LA Kings: Therapy Openness Warrants Further Respect for Drew Doughty
This past Thursday, LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was a guest on “In the Crease” to discuss seeing a psychiatrist.
Whether by members of the team, the media, or as fans, Drew Doughty has established himself in a myriad of ways since joining the LA Kings back in 2008. From being a comedic talent in commercials to a fearless leader on the ice, Doughty has certainly made his mark in his near-decade-and-a-half in Los Angeles. This past week, though, another layer was peeled off the Dewy onion, so to speak, as the Kings’ great No. 8 opened up about seeing a psychiatrist while a guest on the “In the Crease” podcast.
On this past Thursday’s “In the Crease” episode “Accepting Change & Seeking Help”, Doughty spoke about seeing a psychiatrist with hosts Linda Cohn and Emily Kaplan.
“There was a time when I did go to, like, therapy, like, a psychiatrist just to kind of talk about things and how to deal with them,” Doughty said on the podcast.
Since they last won the Stanley Cup in 2014, the LA Kings fell on some hard times.
Being slighted with no cap relief following the Slava Voynov exodus in the fall of 2014, the Kings were forced to adapt to an unpleasant situation for the much of the 2014-15 season. So, while they did show promise at times, the Kings were constantly trying to dig themselves out of an insurmountable hole. This, despite the tireless efforts of Drew Doughty, who led the club’s defensive corps by playing nearly 30 minutes a night. But, Doughty’s responsibilities never wavered and, despite the team winning just one playoff game since 2014, the London, Ont., native rarely had anything to hang his head over. Nevertheless, these responsibilities took a heavy toll on the 2016 Norris Trophy winner — so much so that he looked into therapy.
“In my head, I didn’t think I was playing that bad but everyone around me– not around me — but in the media and stuff thought I was playing bad,” Doughty shared. “So, that was something I struggled with, I went to therapy for a bit for. I don’t know whether therapy helped me or not — I’m not going to lie, I don’t really think it did.”
JUST RELEASED!! The latest episode of @espn In The Crease Podcast with me and @emilymkaplan. @LAKings Drew Doughty joins us & tells us, among other things, why he went to see a psychiatrist. Plus our takes on Eichel, E.Kane & @NHL Vax drama! 👂👇https://t.co/BGYUo3YYWV pic.twitter.com/HTPk8f36fY
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) September 24, 2021
While some may think it’s unfortunate that therapy didn’t help Doughty, it is imperative to remember that it isn’t for everybody — not, at least, in every situation. Still, the two-time Olympic gold medalist at least made the effort.
“I tried it,” Doughty reflected. “I was trying anything at that point really to see what we could do to get the mind straight again.”
Whether he will try therapy again or not is unknown, but Drew Doughty nonetheless took a courageous step that deserves praise.
While many of us may not know Drew Doughty outside of a game or media setting, we can at least be empathetic towards the blueliner for his desire to keep getting better both as a player and as a person. It has certainly been fascinating — and, if I may say so, a pleasure — watching Doughty grow both as a player and as a person.
While he has boasted that infallible passion since day one, we have less of Drew Doughty’s hot-headedness in recent years, for instance, and more of an assertive speaker who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is without being harsh. More importantly, though, the two-time Stanley Cup champion is upfront about his decision to see a psychiatrist at a time when there remains the stigma of those seeking help being, for lack of a better term, weak. Of course, if the likes of Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes or, more recently, tennis pro Naomi Osaka and superstar gymnast Simon Biles are any indication, admitting that you need help is no longer a sign of weakness — not that it ever should have been, of course — but a badge of honour. As someone who has battled depression and anxiety for the duration of his adult life, I can’t help but applaud Drew Doughty for coming forward about seeing a psychiatrist.
This admission by the former Guelph Storm only magnifies just how passionate and dedicated he is at his craft and how much he wants to succeed. That should be the desire of any human being who wants to make the best out of life and Drew Doughty, especially after this past week, resembles that to a T.
Never again should we see or hear about the archaic attitude that psychiatry isn’t a real science or that there must be something wrong with those who seek therapy. Never before should we see machismo-laden coaches yelling at their kids for shedding a tear in face of pressure or rejection. Drew Doughty, whether or not it was his intention, has come out and shown that it’s okay to ask for help. As mentioned, therapy may not be for everybody but having the courage to make that effort is paramount. That is exactly what Doughty did, proving seeking therapy didn’t mean there was something wrong about him, but rather something human. That alone is crucial to remember for anyone feeling reluctant about seeking help.
Drew Doughty is just one of many intriguing storylines for the LA Kings entering the 2021-22 season but the 31-year-old only continues to prove that, no matter how he fares on the ice, he is on another level. It’s more than enough to make the Kings and their ever-loyal fanbase proud to have Mr. Doughty on their team.
To listen to the full episode, click here.