Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for October 14th, 2010

The Talker

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 14, 2010

     Salvatore, seventy, loved talking, got angry when I interrupted him, had a lot of interesting things to say, but he changed the subject so often, that it was hard for me to think about any topic in great depth. Each session, I would gently reflect that he has so many things on his mind, maybe we can start to think about each topic from different points of view. After about six months, Sal, as he liked to be called, began to slow down and allow us to have a dialogue; his need for a monologue diminished. I commented on this change and he said, “well, I wanted you to understand everything I am dealing with.” “Yes, I can see that you were giving me the overture, but I also think that as you spoke, you were too anxious to allow other thoughts into your brain, so you changed the subject to avoid the uncertainty of a conversation.” I said, thinking that his talking was a way in which he protected himself from what he feared would be my shaming comments. “I am just a lot more comfortable with you now,” he says. “Yes, I can feel that. We have built up some trust such that you are less worried that I want to humiliate you.” I reply, wondering why I chose the word humiliate, and curious how he is going to respond to that word. “Yes, I do sometimes feel that you are going to scold me for making bad judgments,” Sal says in a way that seems to reverse our age difference. “What makes you think I would scold you?” I say, wondering if I have ever sounded that way to him. “Well, I have just felt that way my whole life; mostly around women.” Sal says with a sad tone. “We have to stop,” I say, thinking about his relationship with his mother. “Let’s think about this some more. Women seem to make you anxious because you project on to them the feeling that they are making negative judgments of you. That is really interesting. ” I am wishing we had more time to explore this topic. Sal says “overall, I am feeling so much better. Sure we can talk about that next time.” Sal leaves looking at me, making me think that this session was hard for me to stop, but it was not hard for him to leave.

Posted in Musings, Psychotherapy | 6 Comments »

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