Thoughts From The Therapist’s Office

By Jessa

Collage by Rachel D
Collage by Rachel D

I wonder what the other girl’s sessions are like.

It’d be nice to converse freely with her, without feeling like a damned, blessed idiot. It’s just repeated feelings of infuriation that continues long after we’ve exceeded 50 minutes. I can’t tell her about the conflicting, deeply disturbing fantasies I have about my odd-looking English teacher and how fucking him would help me develop good literary taste. It’s not like I can mention I find the other abused girls irritating, and that they use their struggle as an outlet for every issue. I certainly can’t tell her that when I’m masturbating I sometimes picture my petite best friend smiling or just brushing her hair or some shit; but how I’m definitely not a lesbian, no matter whatever Freud says. I can’t tell her I masturbate at all, for fucks sake. She’d diagnose me with a personality disorder or something. I don’t fancy ending up in a psych ward for allowing myself an oddly-induced orgasm once a week. I have few pleasures in life.

The space isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, for starters. In my mind, it doesn’t exactly scream ‘tell me your deep issues’ more than ‘this is so obviously funded by the government’.

Sometimes I sit in that irritatingly-lit room, staring at the pale yellow walls, trying to think of something she’ll call ‘a breakthrough’, just for laughs. It’s fun, leading her on like that – the fake pleased expression in her eyes just makes me want to laugh. At her age and menial height in her profession, I figure she’s bored. If I can give her that little thrill every now and then that reminds her why she studied for years on other’s mental wellbeing, I guess I’m being a good client as well as a person.

I showed her my art collages last week, simply out of interest, and she established that I’d only included the picture of someone’s grazed knee because I’d experienced ‘a deep wound’ in my life. I proceeded to give her the most puzzled look of my existence, but melodrama is lost on her. It dawned on me that’s precisely the problem with psychologists and why I can’t respond to them – they have to fucking analyze everything.

As therapy goes, it’s not achingly terrible. You arrive. You sit down. You try and remember why you’re there and what you should talk about. My problem is that she (being elderly, overweight, difficult to look in the eyes and constantly exasperated with my lack of enthusiasm) doesn’t exactly gel with me.

I’ve had a constant psychiatrist for about six months, and it is a bizarre experience, if not, rare. As far as I’m aware, psychologists are far more in demand elsewhere than here in the UK, and it’s more unusual to be a teenage client. Don’t get me wrong. My mother’s not some neurotic nightmare, nor are my parents rich or concerned enough to pay to send me there. The National Health Service, or the NHS, recommended me, and pays for it. They deem me the right kind of patient, apparently. I need fixing.

I’ve had two psychiatrists before – the first was a young, kooky kind of woman who had just got her master’s degree. We got on well. She approached issues in such a way that I didn’t even realise I was uncomfortable until I left the session. The point is, I started to understand my issues rather than just express them.

I think our entire generation finds it difficult to articulate ourselves candidly without over-simplifying. And, granted, it is a problematic situation. The media and larger culture dilutes our feelings and emotions to cheap sentiments, which doesn’t make it any easier. In my head, for some reason I ironically can’t express, there’s a ‘right’ way to do therapy. Not as a counsellor or a psychoanalyst, but as a client. You need to learn to get good at communicating your thoughts in a seemingly open but coherent manner in order to even try and grasp them. Good psychologists teach this. Bad psychologists just ‘let you talk’, which, if you’re anything like me, doesn’t work, nor will ever work, as it’s just essentially reiteration of your thoughts rather than comprehension.

From my weekly sessions, I have come to realize that offloading is all my psychologist expects; and all she is prepared for, so it is far safer to just remain quiet and infuriate her.

Having a regular rant session helps to let off steam, after all. I don’t want to let off my steam.

I want to understand its significance.

 

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