Cliche

I don’t write much here about being a psychiatrist.  The reason is entirely self-preservative—as much as I yearn to self-indulge, I fear that anything I write could be used against me in a  court of law.

And so, until courts of law are done with me, a brief word about cliche. The hallmark of cliche is predictability—the lack of surprise, the expected outcome, the ordinary, the banal.

As a shrink, there are too many days where I’m confronted by the banality and stereo typicality of human dynamics. Labels are legion and well distributed in pop psychology:  the hysteric, the borderline, the psychopath, the narcissist. Or, if you prefer others, GAD, OCD, ODD, BD II, MDD, and PD NOS.  

I sit in my chair, ask my questions, get my answers, and the brain I’ve been granted does its best to squeeze the answers into categories, diagnoses, labels. It does so, so effectively, that many days I am left with little pleasure in human encounters.

But, I am by no means alone. I could be writing this as a salesman, a stripper, a front desk worker at a cheesy motel, a former Goldman Sachs manager, a cashier, a hostess.  Each has a paradigm, a situation, a set of questions, and to each, the interaction can be squeezed into a number of labels, dealt with, and abandoned.

I think the danger in any job is to know when the labels define interaction, and when they define the limitations of experience.  That may be conjecture, but I hope not.

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