Walk Down Misery Street

***

Some male colleagues advised me: If possible, it is better not to have women as patients. It was easier, they said, to work with hardcore criminals than with women, especially young and beautiful ones.

“Buddy, you can’t imagine how they behave,” one of my colleagues, a man by the name of Edward, shared with me. “Women . . . you will never understand when they lie or speak the truth. I’m not sure they even know themselves. I’ve had them flirt with me. A few stripped their clothes off in my office. Some asked me out for drinks, offered me pills, wanted to get high together. I’ve learned to deal with all that. But the tough thing to handle is these mind games they play, when they reveal their secrets to you and expose one intimate thing after another. And when you think that this is the last layer and this dance is over, it turns out it’s just beginning. You are tired of fighting with yourself. You want her and you fuck her in your dreams. Man, what kind of treatment is possible after that?”

In this respect, I was not an exception at this matter. Female patients, especially young and beautiful ones, became a great temptation for me. I knew that intimate relations between a counselor and a patient are considered a violation of professional ethics, and, if proven, may lead to either termination or revoked credentials. 

Still, I wanted to be liked by them. I wanted to impress them with my education, mind, and polite manners. Of course, during the sessions I repeated that our common goal was their treatment, and only treatment. Oh, yes . . .

The female patients quickly guessed what a “skillful” counselor they were dealing with. They shared jokes, responded to my courtesy, and attended our sessions in clothes that would be perfect for a porn magazine photo shoot. In short, they wanted to be attractive to me. Why not? I could be attracted to them, but they couldn’t be attracted to me?

At the same time, I was always aware that I saw them as easy and dirty women.

Back in Russia I had several intimate relationships with women; most of them were happy-go-lucky and carefree. Now, I found myself among similar women in New York. However, there was a marked difference: Such women who used to be my girlfriends were now my patients. I had to learn how to rid myself of the bad habit of flirting with female patients.

And most important is how to not despise them.

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