Assignment

IRVIN YALOM: This is the same group about four meetings later. JULIUS: Good to see everybody. TONY: Good to be back. BONNIE: Good to see you. STUART: You look well, Julius. BONNIE: You do. JULIUS: Yeah? Well, I'm feeling not too badly. Have you been--it's interesting, Stuart, that you commented about that. I appreciate that. STUART: I think that we all think about you quite a bit. And your situation. JULIUS: How do you feel about that? STUART: A little nervous. It's difficult. And I believe we said several weeks ago that we were going to try to talk about that a little bit more directly. And I don't know that we have. PAM: I think I have seen a lot of different words around Julius' illness, situation. Everybody seems to--how do you feel about that, Julius? JULIUS: I'm not sure about your question, Pam. What are you asking me? PAM: Julius has cancer and that is devastating. And somehow we tend to use different words. You just used "situation." I have heard other people say "illness." I want to check in with people. TONY: I'm fine with whatever we say as long as it's not confusing. JULIUS: You have been feeling confused? TONY: Just sometimes I don't understand what everybody is talking about. I don't know how to put it. Always on the spot. I don't want to talk about it right now. JULIUS: You say you don't want to talk about "it" right now. What's the "it?" TONY: Sometimes, especially recently with Philip, he uses a lot of terminology that is difficult for me to understand. It's just hard to put my head around things sometimes. I just feel dumb sometimes. But you guys know that. REBECCA: No. PAM: Tony, sometimes you say the most straight from the hip, pivotal thing to people. TONY: That's good to know. REBECCA: And I think it is hard for all of us to wrap our minds around somebody who has cancer. TONY: Yeah, I think I was just saying that whatever the word is, like melanoma, malignant, things like that were just kind of always--it took me awhile to kind of get my head around it. JULIUS: Well it has taken me a bit of time to get around it, too. TONY: I bet. JULIUS: And I--I'm glad in some ways, Stuart, that you led the meeting off with asking me about that because, as we have been talking this last while, for you to go to feelings is not an easy thing. What is it like for you to tell me that you are concerned about me? STUART: Well, I am. I'm definitely concerned. I know we all are. And this group is certainly a place where we can come to talk to one another and I worry about that being upset. And I also know that you are responsible for bringing us here together. So I have a lot of gratitude. JULIUS: Concern. Gratitude. Feels good for me to hear. Obviously I want to know that what I do is of value. TONY: Helps me out a lot. Well, you know, all of you help me out a lot. But like I said a few sessions ago, just, I don't know, without this group I wouldn't have a touchstone to be able to kind of vent or have just a place to kind of depressurize, you know? This is good. It's simple. JULIUS: Simple? TONY: It is just easy here. Not easy. What the fuck am I trying to say? I feel like I get to come here and work on just letting out things that are pent up or hearing other people let it out. And for me that is like, I don't know, it adds something because it's like I am learning from all of you how to do that better. Sometimes I feel pent up. JULIUS: How has Tony been doing? STUART: Well, if you remember early on in our time together, Tony seemed to be getting in fights a lot. That hasn't happened for awhile, so that's good. REBECCA: We have also been confronting people about their own shit, which has been really good. Like Philip a couple of weeks ago who wasn't, who isn't responding a lot directly, and you confronted him on that, and I think that was really important. TONY: Speaking of which, she just said he didn't and then he isn't. How does that make you feel, Philip? PHILIP: I am wondering if you are accurately interpreting my actions. I don't pretend to behave in a manner that is normal for everyone else. This is part of what makes me an individual and unique human being. It is part of what makes me myself. So please, I would suggest you to listen to my words and this should accurately reflect my position in the group and my place and the contributions that I am making. That I don't engage your eyes is not that my eyes aren't engaged, they are just engaged inwardly. TONY: Inwardly. Because I just ask because she is saying that you aren't being engaging, and sometimes you aren't. I mean you shoot your philosophy to us often enough and it's helpful. But you just seem really cold sometimes, you know? And I think that affects all of us here. PHILIP: You find that coldness discomfiting? TONY: I--yeah. REBECCA: I'm personally, to be candid, wondering how in the hell you picked up girls in bars. Right? I'm not trying to take a jab. I'm just--who are you, compared to--? PHILIP: Well, first of all I am not that same gentleman. The person that I became thanks to the great works of the philosophers that are my guide, was the one who I was allowed to develop this disattachment which I am finding that you are misunderstanding. It is a way--Throwing your feelings out upon the ground for all to judge and look at is only one way. I have a different way of being in the world. And I feel it is, I think strongly, it has been of great benefit to myself. TONY: How does that look? PHILIP: How does what look? TONY: The way you are being of great benefit to yourself? It just sounds like--I don't know, I almost feel a little bit judged at the way that we come to this group and we do express ourselves and you saying that there are other ways. Of course you have a different way. STUART: But it does seem that Philip has offered many contributions that have been helpful to some of us. Whether you feel warmly about him as a person or not, whether I do, seems off the point a little bit. TONY: Fair enough. PAM: Yeah, but putting in philosophical interjections about things is not risk-taking at all for this person. This person has spent his entire life detaching from the world and, and has stated here--and this is what I don't understand, Julius--has stated here that his whole point of life is to not make contact with people. And yet he is in this group. I don't understand that, and I continue not to understand it. I think it's fine to have philosophical statements, improve us and give us thoughts about how we might change, but what is that really doing? PHILIP: What you criticize is exactly what I have to offer the world. If I may connect the dots for you. I am here as a student. What I am here a student of is to do Julius's job as a therapist, as a counselor, to advise others. My method does not happen to be of the same ilk. It is not the same method. That is how I am unique. That is what I have to offer the world--an objective, philosophical approach. It is not different and differences often are threatening to people and I understand that and I am prepared for the consequences. But I stand by my differences because I stand by this point of view as being the right one for me and for many others, as others in the group, Pam, have said it has helped them. JULIUS: How are people feeling? BONNIE: I have a question to ask Philip, and I am curious about that your eyes are turned inward. And I wonder how you feel about what you see inside of you, because as we all felt you were such a help to us and then with the revelation of how you treated Pam, I wonder what you feel about yourself? Would you look yourself in the eyes? TONY: Any guilt? PHILIP: Many years ago I tore myself from the attachments of public opinion. BONNIE: What about your own opinion of yourself? PHILIP: My own opinion is based upon my intellectual analyses, my personal faculties, and I would not be here--If I believed I was behaving erroneously I would behave differently. So obviously I feel that this is a very helpful way for me to