Transcript of 6th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. George Landau, Monday, March 10, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, George.
Mr. Landau: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I would like to lead the course of our session today if you'll allow me.
Mr. Landau: That's fine.
Dr. Balis: Okay. This is our sixth session together. How do you feel we're getting along?
Mr. Landau: I think I trust you.
Dr. Balis: Good. What has made you feel comfortable about talking to me?
Mr. Landau: Your manner, I suppose. You're ready to take me for what I am. You don't have any private agenda that you want me to follow. I'm not used to being the center of attention like this, but it's getting easier.
Dr. Balis: I'm pleased to hear that. During earlier sessions, you were very clear that you didn't want to be here. Do you still feel that way?
Mr. Landau: Not so much recently. To be honest, coming here can be a bit of a relief after an intense day in the office. Now that I don't feel like a laboratory specimen being studied.
Dr. Balis: So Mr. Taylor isn't compelling you to be here any longer?
Mr. Landau: I'm happy to keep coming to see you if that's what you mean.
Dr. Balis: I was wondering about your relationship with him and thinking back over our sessions. I've had an idea. I could write a letter to Mr. Taylor stating that you're perfectly healthy and that you shouldn't be in therapy. I could copy it to the personnel department. That should get you out of coming to our sessions for good. How would you feel about that?
Mr. Landau: Uh, well...
Dr. Balis: You're quite clear in your own mind that there's nothing wrong. Why should I waste your time looking for problems where there are none to be found?
Mr. Landau: You're not wasting my time.
Dr. Balis: Oh. So you think we should continue with our sessions?
Mr. Landau: I'm sure you know best.
Dr. Balis: Right. Well, I'll start on this letter and from next week you'll be a free man. In fact, you should have time to go back to your department today if you want. You could get another half hour...
Mr. Landau: Doctor?
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Mr. Landau: I don't want to stop our sessions. I'm finding them very useful.
Dr. Balis: Really? Tell me more.
Mr. Landau: I'm not used to talking about myself. I can talk to Melissa, but there's some things I can't even tell her. She wouldn't understand. I'm just beginning to feel okay about talking to you. Please don't stop our sessions now.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to hear we've made progress, George. But there are other issues here. I have to justify retaining patients on a long-term basis. I can't continue our meetings indefinitely just because...
Mr. Landau: Doctor, I'm terrified...
Dr. Balis: It's okay, George. Let it come. Let it out. I won't stop our sessions. Take your time.
Mr. Landau: Thank you.
Dr. Balis: Here. Have a tissue.
Mr. Landau: I haven't cried for years.
Dr. Balis: You might be surprised how many people haven't. Tears are an emotional safety valve, George. It's not good for us to block them up.
Mr. Landau: I'm sorry. I don't find it easy to talk about myself.
Dr. Balis: Many people don't. I would rather we took things at a pace you were happy with.
Mr. Landau: What were we talking about?
Dr. Balis: Actually, I wanted to explore these bouts of sickness you've been having.
Mr. Landau: What about them?
Dr. Balis: It seems quite a coincidence that you should have two on the first Mondays of consecutive months. George?
Mr. Landau: Yes. I suppose it is a coincidence. I hadn't realized that.
Dr. Balis: Has it happened before?
Mr. Landau: Um...
Dr. Balis: On, say, the 7th of October, the 4th of November, the 2nd of December and January the 6th?
Mr. Landau: Ah.
Dr. Balis: Do you want to tell me about these training sessions?
Mr. Landau: I'm sure Taylor thinks I've been pretending to be sick. I haven't. I've been genuinely sick. Perhaps I've exaggerated a little, but that's all.
Dr. Balis: You sounded bad both times you rang to cancel our session.
Mr. Landau: I probably sound like that all the time on the telephone. I don't like using it.
Dr. Balis: Specifically what is it about using the telephone that you dislike?
Mr. Landau: Perhaps it would be easier if I told you about the training session.
Dr. Balis: Please do.
Mr. Landau: Around September last year, Administration got a new computer system. I think that was one of the reasons they hired Taylor, he knew all about that kind of thing. Everyone was so enthusiastic about how it would make our life so much easier. It would keep track of everything and warn us when we had to contact people and so on. We were all to be trained to use it--a company across town gives a course. On the first morning of the course, I was dreadfully ill. I sat on the bathroom floor, curled up with the worst stomach cramps I ever had. I was sick all over the room.
Dr. Balis: So you didn't go to the course?
Mr. Landau: No. And then the next month, the course was on again. It happened again, just as bad.
Dr. Balis: And it's been happening every month since?
Mr. Landau: That's right. You only noticed because our sessions are on Mondays.
Dr. Balis: So your department has been doing everything through this new computer system for nearly six months, and you don't know how to operate it?
Mr. Landau: Yes. That's right.
Dr. Balis: I guess that irritates Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Landau: Yes. It's hardly my fault though. I can barely move on those mornings.
Dr. Balis: When do the cramps go away?
Mr. Landau: Usually around nine-thirty. Actually it varies. Once I realize that it's too late to go to the course, I find myself loosening up. I'm normally all right again by lunchtime.
Dr. Balis: How does your family react?
Mr. Landau: The children are normally on their way to school before it really hits. Melissa is very concerned; she always wants to get a doctor. But now I've learned to just wait it out.
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about the course on the night before?
Mr. Landau: Anxious. I often have trouble getting to sleep.
Dr. Balis: What about the week beforehand?
Mr. Landau: I try to forget that the course is coming up. But obviously that doesn't work very well.
Dr. Balis: Burying your feelings seldom does. You manage three staff members, don't you?
Mr. Landau: That's right.
Dr. Balis: How is your relationship with them affected by this new computer system, and the fact you can't use it yet?
Mr. Landau: I get round it mostly. I ask them questions directly rather than consult the records myself. I get them to print reports out for me. I suppose I've gotten quite good at avoiding the problem.
Dr. Balis: It sounds to me like you are avoiding the problem in several different ways.
Mr. Landau: Yes. You're allowed to be eccentric when you're a little older and you're managing staff. They like to feel you're an old fuddy-duddy. They're probably right. It lets me get away with things. Not everything though. I think they're beginning to wonder.
Dr. Balis: And Mr. Taylor won't let it lie?
Mr. Landau: That's different because he's my manager. He gets to make demands about how I work.
Dr. Balis: We need to explore this in more detail, George. Unfortunately, we can't fit that in today. I really hope we can be candid from the beginning next session.
Mr. Landau: I don't seem to have been able to avoid the issue today. But you haven't heard everything yet.
Dr. Balis: Can we make a start on it next Monday, same time?
Mr. Landau: Yes Doctor. I promise.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week then, George.
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