CANDIDATE'S BLOG: LOUIS ROUSSEL, PH.D.
The term "blog" refers to a web-based journal wherein individuals offer up their personal experiences to anyone with a web browser. The editors at IMPULSE sought out a local analytic candidate willing to "blog" his experience in training. Our intrepid volunteer is Dr. Louis Roussel, Ph.D., a 4th year candidate at SFPI who maintains a private practice in Oakland. Following is his second entry, in which he offers thoughts captured in a writing exercise that challenged candidates to write about vignettes from their analytic work without using any psychoanalytic or theoretical terms.
2006 Feb: When she arrived, I felt nervous and awkward. I was painfully self-conscious on the walk to my office. My gait was hesitant and jerky. I accidentally stubbed my foot into the base of my chair, my face turned red, the palms of my hands were wet. What the hell is this? Why am I so terrified? Come on, get it together man! You're going to be an analyst. You're a candidate at one of the best institutes in the country. You're a talented therapist. Your students love and respect you. You can do this. You're just setting a fucking fee for Christ's sake.
Ok, I can do this. I'm just going to say it. Just say it. Ok, $100. That's what I'll say. No, that feels too low now. OK, $120. Too bold. Shit. Why is this so hard? Why can't I just say it and get it over with? She seems so calm. I wish I felt more relaxed. I just have to say the words the way I rehearsed them. Something feels so heavy and impossible about saying those words, a strange feeling of paralysis covers me like a lead blanket. Shit, I can't do it. Retreat, run away, abort mission. I'll do it next week. I'll feel stronger then. Yeah, next week would be better. More time to think about it. I feel resigned and calmer, fighting off powerful feelings of defeat and impotence. It's not a failure. I need more time to reflect and build up the courage to do it. Suddenly, she said she'd done some research and thought about setting the fee at $120. I felt rescued by some divine intervention. I quickly replied that that would be fine in as neutral a tone as I could muster. Inside, I was jumping for joy. It's done and I didn't even have to say anything. I didn't have to say anything. A slightly sinking feeling ensued. I didn't have to do anything. A feeling of sadness washed over me.
Louis Roussel, Ph.D.