Empathy No. 019
07/29/02, Brawney off. 2:42 PM
DR. BRAWNEY: I'd like to start by learning a little bit about you. Is there a name you prefer, or is Roderick acceptable?
RODERICK: Roderick is okay.
DR. BRAWNEY: Okay. I know you by reputation, you are an uncommonly accomplished young man, and extremely intelligent.
RODERICK: I'm not that special, not like people think.
DR. BRAWNEY: I have glanced through your records. Your last doctor tested your IQ at three standard deviations above the mean. That makes you close to one in a thousand.
RODERICK: I guess.
DR. BRAWNEY: That was many years ago. You would have been-
RODERICK: Four years old. This little office in Denver.
DR. BRAWNEY: How much do you remember about that?
RODERICK: I don't...I remember waiting for Mom to come out. She was upset.
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick, there are very few people who could have clear memories of something that happened at four years of age. Do you remember the doctor?
RODERICK: I don't know.
DR. BRAWNEY: You don't know or you don't want to tell me?
RODERICK: I know what I read. He told my mother that I was a monster.
DR. BRAWNEY: That's not exactly what he said. I have looked into it, and he thought that you had some issues empathizing-
RODERICK: I'm not a psychopath.
DR. BRAWNEY: I didn't say that you were and neither did he, this was simply a medical opinion and it is just background for me. Roderick, we are not here to give you a diagnosis, this is only to help you, and in order to do that, I need you to trust me. Whatever we discuss here is between you and me, no one in your family needs to know.
RODERICK: What about that?
DR. BRAWNEY: The camera? I do video record my sessions, but it's only for my personal reference and for your protection. I overwrite the contents of each tape on a regular basis and no one else will ever see them. Do you have a problem with this?
RODERICK: It's fine.
DR. BRAWNEY: Okay. As I said, we are here because you are going through a difficult transition, and I believe I can help make it a little bit easier. Could you tell me what the last few weeks have been like for you?
RODERICK: They...There are all these people around, and they're mad because I'm not like them.
DR. BRAWNEY: How do you know that they're mad at you?
RODERICK: I just know.
DR. BRAWNEY: Has anyone in your stepfamily made any negative comments or treated you badly?
RODERICK: It's not like that, I...I can just feel it. They know I'm a mutant, and I don't act the way they want me to act.
DR. BRAWNEY: How do they want you to act?
RODERICK: ...Why do I always have to change? Everyone always "be yourself," and then they won't let me be me. I'm not hurting anyone.
DR. BRAWNEY: The goal here isn't to change your behavior, Roderick.
RODERICK: Yes, it is. Everyone keeps trying to make me normal-
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick, this is not about changing your personality. This is about addressing certain problems that you're going through right now. I said that I wanted you to be honest with me, and I'm going to be honest with you as well. You clearly have difficulty coping with change, but this something we can address. I'd like you to do something for me right now. Tell me, off the top of your head, all of the things that you dislike about your new home.
RODERICK: ...It's noisy. It's crowded. I can't focus because people are always bothering me to do things. No privacy.
DR. BRAWNEY: Okay, now I want you to take a moment and think of some positive changes that have come or that you anticipate coming with your new life.
RODERICK: Fine...More money now, Mom isn't so stressed out.
DR. BRAWNEY: That's good, but I was hoping to hear how this has improved your life, not your mother's.
RODERICK: I don't know...Mom says that the new school will be better.
DR. BRAWNEY: Do you believe that?
RODERICK: No. They'll just decide I'm a freak here, too.