There's a reality I had to come to terms with as soon as I earned my degree in Psychology from The University: shrinks are not in demand in the Philippines.
Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of opportunities for psych majors, not counting the outsourcing industry. One can join the academe and teach, or concentrate on general education, or specialize in SpEd. One can also be a guidance counselor or go corporate and be an HR drone.
There has been some discussion in school about it. Of course, we were naturally concerned about the low demands for psychiatrists/shrinks. First, it's rooted in the Sikolohiyang Pilipino. We are generally a very public society. Our troubles, our worries, our fears, we share to members of our community. (The problem here, as you can guess, is that members of the community do not feel the need to exercise discretion in sharing information disclosed to them for specific/special reasons). Why pay money just to talk with a "professional" when you can unload your emotional baggage to your neighbor, your cousin, your friend, your freaking blog?
This is a sharp contrast to Western societies, where emotions, and opinions are mostly self-edited in order to avoid offending other members of the community or to avoid public judgment of personal persuasions.
Thus, in the Philippines, advice is freely given... even in the most inappropriate of situation.
As a psych grad, I don't usually offer my advice and psychoanalysis for free. I know the dangers. When people try to engage me, though, I only give them access to a level of my expertise I'd like to think of as the "Para sa Masa" level. This blog, if you notice, is way above that level. I'm actually sharing more than I should, so you fags should be happy.
Anyway, one of the dangers in asking for professional advice without paying the appropriate fees is the patient's openness to your input. When they're not willing to pay your professional fee (read: exchange something of value for a service), then they're not THAT willing to take your analysis seriously.
Take my friend Drake who I share this apartment with.
"Why are women so materialistic?" he asked.
This wouldn't have been weird had we been in the middle of a conversation. But we weren't. It was high noon, and I was in the middle of a peaceful slumber (please bear with the nocturnal habits of an outsourced agent).
In my defense, my mental defenses weren't up yet. I was dimly aware of his spatial position in the room. I still had my eyes closed, and I could only tell he was somewhere in the kitchen/dining room area by the sound of his voice. I reached for a pillow to cover my head and deny his existence.
"Why are women so materialistic?" he continued.
"Not all," I mumbled through the cotton pillow I was trying to suffocate myself unconscious with.
"Yes, they are! Most women I know are materialistic!" he said adamantlly.
Now, I've lived with Drake (not his real name, sorry) for quite some time now that I have a "Drake" file folder in my head, parsing out his traits, characteristics, neurosis, etc. Actually, I may have an entire drawer dedicated to Drake as a patient/subject. I do this to everyone I know, actually, so don't get the wrong impression that Drake is an interesting character. He's dull, annoying, and I'd gladly trade him for movie tickets. I don't particularly hate him, I just don't feel a connection worth treasuring.
Anyway, I knew at that moment, even in my half-awake state, what he was going through. Drake has insecurities about his image, and he compensates by showing off his material assets. In the past 3 years, he has gone through 2 cars, dozens of cellphones, and perhaps hundreds of thousands in pesos for "dating expenses" he informed me off. He gets a monthly allowance from parents (who are both working abroad: one in Italy, the other in the USA), and he breeds dogs and sells them on Sulit.ph.
Drake likes fairskinned girls. The sluttier they are, the better. As I've said, he has insecurities. He doesn't deal with rejection well. In fact, he avoids any chances of rejection. He's a serial dater, actually. He spends most of his time online, trolling social networking sites (MySpace? Friendster? Facebook? Multiply? Yes. He's in all of them.), and his Yahoo Messenger's filled with chicks to the full. LITERALLY. Every day, he had to delete someone just make space for a new one. He justifies this behavior by monitoring his Sulit.ph ads every minute, believing that he's not actually wasting his time when he's multitasking.
"Maybe they're not materialistic. Maybe you are," I mumbled, half-consciously.
He was silent.
I should have stopped there, but since I wasn't aware yet, and I wanted to go back to sleep, I continued.
"The problem with you is that you keep getting attracted to materialistic women because your self-image is built on the foundation of material affluence. Once you destroy that image, you have to come to terms with your identity, and you're not happy with what remains, what survives, so you seek a significant other who would help you sustain the self-image you are happy with."
By the way he slammed the door on his way out told me he wasn't particularly happy with my reading.
What a fucking baby.
Up next: "Manwhore 101: How to Manipulate Your Woman"