Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 06/26/98

Saturday, June 20, 1998

Sunday, June 21, 1998

Monday, June 22, 1998

4 pm. Telephone Conversation with Angelica Alvidrez respecting Nina Alvidrez. Angelica called me to schedule an appointment for her daughter, Nina, who also works at SII. Nina is apparently suffering from acute shyness which is inhibiting her ability to communicate with her superior at work. She's also complained of a mix of physical pains which shift from site to site: a toothache, a headache, a stomach pain, or foot pain. Her mother believes that she's just seeking attention, although she hasn't sought the assistance of a physician for any of these physical complaints. Nina knew that her mother was calling, and agreed to come to a session, but apparently didn't want to make the call herself. I agreed to see her this coming Thursday.

Tuesday, June 23, 1998

12 pm. Third Session with Nicole Ulreich. What an infuriating young woman! She flits around from subject to subject, some serious and some not. And she won't focus on any one thing in particular. Maybe I'm just hopelessly old fashioned, but I found her to be dangerously ignorant of her own feelings and clearly out of touch, for example, with basic requirements for parenthood--she wants to have a baby herself now. Nicole says that she's recovered from her bout with mononucleosis and she said that she was feeling "on top of the world." She's feeling that way because her boyfriend was "sweet" to her following her illness. She told me that Angie has left rehab and run away from home. But Nicole's response to her best friend's disappearance was somewhat cold. She was worried that she's going to come back pregnant and that Nicole would be obligated to give her help. Nicole apparently took Angie to an abortion clinic a few months ago and Nicole told me that she did not want to repeat the experience. Nicole also said that she would never entertain an abortion for herself. Nicole told me about attending parties which fell into three distinct sets--parties with frat boys, jocks, and druggies. A common requirement for all seemed to be that she sell her sexual favors in exchange for drugs or alcohol. I thought Nicole was beginning to tell me about being raped at one of these parties, but she veered into a discussion of consensual prostitution for drugs or alcohol. At least, that's how it seemed to me. She told me that she'd been tested for HIV and had fortunately escaped exposure. Nicole said that she's in love with her boyfriend and believes that he's in love with her, although he's never said so. At the end of the session, Nicole told me that she wanted to have get pregnant and have a baby with her boyfriend by about this time next year. Nicole is so completely ill-equipped to have a baby that I didn't know where to start. Before I could say much, however, beyond sputtering a few disapproving words, Nicole bolted. She told me that she had some party that she had to go to and she was gone.

2 pm. Fourth Session with Logan Marcas. This was my last evaluative session for Logan Marcas. I found him cooperative and self-assured. We talked about creating a social life and the dangers of becoming a workaholic. I pressed him to see if I could make him angry, but while he questioned what I was doing, he remained unfazed. Generally, I've been impressed by Logan's willingness to face what he did without flinching. He hasn't been overly anxious to try to justify or excuse his conduct. He genuinely seems to realize the gravity of his offense. What currently most concerns me is his obsession with personal control. Logan is not one to blow off steam and his carefully maintained exterior has a cost. I'm concerned that he might again find himself in a flashpoint situation. But Logan himself recognizes that danger, especially with respect to Ms. Wolfe, and he is prepared to embark on a consciously structured strategy of mostly written communication with Ms. Wolfe to try to alieviate the "cold, unspoken tension" that he felt with her. Logan is very intelligent and he probably could intuit the appropriate attitudes to adopt with me in order to garner a favorable report. That's always a risk. Logan clearly did a little of that in our conversations--telling me what I wanted to hear. But I think I could separate out the patently insincere parts of our sessions together. Underneath is a very controlled young man whom I believe was genuinely surprised and alarmed by his sudden burst of violence. While I think it is clear that he still dislikes Ms. Wolfe, I think she will likely be safe from physical harm at his hands. Of course, I'll generate a formal report, but the conclusion will be that Mr. Marcas currently poses a minimal risk of harm to others. He should be reinstated at work.

Wednesday, June 24, 1998

5 pm. Fifty-First Session with Alex Rozzi. Ralph has colon cancer and Alex is trying to cope by ignoring Ralph's illness. Alex spoke rapidly and nervously about Ralph's illness. He made a quick joke of it and tried to change the subject. His demeanor clearly indicated that he was under considerable stress. Alex outwardly is thinking of Ralph's illness only in terms of how it affects him. Because Alex is so terrified of abandonment, he's in denial about the illness. Alex is going to be unable to offer any emotional support or even empathy to Ralph because of his own terror. Perhaps Alex is cutting off all his emotional ties to Ralph as a means of preparing for his death. While it's a short term coping mechanism, it leads to guilt in the long term and, of course, it's a cruel way to treat a dying man. Alex told me that his pet rat Darla died. People get extremely attached to pets and outsiders frequently underestimate the impact that their death has on their owners. Alex was quite attached to his rat, and he took her death hard. He assumed that it was Regina's doing, so he went to her house to exact revenge. Fortunately, Regina was in Tennessee and Alex's plans were thwarted long enough for the veternarian's test results to come back, showing that Darla had died as a result of exposure to the art supplies that Alex kept at the studio. He feels some responsibility as an agent of her death, albeit an unknowing one. Alex spoke with some eloquence about Benny, who was assualted in prison and is now in the hospital. Alex has apparently decided to vilify Benny in his own mind in order to reconcile the conflicting feelings that he's always felt. He's trying to rewrite his memories to clearly place Benny in the role of the villian. He told me a story about how Benny and he had sex together the night that Benny's daughter was born. At the time, I suspected that Alex viewed the incident as evidence that Benny preferred Alex to Dora. Now, Alex asks how anyone could engage in such conduct with his wife lying in the hospital after just giving birth? Of course, I agree that Benny was a terrible factor in Alex's childhood. But it is interesting that Alex can't assimilate his feelings about Benny in all their complexity--he needs to recast them into black and white. Maybe since these memories were created during Alex's childhood, he needs to sort them using very childlike criteria. A more modern memory might be accorded a richer interpretation. Currently, Alex is accutely aware of issues of abandonment in his life. There's Ralph, there's Darla, and there's Tony--whose time with Sharon is cutting in on Alex's time with Tony. Alex says that he is concerned that Tony may be using drugs again under Sharon's influence. I believe that Alex is more likely threatened by Sharon. Now, Alex is threatening to tell Sharon that Tony is suffering from HIV in an effort to split them apart. Frankly, I don't know how I feel about Alex disclosing Tony's HIV status to Sharon. I'd be relieved if Sharon knew about Tony's HIV status. On the other hand, it will clearly put a strain on Alex's friendship with Tony.

