Transcript of 8th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. George Landau, Wednesday, April 2, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, George. I'm sorry that I had to cancel our session on Monday.
Mr. Landau: That's okay, Doctor. Thanks for seeing me now.
Dr. Balis: Well, your next training session is this coming Monday. I was hoping to have a chance to work with you before then.
Mr. Landau: It feels strange coming in here with all my cards on the table already, as it were.
Dr. Balis: Is that what you feel you have done?
Mr. Landau: Yes. Like I have owned up to something.
Dr. Balis: To me or to yourself?
Mr. Landau: Both, I think.
Dr. Balis: How does that make you feel?
Mr. Landau: Strong, actually. I feel less vulnerable. That's very strange. I would have expected to feel more vulnerable.
Dr. Balis: Admitting fears is the first step towards dealing with them. And by doing so, you are taking control of your own future in a way you were avoiding previously. You are empowering yourself; it's not strange that you should feel stronger.
Mr. Landau: Do you think I will see a change next Monday morning? Perhaps I won't get sick?
Dr. Balis: It's possible that you will feel differently. But I don't want you to expect the problem to suddenly go away.
Mr. Landau: I don't know, I feel like I could perhaps tackle the training session next week. It surely can't be as bad as I imagined.
Dr. Balis: I would like to explore this today.
Mr. Landau: Surely the only way to really tell what I will feel is to go along?
Dr. Balis: Slow down, George. I'm happy for you to try this training course once again if you feel positive about it. But you have been telling me about some pretty strong feelings and I don't think we have dealt with them yet.
Mr. Landau: I thought you would be pleased I felt this way, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I am pleased with your progress, George. I just don't want you to rush things. I was going to suggest that you might cancel the training session next week in order to give yourself time to deal with it.
Mr. Landau: But I don't need time, Doctor. That's the worst thing I could have. A few weeks would only make the course seem more frightening. It would be a horrible experience coming up on my calendar, always there in the future. Better that I go straight ahead without thinking too hard. Like jumping into a cold lake.
Dr. Balis: Jumping into a cold lake is not always a wise move.
Mr. Landau: I came in here feeling quite enthusiastic, Doctor, and now I feel defeated.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, that wasn't my intention. I would like us to explore your feelings about computers in a little more depth.
Mr. Landau: How would you like us to do that?
Dr. Balis: Please don't take that tone, George.
Mr. Landau: Well, I feel like I have taken control of myself for the first time in years, and you want me to go back to the way it was before.
Dr. Balis: That's not the case. I am pleased for you to go ahead next week and tackle the course on your own terms. But since you are here today, why don't we talk about the specifics anyway?
Mr. Landau: Because if I think too hard about what the course will involve then I will find it much more difficult to face my fear.
Dr. Balis: I would rather you faced it slowly in a controlled environment than jumped straight in during an unfamiliar social situation.
Mr. Landau: I just feel that if I'm bold about it, if I move quickly and don't think too hard beforehand, I may break through the barrier.
Dr. Balis: I don't want you to hurt yourself, George.
Mr. Landau: If I'm going to be hurt at all, I would rather get it over quickly rather than suffer slowly over several months.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Let's stop for a moment and remind ourselves what we are talking about. You have a training course scheduled next week concerning your departmental computer system. It is with a group of strangers across town. We've established that you have a phobia relating to computers which...
Mr. Landau: Oh, that's it, is it?
Dr. Balis: What?
Mr. Landau: Never mind how many weeks we've spent here talking about me. Never mind all the personal things I've spilled out. Now you've found a label you can stick on me. I hope it makes you happy.
Dr. Balis: George, I thought we had come beyond this kind of thing.
Mr. Landau: Why don't we just stop the session now?
Dr. Balis: Are you talking about leaving therapy for good?
Mr. Landau: If my plan works I won't need therapy anymore, will I? But don't worry, I'll come back for a last session so you can look me over and slap a "cured" sticker on my file.
Dr. Balis: And if your plan doesn't work?
Mr. Landau: I can't think about that or I'll be beaten before I start.
Dr. Balis: I don't want to get in your way, George. Perhaps you are right. Only please think hard before you decide to stop coming here. You have made progress, but we have really only touched the surface of what is bothering you.
Mr. Landau: You have been good for me, Doctor. I do lash out at you, I'm sorry about that.
Dr. Balis: I'm used to it.
Mr. Landau: I want to go now. I don't want to explain any more or talk about this at all. I just have to get on and do it.
Dr. Balis: But George, if it doesn't work out, don't think all is lost. We can work on this problem together.
Mr. Landau: I don't want to be undermined.
Dr. Balis: Okay. I guess we won't be having a session next Monday. Tell you what, why don't you call me and tell me how the course went? If you've survived exposure to computers all day a five-minute phone call should be relatively painless.
Mr. Landau: I don't know when it finishes...but yes, I'll do that.
Dr. Balis: Good. I hope it goes all right.
Mr. Landau: Thanks, Doctor. I'll let you know.
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