Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 02/20/98

Saturday, February 14, 1998

Sunday, February 15, 1998

Monday, February 16, 1998

President's Day Holiday

Tuesday, February 17, 1998

10 am. Telephone Conversation with Sharon Lough. Sharon called to cancel her appointment. She's been diagnosed with Stage III endometriosis, although she desires a second opinion. She has heavy vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. She's scheduled for a laparoscopic procedure on Friday. I was very glad that she sought and is receiving immediate medical treatment, especially after her willingness to consider dying of a disease in a romantic light--a desirable tragedy. She asked for prescription pain killers, but she knew that I wasn't going to prescribe them. I don't even think she seriously wanted them.

3 pm. Eighth Session with Rachel Tanner. Rachel has suffered a setback. Her hair is disheveled--suspicious looking. She's back to ritualized counting and hair pulling. She came in with dark circles under the eyes and she looks like she's lost weight. Rachel was also antagonistic towards me during the session. She blames me for allowing her to go back to school before she was really ready. She's reacting to the stresses of school by reverting to her old OCD habits; although the fluoxetine is clearly helping her conquer the OCD when she puts her mind to it, it's easier to fall back into comforting rituals. If the next session is like this one, I'd like to consider increasing her dosage from 20 mg to 30 mg. I wasn't about to play into her efforts to blame me for the stress of school, especially because Rachel also seemed more closed this time, less trusting perhaps. I decided not to probe at all but rather to focus on some guided relaxation exercises instead. I tried to make her understand that OCD is something that she will have to be vigilant against. She has conquered it before and she can again, but she has to be aware that if she isn't on her guard, it can creep up on her. She's been coping with her stress by using ritualized behaviors for a long time now, and it isn't something that's just going to go away, even with drugs. The last time I saw Rachel was before my vacation on January 6th. That's a month and a half ago. If I was seeing Rachel more regularly, we could have caught this before it got so bad. I must urge Rachel not to cancel her sessions.

4 pm. Sixth Session with Olivia Stillwell. The police apprehended Olivia's attackers and asked her to go down and identify them from a line-up. Stephanie and she both independently identified their attackers, but then discovered that they were the sons of diplomats and were protected from criminal prosecution under a claim of diplomatic immunity! Olivia is angry to the point of violence, and although I see her anger as quite justifiable under the circumstances, I thought it was important that we try to get it under her control. I told her that she isn't powerless--even if she can't get her assailants through the police, she can still protest to the State Department and try to get them expelled from the country. I also urged her to take the matter up with the University where these individuals are going to school. I think it's important for Olivia to take some proactive steps in her own defense, so that she doesn't feel like a helpless victim. I find it odd that both attackers would be protected under a claim of diplomatic immunity. Do diplomat's kids get together at the University to go and commit violent, senseless crimes? I wonder if somehow they were able to fake the claim of immunity--I would certainly like it if at least one of them were subject to prosecution. Perhaps her assailants will be able to avoid punishment for what they've done, but it's important that Olivia move past this and that this one incident doesn't paralyze her. I also urged her to talk with others about her feelings relating to the incident. Talking about it will help neutralize the psychological damage that she's suffered. Olivia also briefly met Katherine Lippard in a work context and thought that she was an "ultra bitch" in her work persona, although she said that she could sense that there was a spark of someone human underneath the cold, hard, executive woman exterior. But she made a strong impression on Olivia.

Wednesday, February 18, 1998

2 pm. Telephone Conversation with Claire Steven. Claire called, evidently very nervous. I tried my best to calm her down, and think I sort of succeeded. Apparently, after our first session, she walked away with the impression that I didn't consider her problems as serious. I tried to disabuse her of that notion, and she scheduled a session for next week. At the end of our conversation, I was about to hang up the phone, but she obviously wanted to talk about her current problem, so I listened. She admitted to having cyclical patterns to her interest in sex and she told me that she was the currently the aggressor in initiating sexual contact with her husband. But he is apparently not overly interested right now. Claire believes that her current interest in sex is likely to give way to a period where she will have to work hard to get herself into the mood.

5 pm. Thirty-Third Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex was giddy with excitement over the birth of his younger brother, Aaron Justin Jarrod. Alex's mother sounds like she suffered from preeclampsia. Alex said that her blood pressure rose precipitously during the delivery, and that immediately afterwards, she had a grand mal seizure and then stopped breathing. Alex mentioned toxemia and high blood sugar. Apparently, they administered CPR after her heart failed, and they were able to revive her. She's stable now and out of the intensive care unit, but it clearly shook Alex, although the only emotion that he reported was one of guilt--he feels that he wished it on her. Of course, I tried to reassure him that he wasn't responsible for her complications related to childbirth. Alex was contacted by Cecil, the lawyer that Ralph contacted who is coordinating Alex's planned testimony against Benny with the district attorney's office. Alex now doesn't wish to testify, but he never told Cecil that. Cecil told Alex that Benny's trial is coming up. Alex believes that they have enough evidence to convict Benny without his testimony. I said that I didn't know, but I pointed out to Alex that even if he desires to avoid testifying, his testimony can be compelled by subpoena. Alex thought that he had achieved closure on that part of his life with his letter to Benny, but I had to point out that it was just the beginning. He was able to confide in Luke about Benny, which I think is a positive development, although Alex is still having difficulties with physical intimacy. Although he hasn't been able to tell Luke about Joe, he was able to confide in Tony, his friend who submitted to sexual slavery. Both of them found a common bond when they each confided to the other that there were parts of their ordeal which gave them physical pleasure. At the very end of the session, Alex told me that he had been a truant from school--he'd missed eight days. The school administrators contacted social services and spoke with Martin Silverman, Alex's caseworker. The school wants to expel Alex, which would obviously not be in his best interests. I told Alex that I would run interference for him this time with his caseworker but I obviously don't approve of Alex's actions and I think it important that he ultimately suffer the consequences of his behavior.

Thursday, February 19, 1998

4 pm. Seventieth Session with Anna Green. Kathy had a prenatal test which revealed the possibility that her baby has Down's syndrome. Martin has fled the apartment, saying that he needs time alone. Ironically, Anna was left to comfort Kathy, who seemingly vacillates between hysteria and a determination to have the child come what may. Kathy has expressed the sentiment that a Down's syndrome baby will always love and need her--a notion that appalls Anna. Martin and Anna are both urging Kathy to have an abortion, but Kathy will not. Anna, too, has had a change of heart about Martin. Although it's obviously causing her a lot of guilt, Anna isn't interested in becoming the mother to a child who has Down's syndrome and who isn't hers. She seems to feel that Martin has too many deficits right now to continue on in her quest to win him away from Kathy. Last week, Martin said that he gave Anna her freedom, and this week Anna seems inclined to take him up on it.

Friday, February 20, 1998

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