Yesterday I finished my paper. The goal was 3-6 pages. I wrote 5.25. I actually got a little carried away. Once I got into it, I got fascinated with existential therapy all over again. Logotherapy was developed by a Nazi concentration camp survivor, and the short version is that it’s about finding meaning and purpose in life in order to cure existential depression and anxiety. It’s quite cool. I didn’t know what it was really about when I picked the topic, and I’m glad I chose it because I think the philosophy of it will be useful for me if I manage to become a social worker. There’s a lot about respecting the humanity of the client and not just treating them as a problem in need of repair, and that appeals to me.
It’s funny — I read the news or check Twitter and I hate humanity all over again, but I love helping individual people. I’m awfully caring for a misanthrope.
Related: the Valkyrie linked me to an io9 article about a psychiatrist who had to decide whether or not to council a government torturer in 1940s Algeria. It made me think. Being a counselor or psychiatrist is not about activism. It is not the counselor’s role to convince someone they are doing wrong. When I was a peer counselor I had regular meetings with a client who was in jail for sexually abusing a child. It was not my job to make him feel judged, even if I thought he’d done wrong (which he had). But he was severely mentally ill and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. There was an issue of competency, and I could empathize with his confusion and illness even if I felt awful for his victim. (He should have been in an institution, not regular jail. That much was obvious. But the legal system is awful for people with severe mental disorders.) But someone neurotypical who chooses to harm others for a living, and wants help in feeling less guilty about it? I don’t think I could do it. I would be facilitating torture.
Anyway. I feel better for having finished my paper. Tomorrow I’m going to do a mock therapy session with the Naiad for my final project, and then all I have left is a test this week. I am relieved to not having this paper hanging over me anymore. The Valkyrie had to kick my ass to get me to work on it, but once I started it just flowed. That’s the way it usually goes. Starting is hard, but I love academic writing and research so if I get going I find myself having fun and getting into the zone.
By the way: I went to bed at 8:30pm, got up at 2:30am. Argh.