Shrink Rap


Therapists Talk 
Shrink Rap 


    Michael E. Holtby, LCSW, BCD


A column from the award winning

HIV/AIDS newsletter of Colorado:


This column spanned a period, at the beginning of the

AIDS epidemic, before there were effective anti-retroviral medications.

It reflects a time when I had 90 clients, friends & colleagues die of AIDS,

and I was conducting two HIV therapy groups a week. Many of these

columns are now out of date, but it reflects a pivotal period in my practice.

Index of Articles:


June 1999

"One More Goodbye"

A retrospective look on my two decades with the AIDS epidemic, as I write my last Shrink Rap Column.


April 1999

"Sexual Addictions & HIV"

Explores the nature of sex addictions and their relevance to HIV.


December 1998

"Staying Positive About Being Positive"

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of links between your psychological well-being and your immune system. This article correlates this research with HIV, and staying healthy.


November 1998

"What's Love Got to Do With It?"

A comparison of PWA's mortality rates based upon whether they are isolated, have a partner, and have the support of their families.


September 1998

"When HIV is a Pain"

Pain is an under treated, under rated aspect of the HIV experience. This article reviews the neglect, the resistance to medications which might help, and ways to cope not involving drugs.


July 1998

"Living in the Face of Death"

A review of the books Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom and Steven Schwartzberg's A Crisis of Meaning: How Gay Men Are Making Sense of AIDS.


May 1998

"Life After The Death of a Partner"

A review of Michael Shernoff, LCSW's book: Gay Widowers, and a discussion of the unique grieving process gay men experience.


March 1998

"Legalizing Reefer Madness"

The case for the medical use of marijuana and the federal government's sabotage of its legalization .


March 1998

"Confessions of a Pot Smoker"               by Lee Cantwell

How marijuana saved one PLWA's life from nausea diarrhea and weight loss.


February 1998

"Don't Trust Your Doctor"

Unless you believe that M.D. stands for "medical deity" we have to conclude our doctors are mere mortals. We have to take charge of our own health care to best survive.


November 1997

"HIV & The Internet"

A summary of Internet use from ways to get on-line to hardware to servers. Also covered is e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat rooms and the Web. A large number of links are at the end of the article.


October 1997

"Death by Euphemism"

A look at the way in which the British are masters of indirect communication, and how the principle of double effect is impacting end of life decisions in both the U.K. and the U.S.A.


July 1997

"Mismanaged Mental Health"

We've learned there is a relationship between long-term survival and empowerment, but this is inconsistent with managed health care's autocratic, paternalistic approach.


June 1997

"The Courage to Live"

With the new drug cocktails PWA's may have decades to live instead of a few years. Are they up to the challenge? Do any of us have the courage to transcend lives of "quiet desperation"?


May 1997

"A Depression to Die For."

With HIV, if you are depressed your risk of dying is 1.67 times greater than those who are depression free.


March 1997

"Advanced Medical Directives"

How to write a living will and appoint your health care proxy.


January 1997

"AIDS' Impact on the Right-to-Die Movement"

The extent of AIDS-related suicide and its impact on health professionals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.


November 1996

"Spirit Pony & The Death Shaman"

A tribute to Curt Gartrell and his Harley Davidson Softtail, stolen just before Curt died.


September 1996

"HIV Fears"

A dialogue between a man waiting for the results of an HIV test with another of my clients who has long been tested positive.


August 1996

"The Promise of Protease"

Are protease inhibitors the cure, or only a catnap from the nightmare of a relentlessly progressive disease?


July 1996

"Preparing for the End Game"

The usefulness of PWA's supporting each other, and using the disease as a teacher of how to live.


May 1996

"I Quit"

A critique of managed health care and one provider's decision to quite participation in all preferred provider panels.


March 1996

"Dignity Dead in Committee"

Testifying before the Colorado State Legislature on physician-assisted suicide.


January 1996

"Lets All Wear Red"

Fully living in the face of many dying around us.


October 1995

"Self Deliverance as a Security Blanket"

The option of a hastened death to maintain a sense of control, and a case study.


August 1995

"The True Sissies"

Who is the greater sissy, the drag queen or the closet queen?


June 1995

"Fear of Dying"

Discusses how we die, pain management, and using the time left.


April 1995

"Assisted Suicide -- Gone Wrong"

A profile of one of my clients who smothered his long time lover with a plastic bag after his attempt at suicide tragically failed.


February 1995

"Journey to Authenticity"

A tribute to Father Marty Wolf, a Catholic priest with AIDS who died on Christmas Day, 1994.


December 1994

"Denial: Not Just a River in Egypt"

You have to face your pain, as well as the good stuff. Denial hastens death.


October 1994

"The HIV Positive Secret"

The story of a man erroneously diagnosed as HIV-positive .


August 1994

"The Measure of a Man's Life"

A tribute to a man who had me write his eulogy and use it as a part of his psychotherapy.


These articles are copyrighted and should not be reproduced without the permission of the author:


Last messed with February 23, 2016

Copyright(c) 2001 Michael E. Holtby, LCSW. All rights reserved.