Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #33
–Sessions: 22 of 53
Monday, June 8, 2009 11:00am
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 297
Elsie had moved to her new office. I thought it was odd that it was still the office down the long hall on the second floor all the way at the end on the right, but I suppose some things are universal constants like pi or the natural logarithm. The new office was much larger. Sun streams in through windows on two walls instead of one. The same furniture is in the same relative locations as the old office. The same clock is to my left as I sit in the middle of the leather couch. A second file cabinet has been added in the extra space.
The waiting room is dramatically larger with enough room for a table, two chairs spread apart from each other and a magazine rack. I had never read O magazine before. The waiting room itself has a window! The bamboo screen and the noise machine are in place just like old times. I tease her that she’s gone ‘Hollywood’ and I won’t be able to afford her anymore. She tells me that, actually, she had raised her rates because the new office is more expensive.
I asked her why the move? Elsie was not happy with the neighborhood of the old office. There had been some vandalism in the parking lot and she decided the area was getting worse.
My younger son was in the high school marching band and my wife and I were volunteering all the time. At the end of each season, the volunteers have an award night. I was given an award for all the time I put in. I told Elsie that I thought I got an award mainly because I showed up when I said I would. She said “you are a man of your word”.
Because we were volunteering so much, we spent a lot of time with the parents of other band members. The other parents had been discussing the upcoming prom. They are concerned about the pressure their kids feel to have dresses, limos, sex, all as part of prom. Elsie tells me that she is shocked to hear about pressure to have sex as part of prom, and she is also concerned about the expectations of dresses and limos.
She goes on to tell me about her own experiences. She has children about the same ages as my sons. She says she is not happy about parents she knows that approve of their son’s girlfriend only because she is attractive. This is part of the pressure. Our children have to be seen as ‘attractive’ and they must choose who they are seen with based on the same criteria.
She asks if my sons are dating. I told her that I don’t know that they are involved with anyone, but I don’t know that I would know if they were. I told her that my wife and I assume our eldest would be in a relationship within a year of leaving for college, because that is what happened to us. Elsie agrees that this is very likely. We would be proven correct, not that it really matters.
Many times, Elsie would offer her own experiences that related to whatever topic I had brought up. I think this is important for several reasons. It shows that the therapist is a real person, someone who has experienced life and can really relate to your issues. It also shows that going through the process of talking to someone and thinking about things between sessions is the process. Everything I discussed with Elsie could be organized and distilled into a simple set of observations, but it would not have helped me nearly as much. I think I had to go through therapy to get most of the benefits.
You may well be thinking that this sounds pretty dumb coming from someone who is writing about the process of therapy. I don’t think anything I can write could help you as much as you going to therapy. I do think that what I can write can get you to overcome your fears and actually go get the help you need.
I brought up that sometimes I think I’m boring her. I asked if there is something I should focus on to make better use of her time. She says she wasn’t bored and reviewing events that relate to what we had discussed in previous sessions is part of the process, as is reviewing my symptoms.
I brought up the card my wife gave me for our anniversary. Her card had a wonderful note — “I want to spend my forever with you”. I asked her if she meant what was in the card. I have trouble believing anyone would want to be around me, unless I’m helping them in some tangible way. Elsie seemed to be after me. She said that my conclusions were wrong and something in my view of this was screwed up.
This was about as harsh as Elsie ever was with me. I wasn’t upset. I had no problem with what she said. I didn’t disagree that my conclusions are wrong and my view of this was screwed up. I didn’t think my wife didn’t mean what was in the card, and I love her for it. It is also true that I do actually react to statements like that with an honest question — “do you really mean that”? It is difficult for me to accept that anyone really cares for me. That is screwed up.