behave and I have the belief that I have something to offer to others. JULIUS: Philip, I think you may be missing something here. People are not asking you--I think Bonnie is asking a question about how you make sense of your behavior toward Pam 15 years ago. Am I right, Bonnie? Is that what you were asking about? PHILIP: It's no secret. I have addressed that I was a sexual addict 15 years ago. It is not something that I am proud of. Indeed, as you have noticed, I have worked very hard to develop how I am today, which is in a direct response to that addiction. And I am a little bit confused in some ways with the vehemence of Pam's reaction, since she went quite willingly into a social interaction with myself in which we interacted and went our separate ways. PAM: We interacted and went our separate ways? PHILIP: We did. Am I in error? PAM: He just called the fact that he fucked me and devirginized me a "social interaction." I mean how cold is that? PHILIP: Do you prefer the term "fuck" to "interaction"? Are yours more--how is "fuck" better than "interaction?" PAM: You are talking about manipulating a girl of 18 who was not only just vulnerable to men but vulnerable to her teacher. PHILIP: Behavior which I have since fixed. PAM: And you manipulated that status and you took me and you had sex with me. And you not only had sex with me-- PHILIP: You had sex with me, too. PAM: But you dropped me. REBECCA: I'm feeling very uncomfortable. TONY: Yeah, me too. JULIUS: Track that. What is the discomfort about? Follow those feelings, Rebecca, Tony. TONY: The last thing Philip said is you almost sound like you are not taking responsibility for being in that interaction with him then. You are saying he fucked you. I mean, everything that you said is about it being done to you, as if you had no will of your own. PAM: well, it's very alluring when you are 18 years old and your older teacher comes at you and says the right things and does the right things, and all of a sudden you are dropped with having to deal with him in your class and your whole class future. The repercussions of that event tragically laid out for me for years. So, yeah, I want him to take some responsibility for this. And, yeah, I feel that this is not--I can take only so much responsibility. And what I am so angry about is that this man is not taking any responsibility and shows no remorse for his actions. Look at him! PHILIP: Am I not taking responsibility? BONNIE: Can you apologize to her? JULIUS: What do you think about that? Don't respond to yes or no, Philip. What do you think about that as an idea? PHILIP: The idea of apologizing. Well. I suppose I--I continue to go back to the situation. And I look at it, and, yes, there were certain power imbalances, as Pam keeps referring to. I was indeed the instructor of her class. And yet we had a mutually satisfactory-- JULIUS: You are answering something different than the question that has been posed to you. PHILIP: Yes, how do I--Could you say it again, please? STUART: Julius asked you how you felt about the idea of apologizing. JULIUS: Thanks, Stuart. PHILIP: It's not a question to me and my outlook of how I feel. The question is one--in my viewpoint of the world which I understand you don't accept--it is an intellectual consideration for me and I see that you don't appreciate that, but that is how I am different. JULIUS: Philip-- TONY: You are avoiding the question. JULIUS: Yes. I guess I am feeling even more, Tony, I appreciate Stuart, you Tony, you kind of pushing Philip. And I think you are kind of pushing my work forward, the work that I feel needs to be done. And I've got to tell you, I recognize in pushing this forward, I guess I am more and more aware of the passage of time and your not making, Philip, the best use of time. And time, because of what I am aware of, is becoming more and more precious. And I don't want to burden you with that but I feel I am not really being honest if I don't speak my mind about that. And the way I kind of look at this, Philip, is that you spent the first half of your life addicted to sex, and the second half of your life addicted to not being addicted to people. And I'm wondering if there is any way for you to kind of create some more working space for you. And that is why I am harping on the issue of an apology--not because an apology is going to make this all pretty and nice, but to create some more working space for you. Do you know what I mean? Something between these two polarities. PHILIP: If you could elaborate, actually, on working space would be helpful. JULIUS: Can anybody help me out? STUART: Well, it seems like you're saying that Philip is a little bit trapped between his behavior in the past and his current--what's the word you continue to use, Philip? Detachment? Disattachment, yes? PHILIP: That acceptable. STUART: From people which doesn't leave him--doesn't leave you a lot of room to make choices in how you are going to interact with people. Is that--? JULIUS: That's perfect. It is kind of like you swapped on compulsion for another. Where is your free will? Where is your choice? TONY: Are you looking for growth, if you are asking for working space? Do you want to grow into anything more? PHILIP: I think I do understand what you are saying right now, and I just feel like--I think I am not being listened to or something, because all that is in my head is what I have said many times before. My growth--and I feel that I have made strides. If you had seen me before, and one person has, I am a different person. And my strivings and my growth--how can I see it as any other way but this that I have obtained with the help of the great philosophers, Schopenhauer, Kant, Nietzsche, etc, Plato-- I'm looking for growth. Indeed, I'm looking for growth. How can you say that I am not looking for growth? I am pursuing that growth at the expense of everything else in my life every single day. I go home and I read Schopenhauer and I read Kant. And what I am trying to do is obtain a higher level of my intellect. I would like to-- REBECCA: You are growing in one way, Philip. Growing intellectually and reading more books is not "growth." PHILIP: I disagree. REBECCA: You can disagree all you want but everything you are saying right now is bullshit. I'm sorry, but all she is asking for is an apology and an answer to a question. If you listen, she just wants to know--we all want to know--if you are going to just think about giving an apology and you go into this diatribe. You've said some really amazing things but right now all you are doing is avoiding the question. TONY: And just a point of process. I don't think Pam--were you asking for an apology or was that Bonnie? STUART: That was Julius. That wasn't Pam. TONY: Okay. GILLL: I think Pam was pointing out that he never had apologized. PHILIP: I am able to apologize. If that is what is necessary, I will apologize. JULIUS: Can you appreciate what it means for Pam to know that you understand the impact of what happened? Am I right, Pam, that that is important for you? PAM: If I felt like he meant it. I just--I don't think he has changed. I look at this person and I see the same person that I knew when I was 18. Manipulative--I think he's manipulating the group. Impressing people with the things that he says, talking about a philosopher that is counterproductive to the group. So I don't know what that apology would mean to me. BONNIE: I understand your feelings, Pam, but I'm sorry, I wouldn't really want to apologize to somebody who just said that to me. JULIUS: Say more, Bonnie. BONNIE: I just think that, I feel like--Like Gill a couple of sessions ago, we had to be able to hear him and you have to be able to lay the groundwork in order for somebody to be able to say something they have never said before. And you have to be willing to try even if you are scared. JULIUS: That is a really important statement for you to make. BONNIE: You have helped me to make that statement. JULIUS: