Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Monday, April 28, 1997 at 4 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Good afternoon, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Ms. Lippard. How are you today?
Ms. Lippard: Busy. Mondays are always rough. What do you have for me?
Dr. Balis: I beg your pardon?
Ms. Lippard: You've had a week to consider my case. Do you have any insights? Do I have some mental disorder or did I just go overboard about nothing?
Dr. Balis: Well, you certainly responded strongly to a stimulus that others might find trivial. But that may or may not be part of something significant. If you're looking for a diagnosis, it's too early for me make one, or even to know if one applies. I'll need some more information first.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, ask away.
Dr. Balis: You spoke of having a number of routines. Do they extend into your work? Do you have certain ways of getting things done, certain processes that you have to follow to complete a task?
Ms. Lippard: I'm not sure I'm following you. There are things at work that need to be done, and I do them. My criteria for picking investments doesn't change much; the things that make one stock sound make any stock sound. So I do the research the same way each time. I worked hard to get the accounting department functioning according to my systems, but now it works smoothly. Everyone knows their responsibilities, and they handle them. Oh, you should have seen that department when I started! Things got done, but organizationally, it was a wreck. Everyone had their own methods, their own filing systems. I worked my ass off for...oh, excuse me, I worked overtime for months to...
Dr. Balis: That's okay, you can speak plainly here.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you. I'm afraid I'm picking up some of Phil's habits. We've been spending a lot of time together.
Dr. Balis: Phil?
Ms. Lippard: That's, uh...never mind. Philip's not important to this right now. I'm afraid I got a little carried away. Did I answer your question?
Dr. Balis: Mostly. It sounds like you're more concerned that things get done efficiently than that they get done in a certain way.
Ms. Lippard: Yes...but, not really. I mean, if there is an efficient way, I want it done that way. And if the whole staff does it the same way, there's minimal waste. But if someone can show me a better way, we'll all start doing it that way. I'm not a power hungry tyrant; it doesn't have to be the way I came up with, it just has to be the best way.
Dr. Balis: And this applies to you too, not just your staff?
Ms. Lippard: Certainly.
Dr. Balis: And what about accuracy? If it gets done correctly, is it very important exactly how it got done?
Ms. Lippard: I don't expect anything less than the right answer from my staff, every time. The standard is perfection. That may sound a bit harsh, but you have to realize that we're dealing with a billion dollar company here. Little errors can make a big mess in a big hurry. But if you do it by the systems that are in place every time, the answer will come up right, every time. Oh, wow, you just heard part of my interview. I give that little speech to potential accountants during their job interviews. It's weeded out more than one.
Dr. Balis: Well, it sounds straightforward and honest to give fair warning about what standard you expect in your employees. Those are good qualities in a manager. What about your personal life? Same attitudes?
Ms. Lippard: Well...I'm not entirely the same person at home as at work. I like to loosen up a bit at home. As for the way things are done, I'm not as concerned with finding the best way; I just find a way I'm comfortable with and stick to it. As for perfection, I'm still pretty demanding...of myself, I mean. I can expect my employees to perform to my expectations, but not my friends.
Dr. Balis: So you're not concerned with efficiency in your personal life?
Ms. Lippard: Um...not usually. Sometimes. But often I'll keep doing things a certain way even though I know there's a better way, just because that's the way I do it. It makes me feel good that way. For instance, when I plan the menu and the shopping list, I do it all on the computer. I know I could just jot it down on paper in half the time. But no, I have to have two documents open side by side, and move from one to the other as things occur to me, then get them formatted and printed nice and neat. I know the checkout girls think I'm nuts, with a computer printed shopping list with little check marks by each item. But it makes me feel better, somehow, to have everything in order.
Dr. Balis: I see. Are there many things you're so...detail oriented with?
Ms. Lippard: A few. I'm a very neat and organized person. Is there such a thing as pathological organization?
Dr. Balis: That depends on how much the organization interferes with what you're trying to accomplish. Are there times when you get so wrapped up in the process that the task itself never gets completed?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. It's funny you should mention that. That's something I've been working on. Or rather, something I've had to work on. I had that problem for a while in school--you know, I'd spend so much time getting ready to study, making sure the environment was just right, making sure I had all the materials and so forth, that I'd use up half of my study time. I tried to deduct that time from my social life but I spent so little time on having a social life that it didn't help much. So I had to break myself of that, of all the preparations and stuff, I mean. But I guess I did it all right. Can't waste much time and graduate Summa Cum Laude from Harvard.
Dr. Balis: Summa Cum Laude, and from Harvard. That's very impressive.
Ms. Lippard: That's why I went. And it worked; Frank Herald was all aglow about my MBA from Harvard when I interviewed. But truth be told, I cheated. I transferred to Harvard just for the last part of my MBA. Did most of my MBA at the University of South Carolina, where I'm from. God, if Frank knew that, he never would have hired me! He can be such a snob.
Dr. Balis: Do you have any rituals that you have to do? Anything that must be a certain number, like counting, or washing your hands a certain number of times, or something? Any superstitions that are really quite strong?
Ms. Lippard: Not really. I can't think of anything like that.
Dr. Balis: Well, it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things. Not everyone could have recognized that the need for everything to be just so when studying was actually interfering with the studying itself. And then you seemed to have worked to solve it quite effectively.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you. I like to think I have my life in order.
Dr. Balis: It would seem that you do. In fact, given what you've told me, I don't know that I could be of much benefit to you.
Ms. Lippard: I don't follow.
Dr. Balis: Ms. Lippard, aside from being very organized, and that one incident in the sushi bar, you haven't told me anything that unusual. We could meet and talk, but I don't think I would be much help. You haven't shared with me any areas in your life in which I could render any particular assistance. And since you asked me whether the incident in the sushi bar was indicative of some mental disability, I can assure you that, without more, it is not. There are always some things, trivial to others perhaps, that can throw someone for a loop. Your need for organization and your concern about detail doesn't seem to have affected your ability to function at quite a high level. You seem to be quite level-headed, you seem to know yourself well. You don't seem to be exhibiting any particular anxiety or distress. Your physical health, from what I can see, seems fine. You're a busy woman, and I don't want to waste your time. So, unless there is something else, I don't see any need to continue therapy.
Ms. Lippard: [Silence]
Dr. Balis: Ms. Lippard?
Ms. Lippard: So you're saying I'm fine?
Dr. Balis: I'm saying at this point I don't see any particular benefit to long-term therapy.
Ms. Lippard: Well...good! So I just overreacted that one time? You don't think I'm in danger of having my routines take over my life?
Dr. Balis: What do you think?
Ms. Lippard: I think I have things pretty well under control.
Dr. Balis: Fine. Then we'll call it a day. Feel free to call me, of course, if you decide that there's something else you'd like to talk about.
Ms. Lippard: I'll do that. Thank you, Doctor. It's good to have a clean bill of health.
Dr. Balis: You're quite welcome. Have a good evening.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you. You too.
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