Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 12/12/97

Saturday, December 6, 1997

Sunday, December 7, 1997

Monday, December 8, 1997

10 am. Initial Session with Claire Steven. I got a phone call this morning and set up an appointment for Claire Steven. She's a 22 year old personnel officer for SII. Classically beautiful, she looks more mature than her young age would suggest, with long blonde hair and brown eyes; her beauty is only slightly marred by a slight scar that runs across her right cheek. It looks like a crease that might be made from sleeping on the seam of a pillow case. Claire was very tired and emotionally labile, crying frequently during the session. I decided to primarily allow her to talk without insisting on a direction. She spoke of her upbringing in Indiana and how she met Aaron, her husband of two years, at Indiana University. She is evidently very much attached to him. But something about sexual intercourse causes her distress--either apprehension beforehand or guilt and a feeling of being dirty afterwards. Although she'd like to enjoy sexual relations with her husband, she doesn't. However, she's afraid that she'll lose him. She described Aaron as being very sensitive, caring, and sexually skilled. She was looking for a silver bullet, but all I could do is recommend that she practice intimacy with her husband after agreeing in advance that it would not lead to intercourse. I would like her to be able to experience intimacy without the apprehension that she describes. Claire suffers also from insecurities--including insecurity over her looks. It never fails to amaze me how many truly stunning women are insecure about the way they look. I'm certain that in a population of beautiful women, there is a higher percentage who are insecure about their looks than in a general population sample. Claire began to tell me something of her sexual history, but I only got a very general sense of it. Apparently, her apprehension began on her wedding night. I got the feeling that she was a virgin until she was married. Aaron did not brutalize her, but something wasn't right. I'd like Claire to see a gynecologist to rule out any physical causes that might make intercourse unpleasant before tackling possible emotional causes in earnest.

Tuesday, December 9, 1997

3 pm. Sixth Session with Rachel Tanner. Rachel revealed a little of the reasons which make the prospect of returning to school so unpleasant. About two years ago, before her mother died, she planned to lose her virginity with a boy she met at junior college. Rachel describes changing her mind in the middle of the act. Apparently, she communicated her change of heart to the boy, but he continued regardless. The encounter was probably a rape and Rachel fears that she may see the boy again--although she admits that the chances of that are fairly slim. I feel unsatisfied by this explanation of why she has an almost phobic reaction to the concept of returning to school. I think that it is probably much deeper than what she described and I think it likely involves the death of her mother. It's possible that it involves some break in ritual or routine which Rachel believes was responsible for her mother's death in some manner--an explanation which she won't present to me because she knows that I'll dismiss her rationale. Sometimes these magical modes of thinking have an importance to the OCD patient, even if they make them believe they are responsible for some trauma, like the death of a parent, when they are clearly free from fault. It's as if, by taking the blame onto themselves, they give some reason for a random event--the guilt is better than the chaos. Rachel believes that her father repeatedly raped her mother. She remembers parental disputes which frequently left her mother in tears. Rachel blames her father for "ruining" her mother--she was clearly still very angry with him. He left when she was almost twelve. Rachel seems to be reacting well to the Fluoxetine, so I'm continuing the trial. She reports her rituals as subsiding somewhat, although she has described some difficulty in achieving orgasm, which although she has been able to overcome it, she ascribes to the Fluoxetine. Rachel is going to stay with her brother for a few days which I think is quite positive. I've seen OCD patients who were quite paralyzed and couldn't think of leaving familiar surroundings--after all, how'd they do their rituals? She's clearly looking forward to it--he's promised her a concert and an interesting roommate.

Letter from Eric Stillwell respecting Olivia Stillwell. I received a rather cold, prefunctory letter from Mr. Eric Stillwell asking that I take on his daughter as a patient. He is the president of a company that bears his name.

Wednesday, December 10, 1997

3 pm. Telephone Conversation with Decker Jenkins. Decker called me to tell me that his father died in an automobile accident this morning in Chicago. He is flying back to take over the arrangements. Decker said that he was glad that he hadn't gotten to know his father well and asked me if I understood what he meant. I did, of course. Decker sounded sad, but matter-of-fact--maybe even a little excited.