I'm not going to take credit for it away from you. That would be cheapening what you have just done. I think you are really pushing your envelope. I think it's an important point. It is an important point because of your feedback to Pam, and it is important because you are out here. And I am so glad you didn't end by sayin g "I'm sorry" or "I'm not sure about what I am saying." BONNIE: I'm trying not to say it. JULIUS: Gill, what do you think? Do you think Bonnie is on to something about Pam? GILL: I would have to agree. I think Pam is still sort of the Supreme Court justice, still maybe only judging. STUART: I would just like to throw out, Pam, you said a minute ago that you didn't see any change in Philip from the man you knew 15 years ago. And it seems clear that, as Julius just said, maybe all he has done is trade addictions, but that is certainly a change, isn't it? PAM: That doesn't count as a change to me, not for what it would mean to me. Not what it would mean to other women. How many women? There was a list of women that he kept, that Molly, my very good friend, found. A list of all the women and all the positions. I'm sorry, but that is really screwed up. REBECCA: But Pam, do you expect him to call every one of those women and apologize to each and every one? PAM: No, and I don't expect him to be in the same therapy group as them, either. BONNIE: That's true. PHILIP: You accuse me of trading addictions for another addiction and that they are both the same. You say you would have objected as strongly had I read Schopenhauer to you. PAM: I don't disagree that Schopenhauer is a wonderful writer. He is a wonderful philosophical writer. But in terms of adopting your whole life to being just like him, that is counterproductive in my opinion. TONY: Pam, what do you want him to change into? You know, what would it look like for him to change? What would he look like? What would the qualities be? PAM: I don't know where I can begin. He would look at people, for one thing. He'd own up to what he had done. He'd feel remorse. He'd start saying the word "I feel." I could go on all day. PHILIP: I come back to fashion, and that many of the things that you cannot stand, that repulse you about me, I see as fashion. ten years ago everybody said "I think" and nobody said "I feel." What is that: progress or fashion? JULIUS: Philip, how are you feeling right now? I'm going to ask you to put aside Schopenhauer because I am aware that both you, and you, Pam, have experienced a great deal of distress and are experiencing a great deal of distress right now. It's a lot easier for us, Pam, to see it with you. But I've got to believe that it is no less evident somewhere inside of you, Philip. And I want us to--I know it is not easy for you to keep coming here every week and face this barrage. But you have to recognize that you are doing some things here that are really inflaming the situation. Now we can't change you, but we can give you feedback, and hopefully you will take that under advisement, your personal counsel to use your phrase, and see what you want to do with it. You don't even need to respond right now. It might, in fact, be even more productive if you just thought about it for a moment. I am aware also that we have been giving this a lot of time and there is other stuff that we may need to look at today. I'm also conscious of the fact, Stuart, that you commented about the group's concern about my cancer. And I want to make sure that if that is on somebody's mind that we can speak to that, too. TONY: It's always on our mind, I would think. BONNIE: Yeah. TONY: We've got a lot out of this process. I would even say we care about you. At least I care about you. And I think about it. It makes me think about my own mortality a lot, too. PAM: Julius, you know how I feel. You're the best. REBECCA: Of course we all think about it. We're here every week. TONY: It's kind of like an elephant in the room. JULIUS: It's kind of like a what? TONY: An elephant in the room. Not that you are an elephant. JULIUS: You mean it is so prominent but we're not speaking about it. Well, I'll tell you how I would like us to speak to this. And that is that I think what happens here is precious. And I would like us to make the best use of our time together. I don't want this group to end, but it's going to end. We have a number of sessions left. I think I am going to be able to fulfill my commitment. But when this group ends, I want us to have as few regrets as possible about what we did together. It is not usual for me to speak like this, so I need to check that out with you and see how you are experiencing me. But I think it is the best way I know of dealing what I'm dealing with. So when this group ends, I would like for you guys to have as few regrets as possible about what we've done. And I've got to confess Philip, maybe that is part of what is driving me with you. But in some ways, only because you have been so stuck, and I see other people making real movement. PHILIP: Julius, if I may. JULIUS: I appreciate you calling me Julius. That's not usual. PHILIP: I want to ask a question about the process that I am here to be studying. We all have been revealing parts of ourselves, and there is a mutual give and take. And as a future person in your shoes, I can't help but comment that I feel that you have not commented yourself upon--I can't tell if you are being forthcoming or not about your cancer. You spoke about the group's concern. I did not hear you commenting upon your own personal concern. Julius, how am I supposed to behave in the future as a therapist, is where my mind is headed. PAM: I feel that this is a personal attack. This is really unfair. You as the therapist shouldn't have to reveal anything anymore or any less than you are. TONY: I disagree. REBECCA: I do, too. TONY: Not that I feel you are being disingenuous. But how do you feel? Is it a concern? JULIUS: Of course it is a concern. PAM: He's in a really difficult decision. REBECCA: Well maybe it would help him, too. JULIUS: I don't want to avoid the question, but do you know what just struck me, Pam, is that you are always quick to look out for me. I feel that you don't give some of the other men in the room a break, but that you are always looking out for me. There is a part of me, obviously, that likes that, but another part of me that says we've got to make sense of why that is. STUART: I feel that way. TONY: Yeah. PAM: Julius, I just--You are a great guy. Every man should be as great as Julius. I don't know how to respond to that. I don't think that that's my problem. You know, I'm just seeing it as it is. You know? GILL: So the rest of us aren't valid? PAM: I didn't say that. If I didn't think you were valid at all I wouldn't say anything. JULIUS: Gill, if that look had words, what would you say when you just turned to Pam? GILL: The look she gave me or the look I gave her? JULIUS: Both. GILL: I think the look she gave me said, "No, you are not valid." She was even silent along with it. I'm still scared of her. PAM: See, that's not my problem. Why should that be my problem? If Gill hides something from us for weeks and weeks, he gives us this whole other story about Rose and we really empathized with him. I feel cheated. I feel like I don't know who this person is. I think it is great that you've finally come and out said what you needed to say. I think it is great. TONY: Do you think it is valid? PAM: Of course. I think it is valid. JULIUS: So Gill, that is one half of the equation. What's the other half of the equation? Pam has responded. But I want to know what you were feeling when you looked over at Pam. GILL: Like I said, just scared. Like she doesn't think I'm anything, and then when she gives me that look I think, "Hey, maybe I'm not." JULIUS: And when Pam says, "Julius, you are the best," what is that like for you? GILL: Makes me feel a little less of a person. Not that--I think you are great, too. But maybe we could