Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 11/28/97

Saturday, November 22, 1997

Sunday, November 23, 1997

Monday, November 24, 1997

2 pm. Fifth Session with Jesse Trent. Things are going extremely well for Jesse in his relationship with Maddie. She has opened up a lot more to him and seems willing to seek some comfort with him. While she is not ready to renew a sexual relationship yet, she is willing to lie with him and kiss and touch. I told Jesse that she will initiate sexual activity when she is ready and that it is best to allow her to have all the control at this stage in her healing. Their OB was sympathetic to their concerns and said that he would perform amniocentesis at 16 or 17 weeks to gather the cellular material necessary for the genetic testing to determine paternity. Seeing the fetus during ultrasound was an emotional moment for both Jesse and Maddie--I suspect that if it becomes necessary to terminate the pregnancy, Maddie will suffer a serious relapse in her ability to see Jesse as an important support. Jesse's in-laws are arriving tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with Maddie. I'm sure that's going to be a strain on everyone involved. Jesse wanted me to read a letter he wrote to Maddie which expresses much of what he has told me--that he is willing to wait until Maddie is ready to renew a sexual relationship, that he is emotionally there for her, and that he loves her.

Tuesday, November 25, 1997

Wednesday, November 26, 1997

3:40 pm. Telephone Conversation with Ms. Anna Schultz respecting Rachel Tanner. Ms. Schultz called and sought some information about Rachel Tanner, her granddaughter. Of course I demurred, citing professional confidences. Ms. Schultz seemed to understand and went on to tell me about Rachel's mother and her dysfunctional sexual relationship with Rachel's father, Wolfgang. Anna described him obliquely as "demanding." Anna also seemed concerned that she might have told Rachel too much. I had an odd impression of Anna, actually, that she might be more reticent in giving Rachel information about her mother and her family than I had believed. I'd understood that Rachel found it difficult to talk openly with her grandmother, but Anna seems to be of the old school of repressive social interaction. Although it was painful for Anna to tell me, she finally revealed that Rachel has either plucked or shaved all of her pubic hair. I suspect that she plucked it, which sounds somewhat excruciating. But Anna believes that Rachel has gotten better since beginning therapy--she sees a lot of positive signs in her behavior. I told Anna that I would keep her call, and the information that she had provided to me, confidential and asked her to do the same.

4 pm. Twenty-Seventh Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine began by apologizing for allowing her feelings to overtake her during her last session. But she realized by herself the appropriateness of her actions in the context of a therapy session. Katherine told me of some of her memories of Christmas past apparently brought on by the smell of a bakery which evoked a sense memory of her mother's bountiful Christmas preparations. The memories were happy ones, prompting Katherine to comment that, since she is seeing a psychiatrist, she feels she should have some dark memories of childhood abuse to relate. But she can't remember her father ever raising his voice, and although her mother did, she was not physically abusive. She said that her mother was much nicer before her father left, but that after he left, she had to step up the level of terror. That's the word she used: "terror." When I asked if she felt terrorized by her mother, Katherine did a fairly unconvincing backtrack, trying to clumsily brush it aside. After Katherine's father left, Katherine's mother was sympathetic to Katherine's feelings of emotional loss--for awhile. After about five months, Katherine was ordered to "get over it." Katherine persisted until I told her that it was not uncommon for a child to mourn for a year after losing a parent. So Katherine has decided that she has been denied seven months of the "normal" one year mourning period. In allocating blame between her parents, she has heaped it all upon her mother. Her father remains relatively blameless in her emotional landscape. Intellectually, I believe that she realizes that there is something wrong in that distribution of anger, but her emotions were doled out as a child and not with the benefit of the maturity and perspective that she can now bring to bear. When I asked her about her father a couple of sessions ago, she told me that, while she was mildly aggrieved, she was unable to work up any real anger. But towards her mother, there is no such inability, as she showed during the last session. I believe that her father is a fantasy figure for Katherine now and that she has deeply repressed any negative feelings towards him so as not to tarnish her fantasy image. I believe Katherine has deep feelings of anger towards her father, but is not allowing herself to feel them. I think it is important to make him real enough to remove his immunity from Katherine's anger. I've had patients in therapy with unresolved issues about parents who've died, and they've been reluctant to explore those issues because it might have implied criticism of a now dead parent. Katherine's situation is somewhat unique, especially if her father is still alive and she is able to find him. Will a face to face meeting with him remove his immunity and allow Katherine to give voice to her true feelings? I would prefer that if such volcanic forces are present, that they are given vent in the security of my office, rather than in some Alaskan airport when she finally reunites with him.

5 pm. Twenty-Fifth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex was ebullent during today's session. I allowed him to roam across a number of topics, because I was interested in trying to evaluate his possible depression after he had gotten some sleep. With the exception of Thursday night--where he had a drama involving the police and Ralph's tenant in back--Alex has been getting sleep. When he's not exhausted, he's naturally very enthuasiastic and upbeat. I don't think it's mania, exactly, and I've yet to observe a cyclic rhythm in Alex's behavior. So Alex is enthuasiastic that Katherine Lippard invited him to meet Phil and see his mural. Jake has hung his painting in his office, which Alex takes as a positive sign. The tenant who lives behind Alex at Ralph's apparently has a fascination with guns which led to a confrontation with the police. He's been taken away. Tony is back from drug rehab, which is making Alex's boyfriend Luke jealous. Alex was also speaking of his mother in very positive terms--he invited me to Thanksgiving dinner there and sounded sure that everyone was going to have a great time. He's invited both Tony and Luke, trying to convince Luke that there is nothing to be jealous of respecting Tony, who's just a friend. Alex spoke a bit of feeling wistful about last Thanksgiving, which he spent with Benny and Dora. It was Benny's birthday, and Alex remembers that he loved Benny at the time and thought of him as a father, a lover, and a friend. And now, Benny is in jail and Alex feels betrayed. I told Alex that it was perfectly normal to have conflicting feelings and he was likely to think of Benny every once in a while for years to come.

Thursday, November 27, 1997

Thanksgiving Holiday
Friday, November 28, 1997

Day after Thanksgiving Holiday
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later
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