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Therapy

“Hey Doc. How’re you?”


“Oh I’m doing well, thank you for asking. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you. You’re letting your hair and beard grow out I see. It looks good. Very biblical.”


“Biblical?”


“Yes, biblical.”


“You mean the western version of those characters? I’m starting to look like them?”


“It was just an observation Clint, no need to get defensive already.”


“I’ve missed you Doc. You’re a real gem, you know that, don’t you? You, with your fancy shoes, and nice family. Such a good American boy you are. I bet you’ve never gotten in trouble in your life. I bet you view yourself as a peacekeeper. ‘Doing the lord's work’ that’s what your wife calls it, huh? Yeah, she does, doesn’t she? Ha, well bless you Doc. Let me sit back and take life advice from a man who’s never struggled with money a day in his life. You’re a man who’s never missed a meal. But go on, tell me where I am broken. Tell me about me. Please Doc, go right ahead.”


“Are you done?”

….


“You're doing that thing again where you turn everything into a fight. Remember what we said, ‘Leave it in the gym.’ Conversations are not competitions. You cannot win them.”



“I bet you’re fun at parties, ain’t ya? I bet you talk about your fancy car and the problems with the modern man, as you sip on an expensive whisky. You talk shit about your coworkers and friends, just to fit in, don’t you? You shoot longing glances at your friend’s wife, as your wife flirts with the most exciting man she can find. And you both pretend like you don’t notice the other, don’t you?”


“You know I don’t have to do this. I am here for you, but I don’t have to take this. I am not your verbal punching bag. I am your Doctor–


–you’re a doctor like Dr. Pepper is a doctor.”


“You don’t respect my education?”


“There’s lots of bad doctors out there, just because you went to college, and charge up the ass, that doesn’t mean you’re a good doctor.”


“No, it doesn’t. You’re right about that. There are bad doctors out there, I can’t deny that.”


“When a surgeon makes a mistake, there will be physical evidence of that mistake. But when a psychologist makes a mistake, it’s the psyche that suffers. And that suffering can manifest itself in more issues that the psychologist has to address. Therapy can be a perpetual spiraling of bullshit if you aren’t careful.”


“Is that why you're so resistant, Clint? You think this is a ‘perpetual spiraling of bullshit’? And you think ‘I am a doctor like Dr. Pepper is a doctor’?


“Well, you make me sound like a real ass-hat when you say it like that. But yeah, essentially that’s what I am thinking.”


“Well congratulations, you’ve won the fight. I’m done doing this with you. I am tapping out. I am no match for you. You clearly have it all figured out. So you don’t need me. Sounds like you just need yourself. The only thing I’d like to know Clint, is why did you schedule this session today?”



“Clint?”


“Take your time.”



“Because I need more than myself…”



“I need other people…”



“I don’t have anything figured out…”



“I’m a mess doc. And I try to hide it from everyone. I try to be strong, but sometimes, I’m not. Sometimes I feel weak. I feel broken. But no one wants that; no one wants a weak and broken man. No woman does… and I don’t want to be alone, so I hide it all. I tuck it away. Deep down, behind the soul…”



“Have you ever cried in front of your wife Doc?”


“Well, let me think… only once I guess.”


“Why were you crying?”



“...My father had just passed.”


“And after you cried about your father in front of your wife, how long after that did she wait to fuck you again?”


“What the fuck Clint?!”


“How long??”



“Well shit, I’ve never thought about it before. But now that you brought it up, I think it was 5 months later...”


“I’m sorry Doc. That’s rough. Women aren’t really attracted to vulnerable men. That’s what they say they want, but really, so many of them don’t know what they want, and as a result, men don’t know what to be. Sensitive sometimes, but strong and stoic the rest of the time? That's not how emotions work. We can’t just flip a switch and be someone else. Don’t you agree, Doc?”


“You know, I was 33 when my father passed. Her and I were in our sexual prime right before that day. I mean, we were freaks man, freaks. She liked to be tied up and blindfolded… Now we don’t even talk.”


“Oh shit, y’all are divorced then?”


“Yeah… 10 years today actually.”


“Fuck Doc, I’m sorry man. You still love her, don’t you?”


“Always.”


“I’m sorry about what I said earlier Doc, I’ve just been in a mood lately.”


“ I can tell, man. You came out swinging today.”


“So you never had any kids then?”


“She never wanted any. But now, she’s remarried. 4 kids. Every time I see her post a picture of her kids and family, a part of my soul burns away…”


“That’s poetic Doc, I am going to steal it.”


“We’ve gotten way off topic…”


“I feel like we are making great progress though! I can relate to you so much more now that I know you’ve suffered a little.”


“It’s unprofessional to talk about our personal lives with our patients.”


“You got to talk about it with someone, Doc. You got stuff tucked away under your soul too.”


“Everyone does. Even the women who have seen us cry. They have stuff tucked away too. And most don’t try to show it, they try to be strong. But when they show it, it is no big deal to us. We love them and comfort them. We can only show our pain from our suffering at: the pub, in therapy, or through our art. That’s what you do, Clint. You use art to process your thoughts and emotions. Your poetry is your therapy. But what is it you are always saying, ‘We don’t have an objective lens to look at ourselves through. The ruler is trying to measure the ruler. We need other people to help us see ourselves.’ You don’t get that through your art, do you?”



“Clint?”


“You’ve read my writing?”


“Of course.”



“Clint?”



“That shit is personal Doc. That was a huge invasion of privacy.”


“You’re quite talented.”


“You really think so?? Well thank you doc. I’m trying.”


...


“So you think I need you? You think I need an unbiased third party to help me see myself? A more objective lens?”


“Yes, I think that, and I know that you think that too. Or does your philosophy apply to everyone else, and not yourself?”


“Yeah, yeah, I see what you’re saying Doc.”


“You’re very intelligent Clint, but even the most intelligent of us know almost nothing. ‘The fatal flaw of the western man is the ego. His hubris haunts him, preventing him from growth. The death of the first ego is the birth of a worse ego.’ Take your own advice Clint.”


“Quoting me back to me is the most annoying version of therapy that you’ve tried. And I know that I know nothing...”


“You already know all the answers, Clint. I am just here to help you see the questions a little differently.”


“Alright Doc, we’ll make this a weekly thing for a while. Do me a favor though?”


“What’s that?”


“Don’t read my writing.”


“Fair enough.”


“Later Doc.”


“Have a good week Clint.”



“So see you at the pub??”


“No clint, you won’t see me at the pub.”


I smiled at him before turning around to leave and said,


“Sure, Doc Sure.”



-C.H.

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