acknowledge that the rest of the men in this room are in some way men, at least. PAM: Have I not acknowledged that the men are men? It's just--it's frustrating. GILL: Or insects. JULIUS: I need to check something out with you because I am very concerned right now. Am I doing something that makes you need to tell me I'm great? BONNIE: Sometimes. Julius, I feel like I want you to share with us, and then sometimes I don't want to know anything about you, because you are our leader. And if you can 't do it, I can't do it. REBECCA: I want to know more about you. I want you to share. Because I don't want you to be imperfect. Because he has problems just like we do. TONY: That's tough to live up to. JULIUS: You don't want me to be imperfect. REBECCA: I don't want you to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. You are great, but maybe you're not the best, you know? JULIUS: I feel that I am sharing a lot with you guys every session. It is different. It is not historical information. I feel I am sharing something with you right now when I ask the question, "Am I doing something that causes you to tell me that I am great?" Because I've got to tell you, it makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes me concerned that I am not being seen in a fully three-dimensional way. REBECCA: I feel like that a lot. PHILIP: Julius, I feel that the question that I posed to you earlier, I'm coming back to. Could it be your avoidance of sharing like the rest of the group shares in the same manner that the rest of the group is strongly encouraged and sometimes badgered into sharing--is your lack of sharing, is that perhaps the thing that causes some members of the group to call you great? And should there be this difference between the role of the counselor and the role of the group members in group therapy? Is there a difference? TONY: Really quickly before you answer, I just love that you said "I feel" at the beginning of that statement. PHILIP: Did I? JULIUS: It snuck out, huh? It's great Tony, that you caught that. I'm not going to evade your question. PHILIP: For the second time. JULIUS: But you see, Tony, you're able to do something with Philip that I think Pam can't right now, and that is see him as more than just two dimensions. And that is why I am concerned, also, about me being called "great." Because if I'm two dimensions on that side, it is not real. It is not human. And I want to be human here. That doesn't mean that I am going to tell you everything about me, but I am going to tell you what I feel right here with you guys about being here with you. And I am concerned that if I'm great, and Gill feels like he is chopped liver, then that is not good for him, nor me, nor you, Pam. It's kind of like you categorize people. And saying that, you have been terribly, terribly hurt and injured by Philip, and your anger in many ways is justified. I don't want you to misunderstand me about that for one second. But your anger is something that I think is a very powerful force in your life. And I've been shielded from it. PAM: It's just I can't see every man the same way. I mean, I can't give compassion--I just don't feel able to give compassion to Philip. And you know, it's fine. I can see, Gill, where you're coming from and maybe how you kept it from us. And that's just where you are at. That's, I guess, where you are coming from. But I can't just equally forgive everybody. We haven't even heard--I haven't even heard an apology from Philip. TONY: Is that what you want? PAM: It would be good for a start. REBECCA: Well we left off with Philip saying he would think about it. So maybe he has thought about it. TONY: And saying he was capable of an apology. PHILIP: What I stated was that if an apology was necessary I am perfectly capable of offering one. And I shall. REBECCA: That seems necessary. PHILIP: I apologize. REBECCA: For what? JULIUS: You've got a chance, here, Philip. TONY: Come on man, take a risk. PHILIP: I--I am struggling at this moment because I don't see the world in quite the same way but I will try to interpret my differences into language you can understand. I am able to observe that I have caused you pain. And I do apologize for that. You accused me of having no remorse. To me, I have shown quite strong remorse. Indeed, I have spent the past 10 years, the past decade and more, in correcting the very behavior which you say I have no remorse for. A daily dose of correction. If that is not remorse, I don't know what is. That I don't profess myself in the same manner as you do does not mean that I show no remorse. To me the most effective way is by correcting my actions, and that I have done. REBECCA: That's really good. JULIUS: That is a powerful statement. You look like there is a fair bit of feeling still there. PHILIP: I--I am not accustomed to this and--I'm out of my element. JULIUS: You may be out of your element, but it feels a lot more real and accessible than when you are in your element. PHILIP: Real and accessible, maybe. But, Julius, I am not sure I am a big fan of these--feelings. I chose the course-- JULIUS: I'm going to jump in Philip, because I don't want you to subtract from what you've just added. I want you just to kind of savor that. I'm also aware of the passage of time. And you said something, Rebecca, that I think we shouldn't miss. It seemed the idea of being two-dimensional, three-dimensional, kind of really captured you. You said something. Let's pursue that. I just need to check with you, Philip. Are we okay parking this with you here right now? Can we move on to Rebecca? PHILIP: Yes, absolutely. JULIUS: You sound, Rebecca, like someone who knows what it is like to be not three-dimensional. REBECCA: Well, Bonnie and a number of other people in the group have brought up quite a bit how I preen and how I flirt quite a bit. And how that's--well, that's all I am, because I think I am so beautiful and so popular and how wonderful that is. Well the reason I came into therapy with Julius was at the age of 30 people stopped looking at me and stopped commenting on my outside beauty. And you have really ridden my ass about that quite a bit. And well the funny thing is that I don't think in this group that I don't think anyone has brought up anything other than the way I look, or the way you think that I think that I look, or the way that people look at me and the things I do to try to get men's attention because that's all I want. TONY: I don't know if that's true. It seems like we focus on that, but that we're asking often enough what's the inner life. And I think we're trying to coax that out. Am I mistaken? That's what I sense when we are asking more of you. More than what--god, I always get tongue-tied. JULIUS: You are moving in a good direction, Tony. Stick with it. TONY: Okay, okay. Yeah, it seems like we are asking you to look at more than your looks. You know? We're bringing that up. REBECCA: Well I think you need something to look at, because they're going too. So I would like some direction in some point, in some way, of something I can look to--because I don't really want to look at anything in the mirror anymore. PHILIP: I think, Rebecca, the group has been trying to tell you to look within. That there is something there that is of value and that, indeed, I have stated perhaps too often, that that can be the foundation for the rest of your life. JULIUS: What do you see when you look inside, Rebecca? REBECCA: There is really nothing there. JULIUS: What do you see when you look in the mirror? REBECCA: Nothing anymore. JULIUS: Nothing inside? REBECCA: Or outside. JULIUS: What would you like to see inside? What do you wish was there? REBECCA: Someone who could have girlfriends, and who was a really good mom to her kids. And who pursued things that she liked and didn't think other people wanted her to do a lot. TONY: What are those? REBECCA: Racquetball, of all things. JULIUS: Racquetball? REBECCA: Mm-hmm. I was never any good at