psychotherapy in new yorkJust below it:
Last night I had Dov and Cham over for dinner, and as we slurped our vegetarian lasagna (a little soupy, but good and hot), I looked up at Cham and asked, "What was that link Pat sent me? I didn't have a chance to open it."
February 15, 2008
Emotional help for adaptation to change
Solution Oriented Psychotherapy
"Oh, it was about some therapist who got murdered by a patient in New York City," she murmurs, not looking up from her food.
I raise one eyebrow. "Really."
"Uh, yeah. She's just worried about you, is all. Thinks you should be careful."
Cham's studying to be a therapydoc. I'm sure she heard the same directive.
"I don't want to hear about it," I say.
"Me neither. Could you pass the salad please?"
So I let it drop. But today I have time on my hands as I wait on the telephone for perhaps an hour or more, and speak with the third, no exaggeration, third, customer service rep from ATandT who is determined to resolve the mystery of my telephone bill. You should know that the customer service representatives at ATandT are very kind, patient, and full of time, if mystified at the enormity of their task and not altogether sure how, exactly, they can help you.
Thus while I wait for these well-intended individuals to work it out amongst themselves, between several games of spider solitaire, jotting notes, and filing bits of paper into charts, I open the dreaded email.
Kathryn Faughey, 57, a lovely, compassionate, hard-working Manhattan psychologist, is slashed to death, stabbed with a meat cleaver in her office. She will not be coming back to work tomorrow.
The New York Daily News:
"No one is helping me! No one is helping me!" the balding butcher yelled as he . . .(I can't say it!)I haven't heard from my mom yet, but for sure she'll be listening to the news and reading that paper, watching the phone, wondering if I'll call her. She knows I teach tonight. She'll be thinking . .Should I tell her. . .Be careful?
"She helped so many people, rich and poor," Adam, a retired lawyer, told the Daily News, as a cop stood guard outside his apartment door. (Adam is her husband)
"She was a very good and decent person. She saw herself as the child of immigrants. Both of her parents came from Ireland. She was one of seven and the first in her family to go to college. She worked very hard to become what she was."
Police said it's unlikely Faughey was slain by someone who just snapped during a therapy session. "It wasn't a sudden burst of temper. It was planned."
She specialized in domestic violence.
FD, of course, went to the drill. "You take your chair and hurl it at him and get out of there."
Or, I say, I could whack him with that 5 # dumbbell that I keep on my desk, the one that I have never, ever used for exercise, but can point to and say, should someone ask,
See? I keep weights right here at my desk, in case I get bored. Never waste
time, life's short.
Or what about that hammer that I keep in my desk?
I tell FD, "I sit right next to the door for a reason, dude. I'm a runner."
Are all therapists wondering what they would do? Are all of you in the business thinking, Who in my practice might do that to me? Isn't this the secondary trauma that they write about in mental health blogs? (yeah, look in the sidebar, it's there somewhere). We therapydocs are traumatized (oh, just a little, seriously) merely hearing the traumas of others. And so are you.
I know we're supposed to say, when someone passes away, either "naturally" or tragically, that there's a reason, that it's for the best somehow, who knows how. And yet it's surely a tragedy, it has to be. Think of the family, the incompleteness, the roads not traveled, the jobs not done. And in Ms. Faughey's case, think of all of those patients, the people who looked to her for comfort, ideas, smiles, support, help.
And then, when it couldn't get any worse (the news), we hear that five (now I hear seven) students are slain, seventeen injured, many seriously, as a gunman fires off several rounds of ammunition in a crowded geography classroom at Northern Illinois University.
NIU is only about an hour and a half away from my house. A short trip, really. Dekalb. Think women's basketball. Huskies. Nice people, now scared to go to school.
It's Valentine's Day. A quick and dirty: Another peer rejected kid. With mental illness.
A dangerous world we live in, perverse. We're going to need more mental health professionals, my friends, not fewer, in the coming years. So don't listen to people tell you that there's a glut of psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and counselors, or that psychiatrists don't get to do psychotherapy anymore, all they do is push medicine.
Don't be discouraged, don't be skittish about the field, or worried that a sociopath or otherwise sick individual will surely cross your path one day, that thought driving you to think . . .Real estate. We need you. Something tells me, we need you.
Oh and Pat, thanks. Honest. You just beat Mom to it, is all.