Psych Sisters

The 7 of us are very different. We were brought together by a desire to achieve a doctorate in psychology but with deeply personal motivations that we did not know at the time.
The stand-alone start-up school of professional psychology was not affiliated to a university and threatened the local college that did not offer a doctorate in psychology. This devil-may-care attitude of the leaders of the institute attracted us. We too were attempting to achieve a major accomplishment later in life. A new beginning, a unique quest, a twist in existence that we had dreamed but seemed impossible.
To become accepted and enrolled in the inaugurating class, we had to prove ourselves. Once a week for six weeks, the school sponsored a course presented by one of the faculty. Our ranking and potential to achieve a doctorate was rated by the amount we learned on a specific topic over three hours measured by scores on a post-test compared to scores on the pre-test. Out of an audience of over 100, only 7 of us enrolled, probably due to the expense of the school as well as the scores we achieved.
Over the following 20 years after graduation, we met once a year for a pre-Christmas luncheon. We shared our experiences and learned about ourselves and each other. Even though we claimed to be supportive of each other, in truth, in the beginning, we were competitive. The group did not like to see one of us succeed and achieve beyond the other 6. But the demands of patients, family, and long hours worked as mortar and pestle in grinding each of us into beings we would not have recognized in the beginning. Now we care about and help each other. And we are no longer haunted by secrets. Or maybe we are.
Let us give a brief description of who we are:
Marilyn: “I find good in everyone. Even though I’m not intimated by tension, argument or confrontation, I back away when I sense negativity. I’d rather avoid disagreement. My expertise is helping people cope with pain.” The group’s assessment: “You can see through people and go right to the core or the jugular. You are intense and it’s hard to engage you in small talk. Chill.”
Eileen: “I teach about issues that were never taught to me, such as how to be independent and feeling worthwhile even if you don’t please everyone. I often struggle with anxiety and depression and how to be honest with people. My biggest fear is becoming poor.” The group’s assessment: “You are too focused on material things even though you already have more than enough. You need to fill the emptiness inside.”
Sylvia: “I deal with Medicaid patients at a psychiatric hospital. My patients really need my help. I need to help the poor and needy like I used to be.” The group’s assessment: “You’ve never felt good enough and you don’t believe others who tell you how great you are. Listen to the messages you give patients and apply them to yourself.”
Christine: “My specialty is working with troubled kids and includes family therapy. I arrange camping, canoeing, and fishing outings to help them build confidence and redirect their energy away from oppositional behaviors. I helps kids whose parents can’t or don’t know how.” The group’s assessment: “You work harder than the kids you’re trying to help. How long can you keep up this survival attitude? The families of these kids need to plan the outdoor adventures.”
Lucy: “My patients are women with victim consciousness. I teach life skills and help them improve their personal appearance. My emphasis is on women’s issues, such as being able to say “No” without fear of being abandoned. I am a certified sex therapist even though I have abstained from sexual activity after my divorce 5 years ago.” Group’s assessment: “Do what I say, not what I do. Get real. Be yourself. Look in the mirror. You are a beautiful person. Stop hiding from yourself.”
Olivia: “I focus on psychological evaluations. I don’t want to get too close to clients because I’m afraid of legal liability. I was a nurse before I became a psychologist and I’m tired of taking care of people.” Group’s assessment: “You’re afraid of your own anger; you believe that you have been dealt a bad hand. Create fun and excitement to feel the joy just below the surface.”
Robin: “I consult with couples in marriage counseling. I help them refine what they are already doing to salvage their marriage.” Group’s assessment: “Your marriage has failed. You need to walk away and live a new life unburdened by your past. You will feel lighter. Your energy will revitalize and zeal will re-ignite.”

78 thoughts on “Psych Sisters”

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