16 Dec 05
Farewell, Dr. Allen
Unexpectedly, I was called to see Dr. Allen, who wished to say goodbye.
“It’s final, I won’t be treating you again,” Dr. A. said.
“I wrote you off after you hinted about your departure last time, but I still did my homework.” “Let me see it then.”
I had been asked to write down conflicting thoughts I experienced in relation to my goals, from the perspective of the adult and parent in transactional analysis. Dr. A. laughed when he read:
Adult: rest, listen to some music, dare to do nothing, relax.
Parent: relaxation is for wimps and mediocre performers.
Adult: listen to me or you’ll lose your mind.
“It’s good to see that you’re bringing the adult forward,” Dr. A. said.
“Transactional analysis has enabled me to categorise my thoughts in terms of adult, parent, and child, whereas before, it was all a mishmash. Something clicked, something more than when I considered the id, ego, and superego after reading Freud. But aren’t the categories the same?”
“Not really, id is not something you’re going to see in TA.”
“But isn’t id the child?”
“It is and it isn’t. Id has a dark side, whereas the child is impulsive.”
I had also been asked to write any thoughts I had about reconciling achieving my goals with spending time with my family. Dr. A. read my answer:
The goals/family dichotomy came to mind whilst reading Epictetus (On Becoming a Philosopher). According to Epictetus, “You have to stay up at night, work hard, overcome certain desires, leave your family… be jeered at by everyone.”
Adult: what Epictetus indicates is too extreme.
Parent: do you want to settle for mediocre performance or to soar to great heights?
Adult: Epictetus is discouraging the faint-hearted, surely a balance can be achieved.
“It seems like you’re benefiting from TA. Do you feel that is the case?”
“I do, but I’m disappointed because I feel that we were about to get deep, and now you’re leaving.”
“But there’s a new guy, Dr.O. He might not do the TA stuff though, he’s more of a CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] type of guy. I believe you can change the way you think, and that’s what our sessions have been about.”
“What about Ed Wilson, the guy who studied ants for decades and won the Pulitzer Prize? I read about him recently, and how he thinks we are hard-wired to be who we are. In light of that, can I change?”
“I believe so. A lot of stuff is hard-wired, but you can change the way you think. That’s what learning is about too.”
“I also read that we can change our brains by exercising them, like athletes change their muscles.”
“That’s correct. New convolutions are formed in the brain.”
“Well, hopefully, these sessions have formed new convolutions in my brain.”
“I’m going to refer you to Dr.O. He should begin here next week.”
“I appreciate the help you’ve given me. It’s meant a lot to me, to get a professional opinion, and to have you to speak to in the midst of this insane place.”
“I wish you well.”