Friday, March 23, 2007

The Blogging Shrink Part II

I have to say, I never worry about my patients reading the blog. Which is not to say it's outside the realm of possibility---after all, prisoners use the Web to advertise for pen pals. Here's one who describes himself as:

"I'm a passionate, romantic, sincere friend who has ambitions and goals. I enjoy reading creative writings, studying the law, horseback riding, dining out, and going to museums. I like vacationing and taking romantic walks on the beach. Looking for pen pals..."
(link not provided because I'm not trying to encourage this sort of thing)

Theoretically somebody could be printing out my posts every week and mailing them inside the walls to my patients. Frankly, if anybody actually went through that much trouble I'd be rather flattered. And then maybe a bit alarmed.

There are three reasons why inmates express
curiosity about someone---for flattery, for intimidation or just out of boredom. They wonder where I'm from when my accent slips out ("Charm City, but not originally."), why I don't wear a wedding ring ("I don't bring jewelry into the institution.") and whether or not to wish me a happy Mother's Day ("Thank you."). Rarely I get a direct personal question, and then I just give a direct response: "I don't talk about myself in here. This is your time." They accept this.

I have run into my patients after release (their release, not mine. I don't see myself being released for quite some time). Usually they recognize me first since once they're out of the standard-issue too-big or too-small jeans and grey t-shirt they just don't look the same. Only once have I run into a former inmate who didn't acknowledge me or seem to recognize me, and I understood that. I doubt anybody would necessarily want a reminder of an unpleasant place.

So I really don't think about it too much. And honestly, when it comes to finding out about someone through the Internet they have a lot more to worry about than I do.