There have been very few instances where I have experienced being with someone who was truly empathic, someone whom I believed wasn't involved with me as part of a transaction, where they received something in exchange for my company or my ideas. Where I believed they were getting the better of the transaction.
The first person was the excavating psychologist whom I paid for psychotherapy at various times during graduate school. Was he perfect? No. Were there empathic failures? Hell yes. Were most of them reparable--yes, until they were not. Still, I think well of him since that time. Because of him, I had a sustained experience of empathy and of being listened to, a rare experience indeed. Especially considering whom came after. Malignant narcissists and many fatally flawed individuals, who just scared me away after taking much of my money.
I am always looking for new business. Ideally, I would be leading various groups of visually impaired individuals. There are many people who persevere on, despite their hardships. I would like to work more with such individuals, clinically. Next, I would like to conduct individual therapy with functional individuals with relationship issues. Third, psychological testing.
It was in pursuit of this last business of which I wish to write upon. Another psychologist was advertising for such psychologists recently. I interviewed with him last week, as well as shadowing him in one of his offices. He is such a nice man and an extremely accomplished psychologist. Just shadowing him and talking with him temporarily made me a nicer, more easy-going, relaxed, empathic person. Temporarily. It's gone now. Just watching him interact with the clients made me realize what I haven't had in such a long time. He actually seemed to care about them and empathize with them about their misfortunes. He was so nice to them. Nice. That wasn't a trait reinforced at Coney Island.
He's nice. He's accomplished. He's competent. He has prestigious degrees. He taught graduate school in prestigious universities. He even taught one of my roommates--and she never mocked him behind his back, a rarity for her. So I never heard of him until I interviewed with him. Believe me, I know most of her professors and employers by name, if not by face.
But---why is such an accomplished man running around working his ass off? He is probably 8 years older than me, long past the time where men I know are saying things like, "I don't work on Fridays, I don't work after 6 p.m." He is commuting from far distant lands to South Brooklyn, not only setting up these testing situations but doing testing. He takes the subway. He takes the bus. Psychologists. They're just like us. Why did he leave a prestigious university position? Doesn't he have a pension? Doesn't he have a busy private practice?
Or is it the same for many of us? We have to constantly be scrabbling for business, constantly working, constantly running to maintain our position. Has psychology in NY become the new fiddler on the roof, where we have to constantly work to maintain our balance, and that balance is a precarious perch at best?
But even in two brief encounters, I felt a sense of admiration for him that I have not felt in such a long time. I don't wish to use the word "love," for it is much misinterpreted. And yet, it is a type of love, a sort of filial love which I might have felt on occasions with the excavating psychologist. An adolescent sort of adoration, complete with, "Does he feel such for me?" Just because I like and admire him doesn't mean he returns my feelings. I believe him to be a competent psychologist--as such, he may be more skilled at hiding his true feelings and be the blank mirror, reflecting only my sensations. It doesn't really matter in the end--he might be mine employer and as such, his only obligation is to pay my fees in a timely fashion. And not lead me down the primrose path of any ethical lapses in the conduct of this business. After all, being nice to patients could ruin a girl for future employment in hospitals and clinics.