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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Therapy Session

‘Hello Emma, did you find this therapy centre OK?’

‘Yes, thanks. The directions on the appointment letter were very clear.’

‘Good. I’m Doctor Harris. Your doctor referred you to me for a series of counselling sessions to help you deal with social situations. Would you like to tell me, in your own words, what the difficulty is?’

‘So you think I’ve got a difficulty.’

‘Well, no. I’m a therapist. If you think you’ve got a difficulty, then I might be able to help you with it.’

I don’t have a problem, but I was hoping you could help me deal with all the other people who do.’

‘What problem do all the other people have?’

‘Everyone is just so challenging and argumentative. It’s impossible to talk to anyone without them using some angry or sarcastic facial expression or tone of voice.’

‘Can you give me an example?’

You’re doing it too!’


‘You’re asking me sarcastically, and with a patronising expression on your face, if I can give you an example of something which must be bloody obvious to you. What’s the matter with you? I thought you were supposed to be a therapist.’

‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean any offence. It’s just that it’s normal practice for any therapist to ask the person they are seeing to explain their concerns in their own words.’

‘Oh yea, right. As soon as I challenge your sarcastic, patronising attitude, you turn it against me as if I’m the one being bloody unreasonable. You’re just like all the rest.’

‘I swear to you that wasn’t my intension. I’m sorry if it came over that way. Let’s start again. What would you like to get out of these sessions?’

‘So now you’re getting at me by doing the opposite of being aggressive. You’re trying to trick me into feeling valued so you can subtly rubbish my viewpoint. I can tell it by the expression on your face. God you make me sick. I came here for help in dealing with people in a way that stops them being nasty to me and, before we even get to know each other, you’re being as unpleasant as everyone else. Well, I’m not putting up with it. I’m leaving.’

‘I’m sorry you feel that way, Emma. I would like to try to help you – really, I would.’

‘No you bloody wouldn’t. I knew my doctor was having a laugh when he referred me to you. You could tell by his facial expressions, body language and tone of voice that he’d just thought of another way of humiliating me. Just like my last twenty-five doctors and ten therapists. I’m just so desperate, I hoped you’d be different.’

‘Look Emma, I’m not usually this frank with the people so early in the therapeutic process, but don’t you think it odd that everyone is unpleasant to you? Do you think you might sometimes be misinterpreting their non-verbal communication?’

That’s what you all want me to think. That’s why no one ever says anything nasty; they just look at me aggressively or talk in sarcastic, patronising or angry tones. Well, I’m not staying here to put up with your unpleasantness. Goodbye!’