Thursday, June 25, 1998

10 am. First Session with Nina Alvidrez. I met Nina today. She is indeed quite shy. This was a particularly laborious session. Nina hardly spoke and took long pauses when she did speak. She rarely offered information about herself. She fidgeted, picked at her cuticles, and looked at the floor quite a bit. She dressed and acted as if she wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible--it was as if she was trying to blend into her surroundings as much as possible. Her biggest desire seemed to be that she be unnoticed. Although she usually spoke in short sentences without a lot of personal content, she surprised me with a flowery and seemingly well-rehearsed speech about how much she loved her mother. Nina is working as a secretary for Tom Utterman. She's been put in a position where she's required to talk to many strangers on the phone--a task for which I'm sure she's ill-suited. Nina was particularly concerned about succeeding at her job because she wanted her mother to be proud of her. She didn't seem very interested in the job for her own sake. She tried to get away with answering my questions in a minimal fashion, speaking in a low undertone that was quite difficult to discern. About halfway through the session, she became so obviously uncomfortable that she had to leave. After making a speech about how meeting new people is like an adventure, I coaxed her into making a return appointment in two weeks.

4 pm. Eighty-Fifth Session with Anna Green. The saga with Kathy continues. Now Kathy is staying out all night and leaving Anna to wait for her in panic, fearful that she's been raped or murdered. When Kathy does come back, Anna thinks that she's in "bottom space"--distinctly different from her attitude when she comes back from a professional dominatrix session. Kathy denies it. Kathy always says that she understands and that, next time, she'll call before staying out all night. But she never does. Although Anna told me that Kathy was never an effective dominatrix for her, Kathy still prominently features in Anna's sexual adventures. Anna said that she went to an S&M club by herself, but she felt the uneasiness that goes with being the only gazelle amongst a pride of lions. She had the presence of mind to get out of there. Anna said that she was able to fulfill some of her S&M yearnings by accompanying Kathy to a session where she was hired to dominate four women simultaneously. Anna was just there to watch and masturbate. Too much of Anna's life revolves around Kathy. When Kathy moved in, it started as a violation of her physical space. Then Kathy started using Anna's house as her place of business. Kathy started getting Anna to act as security for some of her out-calls. Now, Anna is actually seeking sexual fulfillment using Kathy's professional activities as an outlet. Anna's unique ability to mold her sexuality to fit her circumstances seems to be prominently featured in her current life circumstances yet again.

Friday, June 26, 1998

10 am. Twenty-Third Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon is still in a wheelchair. She was successful in getting her disability insurance payments. As I feared, she is now taking advantage of her free time and lack of responsibilities to consume drugs. She justifies her drug use as partly medicinal, but she is sinking back into previous behaviors that led her to almost end her life. I'm very concerned, but everytime I voice my concern, she airly waves me off. I think it is important that Sharon find something constructive to do with her free time. Sharon told me that she has looked into taking some language classes at City College, but she registered too late. I didn't sense a profound zeal for learning, but at least she had taken some initiative in registering at all. She brought in a picture of a pet rabbit that Rob gave her as a gift. She expressed a certain fondness for the animal, even as she cursed its existence in Sharon's inimitable style. Even though she lives with Rob, and that relationship is apparently stabilizing, she is spending more and more time with Tony. She said that they don't engage in sexual intercourse, although there is plenty of sexual activity short of that. I believe Tony has HIV from things that Alex has told me previously. But Tony hasn't shared that information with Sharon. When I brought up that point with Sharon, she told me that they aren't exchanging bodily fluids, other than saliva. I'm worried that sexual activity while under the influence of drugs is likely to be unprotected. Sharon's sexual interest has returned. When she first started therapy, she felt asexual and told me that she felt sex was revolting. Now, although still somewhat detached about sex, she has an obvious resurgence in sexual interest. It's a healthy thing, and I told her so. But Sharon earlier described her previous sexual interest as promiscuous. Apparently, she swings between feast and famine. Although it's always difficult to tell precisely when Sharon is joking, she apparently took my interest in her sex life as an expression of my own sexual interest in her. She offered to have sex with me--not motivated by any actual interest, but rather because of a certain chartiable impulse. I declined. We settled into a nice discussion of Sharon's sexual interest in various animals. She likes horses and dogs, but thinks that cats wouldn't make a good sexual partner. I think Sharon has been watching far too much daytime TV, and she agreed.

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