Empathy No. 018
07/29/02, Brawney off. 2:30 PM (approx)
ELEANOR: Sweetheart, I'm only expecting that you make an effort.
ELEANOR: Remember our deal. I really want you to make a good faith effort, and if-
DR. BRAWNEY: Sorry to keep the two of you waiting. I'm Dr. Azalea Brawney, and you must be Mrs. Eleanor Levitt.
ELEANOR: That's right. It's nice to meet you.
DR. BRAWNEY: I'm only sorry I couldn't make it to the wedding reception, but I've taken on a very heavy schedule lately. The hope was that I could come by for dinner to meet you some night, but this makes that unnecessary, doesn't it?
ELEANOR: I suppose it does. And this is my son, Roderick.
DR. BRAWNEY: A pleasure to meet you as well. I've heard about your accomplishments from a number of people in the neighborhood.
RODERICK: ...Thank you.
ELEANOR: I have to be honest with you about something. Roderick isn't happy to be here. I had to promise him that he wouldn't have to come back if it wasn't working.
DR. BRAWNEY: That's not actually unusual, Mrs. Levitt. I work extensively with teenagers, and in fact that's how I came to know Mr. Levitt - I spent a lot of time with Allison and Jason after their mother's death. Some degree of resistance is not at all uncommon in these situations.
ELEANOR: Well, this is hardly as difficult a situation as that.
DR. BRAWNEY: You might be surprised. Major life changes are very psychologically stressful, whether they are positive or negative. With a death, there is a process of grieving, but with the kind of transition that you and Roderick are facing, there is an expectation that one adapts immediately.
ELEANOR: And I wondered about that, because it's only been a few weeks since we've moved in, and...to be honest, I thought we could wait a little longer.
DR. BRAWNEY: Mrs. Levitt, have you ever worked with a therapist or any sort of mental health practitioner?
ELEANOR: It's never been an option for me, but Roderick spoke with someone once...he didn't like it very much.
DR. BRAWNEY: Different practitioners have different approaches, and I would like to take a few moments to explain mine. I work primarily with families and youths who are struggling with difficult circumstances - trauma, substance abuse, depression-
ELEANOR: Well, Roderick has...that's really not what we're here to deal with.
DR. BRAWNEY: I also help people learn how to cope with difficulties in their own lives, including difficult transitions. This isn't for everyone, but from what Mr. Levitt told me, there's a good chance that I can assist both of you through this period. I'd like to do a short session with each of you right now, and depending on the outcome, we can then further discuss if additional sessions are called for and set up a schedule.
ELEANOR: ...That sounds fine, but I still have a full schedule, and Roderick is starting school soon.
DR. BRAWNEY: We can work around that, but we need to take this one step at a time. I'd like to speak with Roderick first, so if you would like to wait, we will call for you shortly.
ELEANOR: Okay. Roderick, is that okay?
RODERICK: Yeah, that's fine.