it, though. JULIUS: Being a good mom, being a good friend--those are things that you would like? REBECCA: Very much so. JULIUS: What is it like to hear that? TONY: It sounds like a blanket statement. It sounds like you may have--isn't there any instance of that at all, of being a good mother or being a good friend? REBECCA: I don't have any girlfriends. STUART: I don't think she said she never does those things, but merely that's a goal that she would like to have more of. JULIUS: Thanks, Stuart. BONNIE: It is very profound for me to hear that and see, Rebecca, you get upset. I feel like beautiful people and popular people can sustain themselves. And I feel the same way that you do, and I guess that I don't understand that. REBECCA: Why? BONNIE: I always thought that we were just so different. JULIUS: And you recognize that there is more that you have alike. What is that like, Bonnie? BONNIE: It gives me confidence. JULIUS: Confidence? BONNIE: Uh-huh. JULIUS: So your work right now, Rebecca, is at least being helpful to Bonnie. REBECCA: That's good. JULIUS: What just happened? I'm afraid I can't see, Rebecca, your face. All I can see is the rest of your body language. What is happening? BONNIE: I guess I don't feel so alone. I don't have to feel so jealous. TONY: I would be so bold as to say it looked like friendship. You know? JULIUS: You know, Tony, you have your own way with words. BONNIE: Thanks Tony. REBECCA: Thank you, Tony. JULIUS: I said earlier that--Stuart, I hope I haven't evaded your question completely about my cancer. And we're out of time right now for today's meeting. But what I will say, what I do want to say before we stop, is that I feel very much alive right now working with you all in the way that you've been working today. And we'll see what next week brings. IRVIN YALOM: We are going to go on for discussion, but before we start I would like to spend just a few minutes have each of the participants introduce themselves to you so we see who they are. Maybe you could say something about either your next performance, your next play, or your last play. But real quickly, let's run through that. ALEX ASCHINGER: All right. My name is Alex Aschinger and I perform Friday and Saturday nights at the San Francisco Comedy College, which is over on Mason. DEBORAH ELIEZER: Hi, my name is Deborah Eliezer. I'm a member of FoolsFURY Theater Company and I also produce a performing arts summer camp for kids called Swivel Arts, www.swivelarts.com. I'm a voice-over and an actor and a dancer and I will have Ben tell you about our next show. The first weekend in March is "Apartment" at CounterPULSE here in the city for those locals, so you can look that up on our website. Thank you very much. BRIAN LIVINGSTON: My name is Brian Livingston. I'm also a member of the FoolsFURY Theater Company, and I'm about to work on a project with them in about a month or so. And thanks a lot for having us. ANGELA BUSH: Hi, I'm Angela Bush. I'm the company manager of FoolsFURY Theater and we have some shows coming up which Ben is going to tell you about and also I am going to be in the "Vagina Monologues" which [Laylee] is directing and it is going to be at the Castro Street Theater March 9 on a Thursday. So please come, that would be wonderful. And thank you so much. LAYLEE: I'm Laylee and I'm a member of the improve troupe that performs at the San Francisco Comedy College. I'm part of FoolsFURY which will be having a show in May--look for it. it is called " The Devil On All Sides." It is about the Serb/Croatian War. It is fabulous. I'm directing the "Vagina Monologues V-Day 2006." It is at the Castro Theatre, Ticketweb.com. Thank you so much. MICHAEL SOMMERS: I'm Michael Somers. I will also be appearing in the "The Devil On All Sides." You can go out to see that theater or you can sit on your butts at home and watch the premiere episode of "The Evidence" starring Martin Landau and Orlando Jones, and I have a nice little co-starring role there. But what I really want you to come to the show, "The Devil On All Sides," but also the show that is my creation called, "Uncle Buzzy's Hometown Theater Show." I'm Uncle Buzzy and you get my wife's free homemade cookies instead of a ticket at the door. BEN YALOM: And they're really good. MICHAEL SOMMERS: I do the world's greatest chicken impression, too. So if that doesn't get you there, what will? Take a flyer for me or go to UncleBuzzy.org. BEN YALOM: I'm Ben Yalom. You may have recognized the slight resemblance. My father...I'm also the artistic director of FoolsFURY Theater, hence all of these people here. We are a local avant-garde ensemble. We do performances and training and camps all year long in the San Francisco area. We do a lot of dance work and theater work and using things like masks and all sorts of physical things in addition to wonderful texts. We have an upcoming show not this coming weekend but the following weekend called "Apartment," three nights only. It is a company-devised piece starring Deborah Eliezer at the Counter Pulse. And then our big show coming up for the late spring is called "The Devil On All Sides." It will be at Traveling Jewish Theater where we are a resident company. It's a wonderful American premiere of a contemporary French play by an amazing playwright who will be in town for the opening. We are very happy to be performing it, and just a little nervous about spending the next two months full-time working on it and finding out what kind of wonderful creative things we are going to have. So please, check it out. The Web site is FoolsFURY, like Angry Clowns. FoolsFURY.org. And if you are in town, please come see us. IRVIN YALOM: Okay, let me just give a free association about the meeting, and then turn it open to you all. First of all one of my thoughts when I first started thinking about Arthur Schopenhauer and group therapy is I wanted to get him in a therapy group and I wanted to do a historical novel, but it was impossible. I mean, he died 30 or 40 years before our field began. I tried thinking of inventing a character, an ex-Jesuit, I thought, who was well-schooled in philosophy as Jesuits are. I wasted about six months on that. And finally gave in--I could not write a historical novel about Schopenhauer because he was the most isolated man I have ever encountered in history. So then I gave it up, wrote another book, and came back to it and thought, "Well, I want to have Schopenhauer the person in the book, but I will have someone that is his clone," and that would be Philip. And you could go through, as I did in the book, you can get a whole list of--a misanthrope's manifesto. So many things about Schopenhauer would make you think he is the last person in the world to be in the group. He would say, "Distrust is the mother of safety." "Do not tell a friend what your enemy ought not to know." "Regard all personal affairs as secrets and remain complete strangers, even to our close friends." "We must never show hatred or anger except in our actions." "It is only the cold-blooded animals that are poisonous." "From the tree of silence hangs the fruits of peace." On and on like this. So then I thought, well put him in a therapy group, that is the worst person in the world you can imagine in a therapy group. On the other hand, what a kick. If you could help Arthur Schopenhauer in a therapy group, you could help anyone. So that was part of my motivation. Is there a way we can work in this group to actually change this person? Now, this group today for the first forty minutes or so was at an impasse. Philip was sticking to his guns and the group was working. Often in my novel, I have the group regarding him as a strange life form. They circle him, he says something, they don't know what to make of it, they're chewing on his words for a while. But we went through a lot of that today, and finally the group, in a very different way than the novel, began to find a way to begin to crack through that. It was just the beginnings