“Does one vote really matter?”
This morning, I surprised myself. I woke up thinking not about tomorrow’s election, but instead about a seminar I took in psych grad school. The professor was an excellent teacher, published articles, thriving clinical practice. My grad school cadre always looked forward to this class…except for one gigantic pain in the neck. “Mory” audited the seminar from another program, and his goal in life was to challenge the doctor at every turn. On this day, decades ago, our professor presented a case and asked us formulate a treatment plan. Mory, as always, had another agenda.
“You don’t do research,” he declared, apropos of absolutely nothing.
“That’s true,” our professor nodded.
“I don’t know how you can justify that choice.”
“How do you figure?” she remained calm.
“Seeing patients, you’re only helping one at a time. Doing research can help thousands. One by one isn’t enough.”
The rest of us cringed, but the doctor remained unfazed.
“I know you’re a researcher, Mory, and that’s an important contribution. But one by one is good enough for God. So it’s good enough for me.”
Yeah, one vote really matters.
I guess I woke up thinking about the election after all.
*All identifying information in this post has been changed.
Amy Kaufman Burk is a therapist-turned-author. Amy’s first novel, Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, deals with homophobic bullying in high school, racial and economic diversity, and the power of friendship. Her second novel, Tightwire, follows a fictional psychotherapy from three perspectives — the rookie therapist scrambling to build a treatment — the patient struggling to heal — the supervisor working to guide the young therapist through the complex emotional terrain of her first case.
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