On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed how accurately Succession portrays the mental health struggles of the super-wealthy. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!
BuzzFeed Daily: Would you mind explaining what it is exactly you do for our audience?
Clay Cockrell: I am a licensed clinical social worker. I'm a psychotherapist and I work with ultra-high net worth individuals.
BuzzFeed Daily: And how did you end up specializing in treating the one percent?
BuzzFeed Daily: What would you say is a common thread between most of the patients that you treat?
CC: Money is hard to talk about. Some people are more likely to talk about their sex lives than their bank accounts. It's private and there is a lot of shame. There's a lot of guilt. There are issues of isolation because it's difficult sometimes to relate to people who don't have the resources that some of my clients do. And so each client is different. They come to the table with different issues. But there's some commonality that I've noticed in this population, and differences, too. And I like to think that there are two groups of people within this larger group.
One is people who were born into wealth, generational wealth. Their family has had wealth for generations and they are familiar with that world. They have the vocabulary, they know the culture, and sometimes they're protected because they have a history of how to do things wrong by the parents or grandparents.
And then you have a different group, where the money is new and they're not quite so familiar with the challenges that come along with it. So within those two groups, there are a lot of similarities, but there are a lot of differences too.
BuzzFeed Daily: Are there specific issues that you see that patients will consistently deal with? I know you said there are differences and similarities, but is there something that's kind of underlying in every person that you treat?
CC: Sure, several. Here are a few that come to mind: A lack of trust. If you look around friends, even within your family, and you don't know if they are in a relationship with you because of who you are or because of what you bring to the table. So there is a difficulty in building relationships that have that fundamental foundation of trust. There's always suspicion there and that can eat away at a person where you know their self-esteem is not there because they feel like people only like them or hang out with them because of their celebrity or their wealth. And that's hard. That's very isolating.
Another issue that comes to mind is that there is a lot of jealousy and anger coming from, you know, you and I — non-wealthy people — toward what they have. So they live with that every day. It's interesting. I've gotten some media attention recently because I wrote this article for The Guardian, and it was remarkable how much anger I received from commenters, about how these people should all die, I should die with them, and that the problems of the world are all related to them. Death threats, just for talking about the wealthy people. And so they live with this all the time, just an underlying anger toward them. And sometimes it may be justified that they're not spending their money well or I don't know, it's just a lot of anger coming toward them.