Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 06/12/98

Saturday, June 6, 1998

Sunday, June 7, 1998

Monday, June 8, 1998

Tuesday, June 9, 1998

2 pm. Third Session with Logan Marcas. Mr. Marcas seemed in good spirits and was at ease during this session. He didn't mention anything negative about therapy itself. I had a feeling that Logan opened up a bit during this session. Because he was allowed to return back to work without my recommendation, he wasn't as guarded with me--he didn't feel that he needed me as much as before. Although we didn't plumb any particular emotional depth, I did get a feeling that there was genuine remorse for his actions in assaulting Ms. Wolfe. We spoke a bit about Logan's lack of interest in a social life. He apparently "forgot" to call a waitress who gave him her phone number even though he found her both attractive and desirable. He excused himself by referring to the press of work--which included working on his motorcycle. His powerful friendship with Mr. Spunt does seem to have solidified somewhat--Mr. Spunt went so far as to tell Logan that he would have been reinstated by now except for the "legalities" involved. Logan was called in to fix some computer related security problem and does seem to be working well with his co-workers, except for Ms. Wolfe who, until recently, remained in the hospital. I think that it is unlikely to be a harmonious work situation with the two of them sharing power and working side by side. Apparently, my sessions with Mr. Marcas are mostly for form. This way, the company can take the posture that it did all it could after Mr. Marcas' outburst. It was the suddenness of the outburst itself that is most troubling to me. Most people give lots of warning when they are reaching that critical point where anger turns to violence. But Mr. Marcas remained completely cool up to and through his attack. There was no warning. It was as if a switch was pulled: calm professional executive to efficient killer. I don't believe that Ms. Wolfe was trying to goad Logan into a violent altercation. But his emotional reserve right up to the point where he erupted in violence didn't give her the warnings she needed to know when to back down. I assume I'll still be required to generate a report. I have to come to the conclusion that nothing we've done in the past three sessions have changed Mr. Marcas' potential for violence. However, I believe that Mr. Marcas is feeling genuine remorse for what he's done and perhaps that, alone, will deter him from adopting violent solutions to future workplace disputes.

Wednesday, June 10, 1998

5 pm. Forty-Ninth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex was emotionally low during our session today. He came across some old photographs of himself with Benny which made him remember the good times that they shared. It's hard to continually vilify someone who was once loved, even if intellectually, Alex realizes that he was taken advantage of and ultimately betrayed. Intellectually, Alex understands that the relationship was wrong, but his emotions oscillate back and forth through a full spectrum of feeling. At one point, we started to talk about Alex's grandmother, whom he misses very much. With perhaps a bit too much sanctomony, I told Alex that she would always be with him in his memory. Alex's retort was that Benny would be there as well. And Alex commented on the fact that there is really nobody still living who has any memories of him as a child. He feels that as a loss and felt a pang of jealousy listening to Mark talk about the childhoods of Racyl and Rhea. Alex felt his past on the street catch up with him when one of the men who used to pimp Alex spotted him waiting in a car outside of Ralph's strip club one evening. The pimp told him that he had a job for Alex, and Alex got out of the car and verbally confronted him. But Alex didn't use violence, and I was proud of him for that. Alex didn't like being reminded of his previous life as a prostitute. But Alex was a child then and his perception was quite skewed. Then, Alex saw prostitution as a way of getting attention and validation for himself--a sense of worth. Now, even though he understands that he was being used, he still remembers his life as a prostitute with a certain wistful nostalgia. At one point in his life, these were good memories. Now he has to work to reclassify them as bad. It's a difficult thing to do and perhaps it feels a bit artificial. Towards the end of the session, we spoke about Camille. Alex was adamant last time about staying away from her because of the threat she poses to his sexuality. I thought that he had told Luke about her confession of feeling for Alex. But Alex didn't feel comfortable doing that. I suggested that he do so, fully expecting Alex to realize that the way that Camille feels about Alex has nothing to do with Alex's behavior. But Alex is unwilling to tell Luke, because Luke is going to want assurances that nothing is going to happen between Alex and Camille, and Alex now isn't certain that he can promise that. A week of trying to sort through his feelings has made Alex unsure about what he is going to do next. At the end of our last session, I would have thought it unlikely that Alex would be interested in pursuing a sexual relationship with Camille. Now, I'm not sure.

Thursday, June 11, 1998

1 pm. Telephone Conversation with Samuel Eldrich. Sam called to cancel the session. He seemed really anxious and went out of his way to assure me that he was doing okay and was taking his medication. I reiterated that it was important for Sam not to miss his sessions right now, and he promised me that he would try to make it in the future. He canceled today's session because a job interview conflicted with the session. Sam said that he felt the medicine was beginning to work, which I find unlikely given that he only started a week ago. I got a deep sense of anxiety from Sam. I would have thought it was just a reflection of his feelings regarding the upcoming interview, but he was more relaxed when he talked about the interview than he was during any other point in our conversation.

