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 fourth entry. Note that identifiers and details have been altered to protect confidentiality.
2006 Apr: I had just returned from my vacation feeling fully restored, refreshed, and very confident. My clothes were freshly pressed and starched, my shoes shined, and my hair recently trimmed. I looked at myself admiringly in the mirror and fantasized about becoming a famous analyst someday.
I hadn't seen my patient for a week, but I still felt the glow of self-satisfaction from our recent work together. She really seemed to be making progress looking at and reflecting upon her propensity for profound feelings of shame and humiliation.
I greeted her in the waiting room with a feeling of excitement and naive enthusiasm. Her first words of the session shot out fast and hard. She said, "I saw you jogging at the park the other day. You looked like a big spider!" I wasn't ready for that hit. I can suddenly feel my former exuberance plummeting rapidly. Images of my tall, lanky body in black jogging suit begin to occupy my thoughts. Do I really look like a big spider? I feel my face flush. I want to hide, run away. What just happened? I had been feeling so hopeful and enthusiastic before this shameful attack.
She then angrily handed me a letter that she had written to her mother. I remember her speaking poignantly of this letter in our last session. She had been so hopeful that it would lead to greater honesty and loving connection. It was returned to her. The letter she had written was now covered in her mother's grammatical corrections, a shameful web of sadistic lines. Message received.
Louis Roussel, Ph.D.