Friday, March 23, 2007

The Blogging Shrink Part II

I have to say, I never worry about my patients reading the blog. Which is not to say it's outside the realm of possibility---after all, prisoners use the Web to advertise for pen pals. Here's one who describes himself as:
"I'm a passionate, romantic, sincere friend who has ambitions and goals. I enjoy reading creative writings, studying the law, horseback riding, dining out, and going to museums. I like vacationing and taking romantic walks on the beach. Looking for pen pals..."
(link not provided because I'm not trying to encourage this sort of thing)

Theoretically somebody could be printing out my posts every week and mailing them inside the walls to my patients. Frankly, if anybody actually went through that much trouble I'd be rather flattered. And then maybe a bit alarmed.

There are three reasons why inmates express
curiosity about someone---for flattery, for intimidation or just out of boredom. They wonder where I'm from when my accent slips out ("Charm City, but not originally."), why I don't wear a wedding ring ("I don't bring jewelry into the institution.") and whether or not to wish me a happy Mother's Day ("Thank you."). Rarely I get a direct personal question, and then I just give a direct response: "I don't talk about myself in here. This is your time." They accept this.

I have run into my patients after release (their release, not mine. I don't see myself being released for quite some time). Usually they recognize me first since once they're out of the standard-issue too-big or too-small jeans and grey t-shirt they just don't look the same. Only once have I run into a former inmate who didn't acknowledge me or seem to recognize me, and I understood that. I doubt anybody would necessarily want a reminder of an unpleasant place.

So I really don't think about it too much. And honestly, when it comes to finding out about someone through the Internet they have a lot more to worry about than I do.


NeoNurseChic said...

Thanks for that. :) I enjoy reading about how different the three of your experiences are due to the settings you work in. You'd think something doesn't apply to a certain area (such as prison) but then you always find a way to write about it as it relates, and I like that! :)

I read back over my comments on the other post and I was tempted to delete some of them. I tend to say too much when I get into really writing a lot - and then later I regret it. So if I happen to delete them, it's nothing personal - I just decided I didn't want all that publicly known about my thoughts! lol.... Some might say then I should not say them in the first place so that I don't have to take them back, but I don't have that skill - it always seems like a good idea at first! ha!

Take care,
Carrie :)

jcat said...

Hey, give us the link....He sounds like just the sort of man I'm looking for. All the attributes he mentions, and a good imagination too!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr X:

You mentioned that when inmate patients asked if you were married, you'd reply that the session was their time, about their lives.

Years back, I spent some time working in homeless shelters and later volunteered one summer as an intern in a street ministry program.

It bothered me that I was frequently asked about my marital status or if I had a boyfriend.

I wish I'd thought to come up with something similar to your reply.

Part of why the question irked me was wondering if they do this more to women, rather than to men, as if it matters more to figure out if a woman is someone's "property" or not.

I am currently in therapy and because Ive been through some boundary violations with previous care providers, I prefer that my therapist disclose as little as possible about his private life--though I was very glad to learn that he regularly attends a consultancy group and is in a sports club.

What I DO like is knowing that he is taking excellent care of himself after hours and has a social life rooted in peer relationships.

That's the stuff I appreciate knowing about.

If I talk with people who have heavy issues and are considering going into therapy, I tell them,

'Make sure your therapist is trained in the issues that are of concern to you..and that he or she is attending a regularly scheduled consultancy group.'

Not nearly enough 'civilians' know enough to ask such questions.

ClinkShrink said...

Anonymous, this is definitely more of a female doc issue. Than again, I only work in men's facilities. It's not unusual for male inmates to try to strike up relationships (platonic or otherwise) with female custody or civillian staff for a variety of reasons, usually related to carrying out errands like transmitting information to the outside or smuggling contraband in. Sometimes the personal questions are just normal curiosity but inside the walls you just have to be more careful about boundaries.

Outside the walls---like on the blog---I'm much more informal. Feel free to just call me Clink.

Anonymous said...

on a totally off-topic, is there another pod-cast in the works?

ClinkShrink said...

Yes Rach, we've got one ready to launch whenever Roy has time to put it up after we let him up from under the floorboards.

Anonymous said...

Dear Clink, thanks.

I never did sort a way to deal with the questions without feeling annoyed.

Only time I ever came up with a good rejoinder was when a client kept bugging about why I didnt have a boyfriend, and I replied,

"I dont like being called someone's old lady."

He had to laugh at that one--and conceded I had a point.

Speaking of Charm City, if you want some funny and very warped reading, get a copy of John Water's book of essays entitled
'Crackpot.' He has a great article entitled 'Going to Jail'.

He spent a couple of years teaching film at Patuxent, a psychiatric forensic institute and had some very fine things to say about what it was like to show movies and get the guys to share their insights. He
sent some of thier reviews to a director, and the man wrote back that only inmates should be allowed to write reviews---the insights were that good.

Waters then arranged for the men to create films of thier own. He mentioned that one very hard thing for the men was having their therapists leave or die and having to start all over again with a new therapist.

Waters told the fellows, 'Next time you feel like killing someone, dont do it--write about it, draw it, paint it.'