A little less than a year ago, I posted an entry about Robin Williams death and wrote about one patient’s reactions in particular. I called him “Alan” in the article, which is of course not his real name. He’s in his 40s. He recently read the blog entry and sent me this email.
“Thank you for putting me in there. Writing just to say that it is funny you chose the name Alan. When I was 14, I spent a summer at a golf camp. One of the 3 other guys I shared a room with, was weird, macho, popular, too much for my insecurity. He gave me the nickname Alan, just thought it suited me. Everyone at the camp thought it was my real name. Never bugged me, and for four weeks, I was Alan.”
Maybe if I chose a more odd name, one that calls up a particular type of person, this wouldn’t be so curious – but “Alan”? That could be anyone; at least it holds no strong associations for me. Why on earth did I pick that name? Dark matter? Synchronicity? More things…? Or is it just that there really is that much empathy – connection – between two people when the therapy is working?