Well, I started considering my next work, and damn if it doesn’t look like another kid will be a main character.
If I can “blame” anybody, and I really can’t, it would be my doctoral students in my Psychotherapy Interventions class.
This spring 2015 semester has been an examination of different interventions from around 10 different theoretical orientations. I set up the class so that textbooks reflecting these ten orientations were potential reads. The students had to choose two as their readings for the class (in addition to two other texts that everyone read).
There are multiple assignments in a variety of formats (believe me, they are complex – and I have to grade them all). One assignment involves selecting a subgroup of 5-6 students to serve as an expert panel to describe how they would work with a particular client. There is no preparation for the client, the panel will be informed about the client and then they had to start providing a case conceptualization and a treatment plan based on the theory in one of their selected texts.
Now, here is where the kid idea came in…
Their clients were to be YouTube bloggers. Many people suffering from mental illness will make multiple presentations about their symptoms and related personal issues. Most of the YouTube bloggers are young in their twenties. I spent a lot of time searching for clients who would be diverse. With much effort, I found some ethnic diversity, but not much age diversity. I only recently found a male who was in his fifties, but too late to be used in the class. The only age “diversity” I could find was downward – and I found a handful of teenagers who were articulate enough to serve the needs of the class. One was a young guy, somewhere in the 12-14 range who was exceptionally eloquent for his age and who professed to have a rather unique disorder.
This particular kid mentioned that he has Depersonalization Disorder – a condition where the individual has a persistent sense that he is observing himself or herself from outside his/her body. These feelings of unreality are quite disturbing, and the person wonders whether they are even alive.
As this kid described his experiences in a graphic manner, I began to think there’s a novel in this. Nearly simultaneously, someone in the class yelled out, “Hey Dr. Hains, this sounds like a plot from one of your books.”
The student was right of course (after all, I was thinking that very thing at the same time). So, I started plotting and organizing. Nothing is written yet other than a short outline. But, if I pull this off, I think the narrative will be exciting.
Only thing, though, is that it will involve another kid.