But, unless the NY Times has taken on a new identity and become a purposeful parody rather than an unintentional one, the piece is actually a totally serious exploration of the travails of the very very very rich, and the therapists who specialize in treating them to the tune of $600 measly bucks an hour.
It seems it’s true that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, the rich are different from you and me. It’s also true that they’ve still got their problems and their therapists.
Here are some excerpts:
“It used to be that my patients were the children of the rich: inheritors, people who suffered from the neglect of jet-setting parents or from the fear that no matter what they did, they would never measure up to their father’s accomplishments,” he recalled. “Now I see so many young people—people in their 30s and 40s—who’ve made the money themselves.”
Dr. Stone said those two kinds of patients tended to have different problems: “In my experience, there was a high incidence of depression in the people who were born rich. And by contrast, the people today who are making a fortune are so often narcissistic in a way that excludes depression.”…
Janet L. Wolfe, a Park Avenue psychologist and the co-author of a paper about difficulties in counseling “women of the ‘upper’ classes,” said she considered a rich person’s unhappiness or emotional anguish no less serious than anybody else’s, but acknowledged how trivial some of her patients’ problems could sound.
“One of the things that drew a very wealthy woman to see me was that she was an inadequate tennis player,” Dr. Wolfe recalled. “She was very serious about this. She felt that the other wealthy women she played with would think she was an inadequate person. It’s easier for rich patients to take problems like this seriously.”
It’s also easier for rich patients to fail to take their therapy seriously. If the hardship of the high cost of therapy is theorized to spur patients to value it more highly and to make changes in order to stop having to go to a therapist and paying so much, then rich patients can skip this hardship. Six hundred dollars for a forty-five minute session is bargain-basement stuff to these particular peoople. Their therapists bemoan the fact that appointments are squeezed in between personal trainers and other people who service the client, and are blown off with impunity.
I am absolutely certain that the rich have their share of very serious problems that give them pain. But it’s hard to feel too sorry for their therapists.
[ADDENDUM: I wrote that the fee for some of these therapists was $600 an hour. I want to add that, according to the article, that's actually a 45-minute hour---five minutes (worth about sixty-seven dollars, at that rate) less than the standard therapeutic 50-minute "hour."]