Psychotherapist Mark Lang explains how Bob Dylan helped him to become a Psychotherapist.
While working on a project with a client during, “Mental Health Awareness” month, I had the honor of meeting and working along side many individuals in the field of Mental Health. Counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and techs, volunteers of all kinds, and public speakers were all doing their part to share information on the subject. One evening, as an event was starting to wind down, I noticed through the fast moving bodies, a man sitting down reading, “Tarantula,” a book of experimental prose poetry by Bob Dylan. As I approached him, I noticed the book marker on the chair next to him with the Bob Dylan quote, “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.” His name was Mark Lang, a South Florida based Psychotherapist and founder of, Mark Lang Talk Therapy. After a greet and some small talk about the event, I asked him about his love for Bob Dylan. His initial words were, “Bob is a God to me.” With that statement, I pulled out my phone and started to record our converation. This was his story on why Bob was so important to him:
“As a mental health professional for the majority of my life, my first therapist was Bob Dylan. He was a life coach, mentor, father figure, and gave me a view of the world while I was too young to see. I am a historian of his work and how he has conducted himself as a person. Bob was and always will be my role model.
Bob was a risk taker with a notion that eventually became reality. He had a desire to visit Woody Guthrie on his deathbed, which would become a lesson in sacrifice, resilience and determination. He never settled, and constantly reinvented himself. I learned how to deal with authority figures from his stories. In the sixties, he was labeled, “The voice of a new generation.” When asked how he perceived this label, his wit took over spontaneously and he stated, “ I always considered myself a song and dance man.” Another lesson was the importance of having a sense of humor and not taking ourselves too seriously. But he was much more than “Mr. Anti-Establishment.” He is a man of many visions, something everyone should strive for, but most never achieve. Peers and fans respected him, a professional everyone can look up to.
When we all think of Dylan we each have different perceptions. When I felt depressed over a breakup, I found comfort in “Love Sick.” It taught me the meaning of loss and grief. The hopeless or hopeful romantic in me understood his words in, “Girl From The North Country.” And the unrequited love of, “Boots of Spanish Leather,” taught me another kind of love: Knowing when to let go, and to let his lover grow without him. He challenged my curiosity about the human condition with his writing of, “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” teaching me humility and gratitude, discrimination, poverty, hunger, loss of hope and faith, hallucinations, death and reincarnation. Mr. Dylan’s lines, “Your children are so hungry, that they don’t know how to smile,” stabs me right in the heart. This was my first exposure to a biopsychosocial, which eventually geared me towards my profession.”
Contact Mark Lang at:
3301 South Palm Aire Drive Suite 207, Pompano Beach, FL, 33069