job!

  6. Front of shirt – Thanks for giving me your seat on the bus!

    Back: I am fat , not pregnant and you have depressed me even more.

  7. The front: I can do what it takes to get ahead and I don’t care what you say.
    The back: I need a hug and my back rubbed.

  8. Not sure I am comfortable sharing this shirt but it fits me perfectly.
    Front – I love you!
    Back – I lie!

  9. Front: “Look here now” (with some sort of graphic to have it appear philosophical rather than sexual)
    Back: “We met, and now we are different” (with a graphic representing a friendly current of exchange)

    That sweatshirt will successfully put off anyone uninterested in meaningful contact and may be a conversation starter with the right person.

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