4 pm. Twenty-Ninth Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine was all business as she told me about the smear campaign that is being waged by Alex's mother Larraine and that toady, Nils Landor. Apparently, Larraine has it in her head that Katherine is romantically involved with Alex--she must know his sexual preference makes that unlikely--and has decided to go after Katherine within the company. She has the ear of Nils Landor who told Lloyd Major all about it. Lloyd, who's never been one of Katherine's big supporters in any case, came to talk to her about it--apparently concerned that scandal will lower the stock price. I suspect that Lloyd was just hoping for something juicy to relieve the tedium--he gets a certain pleasure from stirring the shit. Katherine plans to fight back, and she seems to be a formidable adversary. Larraine is a venal, petty woman, but she didn't strike me as particularly stupid. She must realize that picking a fight with a high-ranking corporate executive could be detrimental to her job. It just struck me--I didn't mention this to Katherine--but Larraine might have lost interest in her job now that she is pregnant and perhaps she is seeking some pretext to get fired rather than to just resign. Is it possible that Larraine wants a roll at "litigation roulette?" If that's Larraine's game, I'd better urge Katherine to be particularly careful.

5 pm. Twenty-Seventh Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex is furious with his mother for her interference in his life and her treatment of Rosemarie. He found out from Katherine, just before the start of the session, about the rumor-mongering that his mother has engaged in at work. He was furious and wanted to immediately leave and confront her over it. I urged Alex to gain control of himself first and to try to think through whether such a course of action would have the desired results. Alex was quite agitated--perhaps more than I've ever seen him before. He spoke in a rapid-fire pace and demonstrated psychomoter agitation as well. Alex has three current issues with his mother. The first and foremost is that she is trying to make trouble for Katherine at SII. He also believes that she is treating his Aunt Rosemarie unfairly now that she has to cope with her mother's death. And he believes that his mother's behavior at Aunt Sophie's funeral may have scared off Luke, who missed a date with Alex and hasn't called. Alex told me that he is taking the melatonin nightly and still sleeping--he even expressed surprise given the thoughts continually racing through his mind. Alex also told me that the gun-wielding maniac who is living in the cottage on Ralph's property has returned from his stint in jail. Ralph is going to begin eviction proceedings, but it could easily take several months to get him out of the apartment. I asked Alex how he was coping with Aunt Sophie's death. He said that he has nightmares occassionally--usually focusing around truffles and her last words to him--that his truffles were "to die for." But he misses her, and the reality of her death is now sinking in.

Thursday, December 11, 1997

Friday, December 12, 1997

10 am. Fifth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon revealed a bit more of her previous sexual history--a history which has left her dreading the prospect of sexual activity of any kind. With a previous boyfriend, she became involved with the Society of Janus, an S&M club. While she had some positive experiences there as a submissive, mostly she recalls negative ones. Although she admits that she may not have communicated with her partners as effectively as she might have, she recounts situations where she feels that she was victimized. Apparently, she performed certain acts in public for other club members. She thinks that she got in over her head and she is now worried about Charlotte, who has joined the S&M community. It is a worry paradoxically tinged with jealousy--Charlotte seems at ease socially and has become part of the "in crowd," cavorting with the professional dominants who are the celebrities of the S&M world. Part of Sharon wishes that she could feel at ease in that world, while part of her is revolted by a vision of what she once was. Charlotte is pursuing sexual adventure at the expense of her husband, Robin, who Sharon believes is sticking with Charlotte but feels betrayed. While it is obvious to me that Sharon realizes that she has a number of problems of her own--most notably her antipathy for sex, her suicidal ideation, and her living situation--she has become obsessed with Charlotte's and Robin's difficulties as a way of escaping her own. Charlotte made a comment to Sharon about her "keeping Robin company" which Sharon thought might mean that Charlotte wants her to engage in sexual relations with Robin as a surrogate for Charlotte. The thought disgusts Sharon, not because of her attitudes towards Charlotte and Robin, but rather because the thought of the sex act itself is revolting to Sharon. She said that the thought of bodily secretions, nudity, and being touched were nauseating. Sharon clearly has an extremely low self image. She finds herself repugnant in the harshest possible terms and filters her experience of daily life through that prism. Sharon projects a certain air of competence which masks a deeply felt sense of inferiority. We have a lot of work to do together.

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