Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 1/10/97

Saturday, January 4, 1997

Sunday, January 5, 1997

Monday, January 6, 1997

10 am. First Session with Peter Hossfeld. Peter Hossfeld, a programmer at SII, came in for an introductory session. He is 27, intelligent, handsome and neatly dressed, with blonde hair and penetrating blue eyes. His complaint is an odd one: he feels spiritually unfulfilled and he is also convinced that he has some variety of physical ailment although with diffuse and non specific symptoms. He argues that at 27 he should be in the prime of his life, and yet he feels tired, blocked, lost, and weak. He just doesn't feel as happy and well as he believes that he should. Peter has suffered this generalized malaise for awhile and, although expressing a disdain for western medicine, has been active in attempting to explore its roots through a succession of new age philosophies and treatments. He mentioned a few in passing: Zen, Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Hinduism, Homeopathy, Rolfing, Transcendental Meditation, Iridology, Colonic Irrigation (yuck!), taking acid, and membership in a number of cults. I got the impression that he could easily reel off many more. None of them evoked more than a passing enthusiasm which then was discarded when immediate relief was not realized. Peter is putting psychotherapy in the same bin--I suspect that he will come to half a dozen sessions and then be disappointed when he does not find the immediate benefits he is seeking. My job, I suspect, will have less to do with diagnosis and treatment of his underlying complaint and more to do with exploring his feelings of personal inadequacy and helping him cope with his obsessive need for outside systems designed to remake himself.

Tuesday, January 7, 1997

4 pm. Twenty-Fifth Session with Sylvia Bows. I met Sylvia at her house for her session today. She is on complete bed rest, so she was flat on her back in bed during the session. Sylvia could not get over how wonderful Tom has been during the last few weeks. Far from distrusting his motives, Sylvia has now given Tom her health care power of attorney. She says that he is the only one she trusts now, excepting me. I asked her what her future plans were regarding Tom and she seems to be uncertain over the divorce. She said that she doesn't really know if Tom would want to remain married to her, but my feeling is that she really hasn't made up her mind yet. Sylvia said that she is feeling nauseated all the time as a result of the tocolitics which she is taking. She says that her mental processes are disorganized and cloudy. She's having difficulty concentrating. She is afraid she is losing weight. I didn't notice any particular disorganization in her conversation and found that she appeared to be lucid and able to maintain a coherent thread of conversation, but she felt that even in our conversation she kept forgetting things that she wanted to say to me. She described her thoughts as slippery. Sylvia's biggest fear seems to no longer be whether the babies will live, but now she is concerned over their condition upon birth. She is worried about brain damage and underdeveloped internal organs. When I told her about a story I heard recently about a girl born at twenty-four weeks who, a year later, is perfectly healthy, she said that she didn't want to be a newsworthy patient. She yearns to be a boring patient who can give birth in obscurity. Sylvia became tired, so we ended our session a few minutes early.

Wednesday, January 8, 1997

I received another fax from the Anonymous Faxer this morning. This one shows an old streetcar, the F Castro, running along its tracks. The background has been completely blacked out, so the trolley car has almost the appearance of a toy, although it is clearly not. A driver can faintly be seen through the windshield. There is an F Line streetcar which runs along Market Street, between the Financial District downtown and the flamboyant center of San Francisco's gay culture located near Castro Street. I believe the sign "F Castro" indicates that the car is traveling away from the Financial District and towards Castro street. I've often noticed the Market Street streetcars because they've returned a number of restored antique cars to operation. They are quite picturesque and make a festive display, and they are really each quite unique, one from another. Each of the cars have a distinct personality. Of course the Faxer is making a journey too, of sorts, towards a more overt lifestyle perhaps symbolized by the direction of this streetcar. Is the Faxer also drawn to the rehabilitation of an antique? Can he be thinking of his own make over? This streetcar is clearly in motion. Has the Faxer's journey already begun?

Thursday, January 9, 1997

4:35 pm. Twenty-seventh Session with Anna Green. Anna arrived quite late for her session today. She was at MacWorld and lost track of time. She described MacWorld as a place where the geeks come out and play together, but she was obviously flattered when I told her that she was far from a geek. Anna was in a very good mood and, when I questioned her on it, she told me that she had met Martin, a graduate student whom she had previously met and had a brief innocent flirtation with while she was seeing Bill. She spoke about him previously in our third session. Apparently, he's getting a lot of offers from software companies, but he still has to complete his graduate program. Anna is thrilled to renew her relationship with Martin--she seems completely prepared to change her life over a guy whom she met once for a few days and now met again for a few days. But I am glad to see Anna transferring some of the attention she's focused on me towards a relationship which at least has some chance of success. Anna accused me of sounding like her father at one point, and I guess she was right. I do feel protective--as if she's an ex-girlfriend or something. I must watch that proclivity I have towards her; it's inappropriate. I tested Anna a bit to see how much she cared about this guy by suggesting that I might come by MacWorld and hook up with her there. She was completely uninterested. Her focus is locked on Martin now. Martin was waiting in the lobby during our session and Anna hopes to spend the weekend with him prior to his returning to Michigan.

Friday, January 10, 1997

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