Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. George Landau, Monday, January 27, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello Mr. Landau. I'm glad you've decided to come back for another session.
Mr. Landau: Oh, call me George. I'm still under a certain amount of pressure to come here, Doctor. But as long as I'm going to be here anyway, we might as well be civil.
Dr. Balis: How are things with Mr. Taylor this week?
Mr. Landau: Much the same. He's introducing new procedures, new rules. It's not enough that something's done well, it has to be done his way.
Dr. Balis: What do you think of these new procedures?
Mr. Landau: There's nothing wrong with them, I suppose. They won't mess things up, they're very rigid--but it's the rigidity that's the problem. With him, the system comes first: whatever priceless template he's written or form he's drawn. Not what people need.
Dr. Balis: Do you find them restrictive?
Mr. Landau: It used to be much more straightforward. Look at it this way. Part of my job is to address the furniture needs of the entire company. Now if I know that one department is short of a decent office chair, and I know another will have one spare for two months, I should be able to move that chair from one to the other, yes? Even if only on a temporary basis?
Dr. Balis: That sounds reasonable.
Mr. Landau: Not now. Now there has to be an official request entered into some data base and another official spare report filed, and we can't connect the two unless the cost centers can handle the's ridiculous.
Dr. Balis: Is Mr. Taylor receptive to suggestions?
Mr. Landau: Pah.
Dr. Balis: I take it that means he isn't.
Mr. Landau: He'll give me some time, and he'll listen carefully to everything I've got to say, and then he'll tell me slowly that it has to be done his way and that's that.
Dr. Balis: Are there other reasons why everything has to be formalized?
Mr. Landau: Oh, of course there are reasons. There's always a reason. But it always has the same effect. Preventing people from doing things in common sense ways. Using rules and form letters to avoid real face-to-face work, real human contact. It's the disease of our time, Doctor. Never mind AIDS.
Dr. Balis: You sound passionate about this.
Mr. Landau: I just come across it all the time. Everywhere. Not just...what's that Doctor?
Dr. Balis: This? This is my laptop.
Mr. Landau: A computer?
Dr. Balis: Yes. I use it to keep track of my appointments and store my patient files.
Mr. Landau: You write things about your patients in it?
Dr. Balis: Yes. I keep notes about what ground we cover each week. So we can build on that in future sessions.
Mr. Landau: Was it there last week?
Dr. Balis: Yes, right here. I'm surprised you didn't notice it.
Mr. Landau: I didn't really have time to look around your office last week. But are you saying that there's information about me in it?
Dr. Balis: Your medical records are still on paper. But I keep all my notes on the computer, yes. Are you worried about confidentiality?
Mr. Landau: Well, yes, I should think so.
Dr. Balis: Let me explain. The advantage of using a portable computer is that I can take it home with me at the end of the day. No one gets to use it except me, and it's not left in this building overnight.
Mr. Landau: But what if you're robbed on the way home? Someone could steal all your records at once!
Dr. Balis: I think anybody who stole this machine would be far more likely to wipe its hard disk to eliminate evidence. But it has password protection. Even if someone did steal the computer, they couldn't read any of the files.
Mr. Landau: But people guess these things. You hear about it.
Dr. Balis: I've read the security instructions. It's not a password which could be easily guessed. And I change it every month or so. Please trust me, George--I've taken an oath to keep what my patients tell me confidential.
Mr. Landau: Is it plugged into the Internet? Aren't you worried about the hackers?
Dr. Balis: It was for that very reason that I decided not to network the computer. Nobody can access it remotely.
Mr. Landau: Well, what's that wire then?
Dr. Balis: That's only the power cable.
Mr. Landau: What's to stop them using that?
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry?
Mr. Landau: What's to stop them using that to read your files?
Dr. Balis: There's only power wiring inside that cable. There's no network connection.
Mr. Landau: You're very sure, aren't you? Very sure you understand it all?
Dr. Balis: This is just an ordinary power cable.
Mr. Landau: Why do you need a cable at all? I thought these things could run off their own power?
Dr. Balis: It does have a battery. But that only gives me a few hours.
Mr. Landau: Sounds pretty useless to me.
Dr. Balis: I notice you're wearing a brace on your wrist.
Mr. Landau: Yes. I have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dr. Balis: Does it cause you a lot of pain?
Mr. Landau: Some days I hardly notice it. Other days it can stop me working. Today it's irritating.
Dr. Balis: You weren't wearing the brace during our session last week.
Mr. Landau: No. I don't like it. I don't have to wear it all the time. I sleep with it every night, that makes me feel enough of an idiot without wearing it to work when I don't need to.
Dr. Balis: How long have you suffered from this?
Mr. Landau: Oh, a year or so. Maybe two.
Dr. Balis: So you were at SII when it developed.
Mr. Landau: What has that got to do with anything?
Dr. Balis: It's important that I'm aware of something which is causing you pain on a regular basis. Perhaps I can help you deal with the effects of that pain.
Mr. Landau: It's just something I have to put up with, Doctor. Stop grasping at straws.
Dr. Balis: George, that's not right. I'm not sitting here trying to find a weakness in you to exploit. And I'm not compelling you to be here. I'm very willing to work through anything that you want to. But we can't make progress if you fight me all the way.
Mr. Landau: Sorry Doctor. Forget I said that. The pain does make me irritable. I know you have good intentions. But you're just a tool that Taylor is using.
Dr. Balis: What do you think he's using me for?
Mr. Landau: Oh, I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Perhaps you could do something for me.
Mr. Landau: What's that? Not happy with your desk? Your chair?
Dr. Balis: My furniture is fine, thanks. I was wondering if you kept a journal?
Mr. Landau: A journal of what?
Dr. Balis: Your thoughts, your feelings. Anything which occupies your mind.
Mr. Landau: No, no, nothing like that.
Dr. Balis: I was going to suggest that you keep a journal of your clashes with Mr. Taylor. Perhaps we could use it to explore the situation.
Mr. Landau: I don't have time for that kind of thing, Doctor. I'm too busy.
Dr. Balis: Please think about it if you find the time.
Mr. Landau: Our session is only supposed to last an hour, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: That's right. We are getting short of time.
Mr. Landau: I dare say I'll be back in here next week.
Dr. Balis: At least I'm not the dentist.
Mr. Landau: Hah! That's true. I'm sorry to keep wasting your time like this.
Dr. Balis: You're not wasting my time.
Mr. Landau: Mmm. I'm sure.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week George.
Mr. Landau: Perhaps.
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