Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for November 14th, 2013

Anxiety Girl

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 14, 2013


Posted in Anxiety, Cartoons | 3 Comments »

Hit Them Where It Hurts: Financial Warfare

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 14, 2013


Juan Zarate spoke at UCLA today, telling us that the post 9/11 world involves financial warfare, meaning economic sanctions determines government power, and as such, the United States has the ability to hurt countries at the heart of their financial power base. Once again I am struck by the simple notion that if you know what matters to a person, a system, or a country, then you know how to control them. This is “theory of mind” at a global level. What I learned though, is that the United States has more power because they control major banking institutions and in our post 9/11 world, the banks are responsible for making sure that the money is not allocated to terrorist groups. This issue has always intrigued me, as banks are private institutions, in the business of exchanging money, and not, or so I thought, in the business of being the world’s moral compass. I am still a bit confused by that issue. Still, the basics of human behavior apply. If you strangle a country financially, you have their attention and changes can ensue. I wondered about alternative currencies, such as Bitcoins, as to whether this will be a game of cat and mouse, but unfortunately, I did not have a chance to ask my question. For every action, there is a reaction, and as such, I do not think it is as simple as strangling a country and then they comply with our demands. Yet, he did say that Iran is paying attention to our economic sanctions, and this, from his point of view, is very hopeful. I am no economist, nor am I political scientist, but as a psychiatrist, I find it interesting that worldwide warfare does not seem different than domestic, I mean marriage, warfare. In times of trouble, each side tries to get power, by hitting the other where it hurts the most. Duh.¬†

Posted in Money and Psychotherapy | 4 Comments »

“My Dad Ruined My Narrative”

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 14, 2013

“My dad wanted to come to my show, and that just ruins my narrative because he never wanted to come to anything,” Jaymie, thirty-three, female, says to me, with a touch of humor and a touch of angst. “My whole life I was mad at my dad and now he wants to be a part of my art. In the past, he just thought I was wasting my time. If he changes his perspective, I am going to have to think about him in a new way, and it took me years to see him as a detached dad.” Jaymie wants her dad to be uni-dimensional; the detached dad who did not care. In his adult life, he is coming to understand that not only does she change, but he does so, so that the field of vision must account for time and maturity. “Maybe he was in a different phase of his life when you were little, and now that he is older, he is coming around to appreciating your work,” I say, uncharacteristically, since most of the time I am reminding patients that they cannot expect people to change, only themselves. “Yes, that must be true, but now I have a more nuanced view of him and that is hard,” Jaymie says, as if it is more difficult to separate from him now that he seems to care more. “I guess I was glad he came, but he made me so nervous,” Jaymie says, ¬†like she is a small child. “You really wanted him to be proud of you,” I said, highlighting the never-ending need for parental approval. “Yea, but now that I am close to getting what I always wanted, I am realizing how complicated that is, as well.” Jaymie articulates the complexity of getting a long-held wish, and then feeling gratified by that. “This is a good problem,” I say, mirroring her humor.

Posted in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Teaching Psychoanalysis | 5 Comments »

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