Thursday, Apr. 16, 2009

The Therapist

Eduvigis Cruz-Arrieta, 46, New York City

The way my clients are changing varies, depending on their socioeconomic status. The working poor are used to doing things within the limits of what they have. When there's scarcity, they feel it, but it's nothing new; despite the stress, their resilience comes through. What I see with the higher earners is a constant sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's the people who are living really well; some perhaps are living beyond their actual means. For them, the recurrent dialogue in the sessions sounds like, "Am I going to be able to sustain this lifestyle?" "What if I don't have a job tomorrow?"

Others are beginning to trim the extracurricular activities of their kids or saying, "We're not going on as many vacations as we used to" or "Do we need a second house?" I have one client who works in sales for a small company. Instead of five days, he's now on a three-day week. It has allowed him to write, which is his other passion. And he spends more time with his teen sons. For people who have a value system that includes sources of self-worth beyond what you have and how you display it, they're asking themselves, "Are we really making the best use of the resources we have? And are we happy?"

Read "Psychotherapy Goes from Couch to Yoga Mat."