Dear Alma, I’m a shrink with a problem

Dear Alma, I’m a shrink with a problem

Dear Alma,

I am a shrink with some issues.

My consulting rooms are near the concert hall. I was not surprised when one of the philharmonic musicians came to see me. I was a little alarmed when the numbers rose. I am now offering therapy to four very stressed musicians.

I have no problem separating. But some of the matters raised by the musicians are similar and interconnected. Two of them, it turns out, were briefly lovers. Neither knows the other is seeing me.

My supervisor says I should probably detach from one of them, saying that my doctor ordered me to reduce my workload.

But which do I drop? One is a violist, the other the concertmaster. Both are female.

All else aside, I can’t go to orchestral concerts any more.

Fifty-minute Florence

Dear Fifty-minute Florence,

It’s sound advice to remove your clients with cross-purposes. If you continue to see them, hearing two sides of the same story, it will be very difficult to remain completely neutral and honest.

Who to let go? That is a tough question. Which of the two do you think you are more suited to help? Do you have a list of other therapists who would match well with either of these two clients? Consider both your ability to help them as well as their impact on your personal well-being. Weigh these questions, and make your decision.

Fifty-minute Florence, the biggest takeaway I have here is that you no longer attend orchestra concerts. Please don’t have your work negatively impact your pleasure. We all know that orchestras are seething pits of venomous snakes, and that many of our greatest composers of the past were absolute emotional messes. But the miraculous music they create comes from that chaos. Just imagine what an orchestra of well-balanced, kind, and respectful people would sound like. Boring boring boring. Give me a passionate, hot mess any day over a bloke punching in and out of a 10-hour work day. The conflict creates the art.

Go to the orchestra. Enjoy the spectacle. And be happy in the knowledge that your are helping those musicians find the equilibrium they are searching for.

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