Monte, the middle-age psychiatrist, continues to seek Marla, the elderly psychiatrist for consultation about his work. In so doing he presents his therapeutic dilemmas and Marla sheds her words of wisdom. Sometimes the “session” goes smoothly, and other times, as previously reported in this blog, Monte and Marla get entangled in personal issues which leaves Monte feeling disappointed that Marla, although sometimes wise, is not always a good mentor, meaning that she does not always seem to want Monte to succeed professionally. This is manifested by Marla giving helpful work opportunities to other psychiatrists. Monte comes to me, wondering about how to handle Marla. “Variable reinforcement is really tough, since sometimes you get a lot out of her, and sometimes you feel that she does not have your back. It must be hard to weigh these competing feelings.” I say, outlining the equation where Monte has to come up with a summation of his relationship with Marla in order to decide whether to continue to see her. Like all relationship dilemmas, the challenge lies in trying to weigh the good with the bad, given that different times yield different experiences, and given that the twenty-five year history with one another cannot be duplicated. The length of their drama speaks to the depth of the good and the bad. I hope Monte can navigate his way through to find peace with that relationship. A deeper consciousness about their dynamics will help him. In that, I can be helpful.