of it today. And in the novel I went through it in a number of ways. One of the ways I went through it was through Pam, through a number of members of the group revealing things about themselves, real major, what they thought of as misdeeds, sins, indiscretions, sexual indiscretions. Rebecca did it. She talked about a very brief--forgive me for saying this, Rebecca--but for a very brief fling as a prostitute one or two evenings. And others did a similar thing. And even Julius talked about his sexual indiscretions. After his wife died he accepted some of the comfort of some of the relatives and friends of his wife's, and was sexually involved with them. And who else? Let's see. Stuart talked about a major indiscretion when he was at a convention and feels that he might have taken advantage of someone who was perhaps rather disturbed, and he has never forg iven himself for that. So a lot of these indiscretions came out. And then the point was that Pam forgave them all. She forgave, eventually, Gill for not telling about the alcoholism; and she forgave Seymour, and forgave Stuart. She forgave everyone. Then the pressure got even greater leverage on her. Why is it that she couldn't forgive? That was the beginning of the crack between the two of them. She started quoting everything involved with Schopenhauer, and then she let it slip that she majored in Schopenhauer. And then suddenly Philip could say, "You majored in Schopenhauer? Well, that means maybe I wasn't such a bad teacher after all." And she would have to say, "Well I never said you were a bad teacher. In fact, you were probably the best teacher I ever had." And then the cracks began to come and the impasse began to break down. And so it was happening in this group as well, in an entirely different way. And then you notice how the leader of the group here just kept storing things. There was work to be done in the impasse. He also had to assess when that work was enough for this group because you need other work to be done, too. He heard something that one person said, he heard something, for example with Rebecca, and he stored it, and he came back to it when he thought the time was right. We sometimes think of a theme building, and maybe a time of theme satiation. Some therapists have trouble at that point, letting go of the theme. You drag on and on, and it becomes lifeless. So you have to kind of find a way to think, decide when there is maybe some theme satiation, and see if you can break in because there are other things waiting to be done in the group. And Gill, for one of them was something that he came back to. And he came back to Stuart, too. And then they went into a final investigation of Rebecca. When I was a resident, there was an essay that came out--it's long out of print, I'm sure--by a man named Saperstein, called "The Beautiful Empty Woman." And it was just a lovely essay about the problems of the beautiful empty woman--the woman who is so beautiful that everything comes to her just because of her flesh or the way that she looks. And she never really has to do anything, and consequently often never has a sense of internal worth, internal values, internal skills. And that, in a sense, was what was happening for Rebecca. So right at the end of the group that was beginning to open up. And I had the strong sense that this group was just mounting in power until we suddenly have to break. I would have to see the next meeting of this group and the next meeting of this group. It was just building up so nicely. And the inquiries about his health, each time he would say I'm not going to dodge that, I'm going to go back to it, I'm going to talk to that. Time ran out today but we know he will do it at the next meeting because he can't, I think, say, "There are things I'm not going to talk about in this group." Philip was pressing him a little hard about, "this is supposed to be"--in the novel Philip says, "Well, you are working on a kind of a Buber "I-thou" encounter except there is no I in there. You are letting everyone else reveal themselves. There was a whole period of time with a lot of self-revelation. Why aren't you revealing?" And then Tony caught the question. How come you are asking that now? After all, here you were, this great philosopher in the group. Pam came into the group and showed the group you were living in the sewers for a long period of time, so maybe you need to knock Julius off his perch as well. And that was part of the reason why he kept prodding Julius to reveal. So that is what I was seeing and feeling about the group. What questions do you have about this that you'd like to talk about, or comments or questions to any of the people that are in the group? AUDIENCE MEMBER 1: Are you suggesting, with a topic as crucial as the impending death of the therapist, that it would not be talked about thoroughly? IRVIN YALOM: Oh yes. I am not suggesting that. It needs to be talked about thoroughly, and it would stymie the group if it's not. And it can never be talked about thoroughly enough. The problem, of course, in the group--and with the limit of time, we weren't showing that as much here--the problem is that nothing else can get talked about, because everything else feels trivial in comparison. It is hard to talk about other things. And of course, that has an important positive side, because you start thinking of, if things really start to get so trivial or problems start to feel trivial in the face of death, well, maybe that is because things are trivial in the face of death. Maybe we ought to reprioritize what seems important and what seems trivial to us. And that's how so many people have talked about how it is not going into a bleak blackness to think about death, but in fact thinking about death, incorporating it, is a way of revitalizing your life. MOLYN LESZCZ: I will comment also, because I think it's a very good question. What I felt in the group was that I wanted to kind of keep it up in the air without consuming the group with it. And when Pam talked about how great Julius was, and others said how great Julius was, I felt this was--I asked the question, "Am I doing something to elicit these expressions of my greatness?" And part of what I am thinking about is, "Are they responding to my narcissistic vulnerability by buoying me at a time when they might be concerned about my decline?" The question, however, didn't get answered in the way I thought it might have. But we went in another really productive area, I felt, which was, if I am two-dimensional to the positive, and others are two-dimensional to the negative, then we have some scope to work here to kind of flesh this out. And we were really we were able to capitalize on that with Rebecca and Bonnie in the last few minutes of the meeting. If it stayed as an elephant in the room that wasn't being talked about, I think the therapist--Julius, myself--would have had to go into it in a more frontal approach. But I felt we were kind of milking the best benefit of it without preoccupying the group with it. IRVIN YALOM: And I thought such a beautiful response to "You're so great," for him to immediately turn to exploring that and "What am I doing to pull that greatness from you?" is a wonderful example of the use of the self of the therapist. Yes? AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: I saw a contrast between the two sessions, a very strong contrast. The first was exciting, had emotional depth, seemed to have direction, its own flow. And the second act, if you will, kind of lacked direction, didn't have vibrancy. Was kind of flat. And I've been asking myself, what is the difference here? My thought is, and I would welcome others, too, is that the question was proposed to Julius of what is going on inside of him about this cancer. And masterfully, if I may put it that way--I'm saying that in a way a little sarcastically--Julius avoided that question. And I think the group took direction from that. The therapist is a