4 pm. Eighty-Fourth Session with Anna Green. Kathy took the profits from her S&M out-call business and, without asking Anna, used it to buy a car. Anna points out that Kathy needs a car for her line of work, but I think it's outrageous that Kathy, who is supposed to be saving to afford a place to live on her own, would force Anna to subsidize her purchase in that manner. Kathy is clinging to Anna, and she isn't good for her. Anna is upset that Martin has taken up with a new girl--a secretary at SII. While Anna doesn't care who Martin is sleeping with, she feels jealous of the fact that he's back on his feet romantically while she isn't yet. We spent most of the session talking about how lonely Anna is. Anna is unable to kick-start her romantic life because Kathy is there, and Kathy is an influence towards S&M, which I don't think is what Anna needs right now. But Anna is considering "playing" with strangers in an S&M club just as a sexual outlet. I think it's really a mistake, but Anna assures me that she is mostly interested in passive voyeurism. Apparently, Anna found herself sexually excited by watching Kathy work over those five men. At the end of the session, I had a feeling that she had developed a plan that she is suppressing because she knows I won't like it. That has left me somewhat uneasy.

Friday, June 12, 1998

10 am. Twenty-First Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon arrived in a wheelchair. Both legs were in casts, and her left arm was in a sling. Her neck had a series of bruises, clearly from an attempted strangulation. Sharon ran into an old boyfriend, Josh, at a Starbucks. They had a bad history--Sharon felt manipulated and used by him, although she acknowledged the emotional power he used to hold over her. Apparently, she had unresolved anger quite close to the surface. He greeted her and then made an innocuous remark, asking about what happened to her leg, and she responded by throwing a cup of scalding hot coffee in his face. He didn't take it well. He pushed her backwards on to the floor, got on top of her, and tried to throttle her. Finally, she was able to repulse his attack by using pepper spray. He was hauled away and Sharon was taken to a hospital emergency room. She has a fractured left wrist and a sprained left ankle--her previously uninjured one--along with a mild concussion. She's now in a wheelchair. Neither of them have pressed charges against the other yet. Sharon is seeking disability leave from SII. When she didn't come to work, she was tracked down by "Godzilla." It is something of a mystery as to how she obtained Sharon's address--Rob's home address isn't in Sharon's personnel records at SII. I imagine Godzilla got it from the hospital or from Rob during one of her previous visits. In any case, Godzilla wanted Sharon to participate in the SF AIDS Walk in her wheelchair. Sharon doesn't like big organized charities and forcefully expressed her opinions on this subject to Godzilla. Sharon isn't interested in a friendship with Godzilla and doesn't see that she has anything much to lose if she offends her. My guess is that Sharon, still angry and in pain from her encounter with Josh, wanted to shock Godzilla into leaving her alone. So she started ranting about how she doesn't care about addicts, fags, and prostitutes with AIDS; how they have it coming to them; and how they can all "eat their children" for all she cares. Sharon went on about how the big charitable organizations are all corrupt. Godzilla left visibly offended and Sharon seems to have enjoyed herself doing it. I think we have some work to do on Sharon's people skills.

4 pm. Twenty-Sixth Session with Thomas Darden. I think we made some genuine progress today. Thomas began to express dissatisfaction with the course of his therapy, and I was able to use that as an opening to start encouraging Tom to become a more active participant. I told Tom my theory that he is jealous more of Rachel than of the men who pursue her. From his comments last week about the sexual exploits of his cousin, I realized that he didn't envy the actual sexual adventures--Tom's sexual taste tends towards romantic intimacy rather than simply fulfilling carnal desire. But he envied his cousin's ease and the facile way that he was able to approach women in a variety of social situations. Tom envies those who don't have his difficulty interacting socially. I took it one step further, and suggested that Tom may be afraid of succeeding socially--a varient on his fear of failure. A success could put additional pressure on his next attempt, making an ultimate failure much more psychologically difficult to manage. So even when he knows he'll succeed, he is fearful. I told Tom that he was too focused on what others were doing and not focused on his own behavior. Tom did open up to me somewhat and told me something about his own somewhat obsessive personal conduct, including excessive alcohol consumption and masturbation. Tom was embarrassed both about masturbating at all and about what he regarded as his excessive frequency--about five times a week. I didn't tell Tom that for a man living alone, five times a week was fairly moderate masturbatory conduct. With some emotion, Tom recounted a heart-breaking psychology experiment he read about in college. He talked about the work of the Harlows' done in the sixties in the importance of parental affection in non-adult primates. I remember being very affected myself by reading the details of the experiment in which some infant monkeys clung to cloth-wrapped wire dummies as maternal surrogates while others clung to wire dummies denuded of all covering. The Harlows traced the subsequent development of the monkeys which revealed that infants who had not been the recipients of maternal affection grew up to be inadequate as parents. Tom said that he burst into tears when he read about the experiment in college. Tom's soft core is wrapped in the barbed wire of his acerbic wit, but he is really quite a romantic at heart. Perhaps Tom would be better suited to the leisurely paced courtship of a more chivalrous age than to the body-rubbing mock intimacy of a modern dance club or singles' bar. Beyond his social phobia, Tom is beginning to exhibit symptoms of classic depression. I am beginning to think that I should attempt to treat Tom with antidepressants. I know that he spurned somatic treatment after spotty compliance with my attempts to give him Librium last year, but it's worth a try to bring it up again. Not only is he skittish, but I have to be careful in prescribing medication for Tom. I need to skirt a harmful interaction with all the alcohol he drinks, and I need to avoid any medication which is susceptible to overdose--I do believe that Tom is impulsive and possibly self-destructive under adverse circumstances. I asked Tom to create a social pyramid, with easy social goals at the bottom and progressively more difficult goals higher up. Perhaps we can attack Tom's problems utilizing a two-pronged approach of behavior modification and somatic treatment. I think it's time to enter a more active phase of treatment for Tom.

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