When you work with poor people, there will be at least one who earns his or her daily bread in the world’s oldest profession. Some of them may even admit it.
I have done lots of work in various county mental health clinics in various states and I developed a couple of hard and fast rules for when I work with economically disadvantage people.
I always try to “connect” with them. I have always loved the quote “I am human, so nothing that is human is foreign to me” by Publius Terentius Afer, better known as Terence. He was the Neil Simon of the ancient Roman empire, an author of comedies.
I have always imagined the modern embodiment of this quote to be the state of being stuck with a perfect stranger in an elevator. I want to believe that if I am not only a good psychiatrist but a good human being, I can generate a conversation with anybody. And the people who enter my office in some of these placements are poor folks whose experience of life on the planet is very, very far from my own.