model, and as the therapist kind of avoided that I think others avoided some of their internal feelings in great contrast to the first session. Any thoughts on any--did others see these differences between the two, and what might account for them? BEN YALOM: Can I speak to that? I think maybe just one element. I don't know about the way that things transpired with Julius in that conversation. I get the sense that we managed to talk around that for a while, but gleaned some things from it. But one thing we talked about backstage if you will, was I felt, and perhaps incorrectly so, but I felt like in that first group we brought in an enormous amount of really good dramatic material from the book. We skimmed out the major issues for most of the book. IRVIN YALOM: Some of the major issues. BEN YALOM: Some. Yes, sorry. Some of the major issues. And I perhaps incorrectly felt that we might have been doing a disservice here in terms of really looking at the therapy techniques because we as actors and artists are very attuned to what are the big dramatic hits that we are going to get. And so I was sort of making an effort to refocus us a little bit as we spoke backstage into what might have been a little more useful process-wise. So it may not have played off as quite as good theater but I hope it had at least as good teaching value. MOLYN LESZCZ: A comment about the transparency. I felt I tried to strike a balance between being transparent about what I felt in the here and now. I didn't go into great depth about my own sense of what I imagine it would feel like to be knowing that I had a malignancy. But in terms of therapist transparency, we always have to weight what are the benefits, what are the risks, in whose interest is this? And as a therapist I think I would have recognized that part of the pull would have been to use this wonderful group to support me, and I felt that I didn't want to do that to excess. I felt the way this group could support me would be by working in a way that would reduce regrets when we hit an inevitable limit. So in another session I think there may have been more of a direct response to the point that you are raising. I felt we are always walking a tightrope in the issue of transparency. And part of what I guess I want to speak to is that kind of reflective process the therapist has to be engaged in order to maximize benefits and minimize hazards. AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: I had the unique experience of co-leading a psychotherapy group with my first late husband who died of a malignant melanoma. And I have two comments. One is that it was a remarkable experience, as you can imagine, and that the group was very protective as long as we needed the group to be protective, which is what I observed, perhaps from my own experience, that is what I observed. But the second is that when we no longer needed to be as protective of ourselves and the group because we were farther along in that process ourselves, they didn't want to talk about it. They wanted to feel a connection. IRVIN YALOM: How long did the group go on and what happened to the group? AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: It was a couples group, and it continued. I still lead couples groups and all of the couples were at the memorial service at the University of Pennsylvania. IRVIN YALOM: So he led the group with you pretty fairly close to time of death? AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: Until it was no longer appropriate for him to do that, yeah. IRVIN YALOM: Did he have any questions about being in the group? How did he make the decision to go ahead and work? AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: Much the same way you did. IRVIN YALOM: I'm really interested in hearing that. Thanks for that so much. AUDIENCE MEMBER 4: I was really moved by both sessions, but particularly the last one, and found myself choked up and really involved. And that's unusual for me to be so impressed. It made me feel that the actors should become really good group members and that Molyn should become an actor. And then for Irv to write something and to see it actually come to life must be just the greatest joy that a writer can have. IRVIN YALOM: Great pleasure. AUDIENCE MEMBER 4: I mean to literally be able to create life with your pen. There were a couple of rubs for me, just from my own practice or orientation. First let me say that the part that really impressed me in terms of Molyn's therapeutic skill was using what went on with Pam in terms of being two-dimensional, and then using it with himself, and then using it with Philip. That was just such a beautiful piece of work. And where there were the rubs in both sessions, I just flinched a little bit, was not acknowledging opposites and duality. Like with Pam when she was furious at the beginning, she wasn't helped or it wasn't articulated that you can feel both things. You can be forgiving and you can feel angry. And with Bonnie I wanted to say to her, "What if you felt the opposite of a nothing? What would that be like for you and to try on the opposite?" IRVIN YALOM: Good, thank you. MOLYN LESZCZ: Good comments. AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: I just want to commend Molyn and Irv and the group. I thought it was terrific. I think you guys could take this on the road. I think it could stand as a show. It was wonderful. The one thing missing from its quite accurate depiction of a therapy group were silences, which I certainly understand given this context, but I wonder, Irv or Molyn, if you had any thoughts in general about therapists handling silence. Certainly in a group like this, many of the silences, should they occur, would have been thoughts of death, the therapist's death. But any thoughts? IRVIN YALOM: I'm not a great fan of silences. I'm a little bit too impatient. And I don't want them going on for long time. But when an unusual silence emerges I will try to dig into the silence. I will try to ask members if we could explore exactly what they were thinking. Sometimes even a go-around. "Could we all go-around very quickly and off the top of your head tell me what is passing through your mind in those two minutes?" That often can generate a ton of material. So I don't like when silences go on for five minutes in a group. MOLYN LESZCZ: I felt Philip needed some silence, though--when I interjected and said "Don't respond; just sit with this." Silence, of course, can mean a whole host of things. AUDIENCE MEMBER 6: I was wondering if you could give some more guidance on how you have that sense of when theme saturation occurs. My sense, for example, in that moment you were just talking about when you switched over to Rebecca with the two-dimensional, was that there was still a lot of juice. I was wondering about Pam--what was she sitting with hearing that? I certainly could be very guilty of riding things too long. I tend to think of sort of the Gestalt cycle of wanting to work it through enough that they can come down and take some sense out of it. And you jumped around much more, both in the first and second, in a way which I was wondering if you were consciously balancing the group--I couldn't really take from it, but it worked. Can you help me understand what you were doing and how you made those choices? MOLYN LESZCZ: There is the concept of choice point analysis, and that in a group--in any group let alone this group where everything is so compressed--you are always making decisions about the cost-benefit of whatever you do. And you can't milk something completely with one or two interactions at the expense of others in the group. So Irv, you have written about something before, that the group therapist is almost like a shepherd in a sense, facilitating and making sure that no one gets left too far behind. And you have to give something to get something, and fortunately we don't have to do everything in one meeting. I will look for other