It’s not easy being a celebrity. I mean, sometimes I just want to be able to have a cheeseburger without a psychology groupie asking for my autograph, swinging a copy of one of the books I have coauthored/ contributed to or holding one of my many pamphlets while their friends take picture after picture. Don’t even get me started about the paparazzi; like I am the only person who forgot to wear their undies in public. Now I wear them outside my slacks just to make sure. And heaven forbid if I go without shaving for a few days, the gossip columns will start rumors about my starting a “hippie psychedelic cult of the Doc” or something… Ok, let me be honest, I am not a celebrity and I made up the preceding paragraph to illustrate a point; we as a culture seem obsessed with celebrity. There was a time when to be famous took a real gift, some kind of talent. Now however we have professional celebrities whose job it is to be filmed while acting like celebrities. Everybody it seems either has an agent or is considering one. Thanks to Doctor Phil, even several colleagues have been known to talk about their image, brand recognition or other nonsense. I know, “Doc Warren” can be viewed as a brand and at a recent public hearing I even used that term in response to a question. But me? Well I am different of course; exempt from trying to be a celebrity because well, I am one (actually I had to explain that Doc Warren was what my clients called me and had requested I name my web site so they could remember it, but that I was simply Warren Corson III PhD). It seems we have gone from trying to make a real difference with ourselves in society to trying to make a real and lasting fame. I see less and less clients striving to excel in science, math, medicine etc. and more and more focused on becoming rich and famous. Sometimes they talk of being good at throwing a ball or out punching another athlete but more and more they talk about getting that big break and becoming a reality tv star. The culture of celebrity is a powerful drug! True, as experts in our field we are sometimes in the limelight, I like most of us, have been asked to appear on radio and television programs, have been in magazines, newspaper and other print mediums but it was not as a celebrity but as someone that had something to offer the public on a given issue. When it was done, I went back to my office and waited for my next client. True, I too was tempted with my own local TV show and we had a title:”Real Issues With Doc Warren” but I never followed through with it. Hollywood can have Phil; I will take my clients and the WIP thank you very much. So what do we do as clinical professionals when we see more and more people getting stung by the celebrity bug? What do we say to clients who are spending tens of thousands of dollars so their six year old can become the next Jon Benet Ramsey? Sure, she ended tragically but she is internationally known. Everyone it appears has an inflated sense of self. I remember an old joke about a guy named Gus who demanded top pay out of anyone in the company because after all, when it came to sign holders, he was the best! What do we say to our colleagues when they talk about being the next Doctor Phil? What about our clients who talk about quitting their jobs, moving to “Cali” and waiting for their big break? To the females who think that they are an augmentation away from becoming a star? As for me, well I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I do have questions. I ask them why they feel the need to be known, famous and rich. Are they doing it to fill a void, or do they have another motivation? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with money or fame, but why do some of us need to have it while others are content with just doing good? I typically look at self esteem issues if they are present; I look for any potential feeling of emptiness or fears of rejection etc. What drives some of us into the lime light while others prefer to be left alone? Fame is fine and the quest for it in and of itself should never be considered a mental health issue, unless of course it is part of a larger issue. When the quest for fame becomes destructive, then we have a real problem. I will end this blog now as I have to go review mock ups of my limited edition “Farmer Doc” bobble head; or is it the “Super Doc” action figure with kung foo grip? So many product endorsements, I mean when will it all end? I wonder if I can get a cross promotion with Snookey or Cookie the Monster? Perhaps a cameo in the next teen movie franchise; I can pull off pale skin and vampire teeth… Or maybe I will just sit here in my mission style leather armchair and wait for my next client to sit on the comfy leather couch. Counseling offices can be so iconic; hey, maybe I can do a sitcom? Wait, what’s my line again? I need a better agent. ;O)
Warren Corson III (Doc Warren) is a counselor and the clinical & executive director of a community counseling agency in central CT (www.docwarren.org).