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 fifth entry. Note that identifiers and details have been altered to protect confidentiality.
2006 May: I returned from a short vacation feeling a sense of dread, sensing this patient's wish to exact revenge on me for leaving him. I can feel his hate for me seething and burning through the cold eyes fixed on me from across the room. My mind drifts away from the unbearable rays of contempt boring into me. A memory emerges. It was three in the morning when the telephone rang. Shockwaves of dread radiated throughout my body as I thought about the possible tragedies this call could herald. I remember these late night calls when I was a child. I would peek out my bedroom door and see the orange light of my father's cigarette shining in the dark as he tried to console whoever it was calling with the dreadful news. It was my sister phoning to tell me that a member of my family had been murdered. I dreadfully anticipated and tried to brace myself for the violent imagery soon to intrude into the tranquil morning of my mind.
My reverie was intruded upon by my patient's thoughts, those prophesied by his unbearable gaze bombard me without respite. Murderous fantasies and imagery permeate the room.
Suddenly everything feels surreal. My patient's sadistic fantasies begin to look like replicas of the reverie in my mind. Why is this happening? Why haven't I heard these fantasies before today? The intolerable intrusion of blood-drenched pictures begins to take on a new emotional coloring whichkindles a sense of fascination in me as I scan mental archives for something that might help me grapple with the uncanny matrix I find myself in.
I feel less anxiously overwhelmed and captivated by what this experience means on a more abstract, theoretical level. For the first time I feel myself returning to the tranquil place I was in before the early morning invasion. Theoretical speculations begin to take me out of the murderous chaos that had shaken my illusions of safety. I want to wrap myself tightly in the blanket of my thoughts, close the gaps that had been cut open in me, simmer in the warm sun of quiet reflection.
Louis Roussel, Ph.D.