cues. A lack of emotional intensity, disinterest, body language of people in the group, that they are disengaged. Or if a group is really engaged I will probably run with it further--I will run with it further for sure. But I am also thinking, if we are doing this, what are we not doing by doing this? That goes back to Elaine's comment about the duality--that there is always a tremendous amount that is going on. IRVIN YALOM: And theme satiation--you can recognize it by there are fewer and fewer people participating in it as well, and people have dropped off as well. But it is an error, I think, to let it go on too long. AUDIENCE MEMBER 7: Like the lady who spoke before I had a patient in my group who was dying. Actually he died two months ago. And he came up until the three weeks before he died in the group. And my question is this--because I haven't read the book so I don't know how that happens in the book. If you are a therapist and you know that you are dying, and your group knows that you are dying, what are you going to do with this group? Do you find somebody to keep this group going after you die or do you let the group die with you? That is my question. IRVIN YALOM: Both possibilities are open. This was a long-term group that worked with him. And you see what happened here the group--he set a time limit. "We have another year; it is a long enough period of time. "Other people will bring someone el se in--bring a younger person in over the last couple of months and have the group go on. If it is a group that's built for a long time that is extremely powerful, it feels to me like a pity to me to end this thing which has become such a great, wonderful vehicle to just carry people to a safer place. So if I had my druthers, I would like the group not to end. VICTOR YALOM: I think that was a great job. It really demonstrated many of the principles of group therapy. I should add that the actors were part of FoolsFURY Theater which is a theater company run by Ben Yalom, my brother, your son. IRVIN YALOM: Well cast. VICTOR YALOM: And a couple questions come up for me. One is the important issue of group selection. Philip, the lead character here, clearly has what we would call schizoid tendencies or more than tendencies, Isn't there a real risk in putting someone like this in a group--the risk that he could become a deviant member? IRVIN YALOM: I think Julius was taking a risk with Philip. But he had a special motivation for putting him in the group. He knew him well. He felt that he could tolerate any discomfort from being in a deviant position. Moreover, he was going to be a therapist, and it was dreadfully essential for him to have this group experience. And as you have heard already, he is like Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer would consider being in a therapy group as his recipe for hell. And so he wanted to change Philip very much, but he sensed something in Philip that was perhaps going to be able to yield a bit and interact with other people. VICTOR YALOM: Obviously if he can make us of the group and join the group, it can really address his core issues. But the question is whether he is able to use the group in that way and not be too disruptive. IRVIN YALOM: As you see, Julius worked very hard with Philip. Very hard with him. And there was a background of caring behind that, too. They had known one another before. VICTOR YALOM: Any other thoughts just in general on group selection? IRVIN YALOM: I think you want to select people who you think can participate in the work of this group. If they can't quite engage in the group process and are not ready to do that, then put them in another group that works at a slightly different pace in that group. The other people in that group were obviously all well suited for this. And also the length of time--some people have been in this group for two or three years already. VICTOR YALOM: Another thing is conflict. There is a lot of conflict in these groups, and that is something that members are often scared of when thinking about group, when you are encouraging them to be in a group. Therapists are also often wary about conflict in the groups, but in fact it can be very helpful and can energize a group. IRVIN YALOM: Sometimes it's useful if a therapist can deal with conflict when it comes their way. If patients in a group are angry at a therapist or feel he made an error in such a way, it is better for the therapist to do some modeling about how to handle this. And if you have co-leaders in the group, that is a great time for co-leaders to be helpful for one another. Members in a conflict, or a pair that is in conflict, can profit enormously, for once staying with the conflict rather than breaking the relationship and running off--being able to stay in there, work things out. Oftentimes those people come to treasure each other's contributions at the end of therapy. That is the person they select as having helped them the most. VICTOR YALOM: Right. And for other members--say, other members that are averse to conflict--they may be sitting just in the room or between the members, and that would be an example. Then you could work with them. What was it like for them to be sitting there experiencing conflict? IRVIN YALOM: Right. And some people try to make it even easier for them by doing some role playing for a brief period of time. It is all another way of conditioning them to be able to do this in slightly less painful ways. It's really taking a great risk if you have a group of your classmates or a group of people that you work with all the time, and being in conflict with them, that is much riskier than doing that in a stranger group. MALE VOICE: Another big theme here in the book has to do with therapist disclosure for both of these groups. The disclosure, of course, that Molyn had a fatal illness and how that impacted the group and group members' attempts to elicit information about that from him. IRVIN YALOM: Yes, therapists are participant-observers. They are observers of the group but they are also participating in that group. I feel like doing a lot of groups early in my career made me much more comfortable with self-disclosure. I couldn't be in a group with everybody in the group calling each other by their first name, calling me Dr. Yalom. I had to be a part of the group more, go by first name, very willing to talk about here and now feelings I might have towards anyone else in the group. Molyn did that at one occasion. What he did was to say, "I have a dilemma." He is saying, in effect, "I have a dilemma. On the one hand I want to continue with Philip, but on the other hand I don't want to leave you out or you out." So that is a kind of disclosure, what is going on in his own internal processes. So I am very much in favor of certain types of therapist disclosure, which is not necessarily disclosing about one's outside life in a way that is not going to be useful to the group. So I try to disclose in the here-and-now very fully in the group. VICTOR YALOM: Right. And although many members did ask him about his feelings about his illness, he didn't get into too much of that in these groups, but he did kind of give a promissory note that he would come back to that. IRVIN YALOM: Yes, he did. And there would be meetings where he would bring it up. He made it very clear that he is aware that an unspoken, an un-discussed issue as big as his illness is going to be like an elephant in the room. There is a cardinal rule in that when something really big doesn't get talked about, then nothing else gets talked about either. So he is going to bring it back. He is going to even start meetings in the future by talking about his illness, hold little back from them. VICTOR YALOM: Well, thank you very much for taking the time to be here today and discussing this. IRVIN YALOM: You're welcome. I'm pleased to be a part of this because I think this is goin.......

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