Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

The Therapist

Glen Aylward
Springfield, Illinois, United States


Poet’s statement: This poem addresses the burden placed on therapists who are exposed to the emotions and experiences of their patients on a daily basis and how these factors have a long-lasting, cumulative impact on the therapist’s own emotional well-being.


The therapist
A thin film of depression,

Bold slash of anger,
seems red.

Claw-like lines of hurt,
bright, but hard to categorize.

Splotches of grief,
definitely black.

Worry and fear,
frenetic and neon.

Colors and lines on a canvas,
one that’s supposed to become clean again
after the encounter.
But too many brush strokes
leave marks that remain.
Faint, yet accumulating,
The canvas takes on a patina
maybe jaded,
probably needing assistance.

But there is no help here,
because I am the help.



GLEN P. AYLWARD, PhD, ABPP is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. He has been president of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He is currently chief of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics/Psychology and has authored many works, including the Bayley Infant Neurodevelopmental Screener, Practitioner’s Guide to Developmental and Psychological Testing, Infant and Early Childhood Neuropsychology, and Practitioner’s Guide to Behavioral Problems in Children. He is also an editor of The Bayley-III: Clinical Use and Interpretation and the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Winter 2012 – Volume 4, Issue 1
Winter 2012  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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