Transcript of 12th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. George Landau, Monday, June 2, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Mr. Landau: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello, George. You don't sound quite yourself today.
Mr. Landau: I'm fed up.
Dr. Balis: Tell me about it.
Mr. Landau: I'm fed up with the way computers are taking over everything. I'm fed up working in a high technology company. I'm fed up with my office and its charmless modern decor. I feel fed up with everything today.
Dr. Balis: Everyone has days like that, George.
Mr. Landau: I'm fed up with therapy, too.
Dr. Balis: Do you mean that? Or is that just a random punch in my direction because I'm conveniently close?
Mr. Landau: I mean it a little. I'm fed up walking over here and coming in to talk about my problems. We seem to talk and talk and I don't feel any better.
Dr. Balis: I believe you've walked out of here feeling better on several occasions. It may not seem that way today.
Mr. Landau: It doesn't.
Dr. Balis: Are you fed up with Melissa and the kids too?
Mr. Landau: No. I'm not fed up with them.
Dr. Balis: We really must get started with the flooding treatment again.
Mr. Landau: I thought you would get round to that.
Dr. Balis: Of course I'm going to get round to that. George, you've made great progress since you started coming to see me. You have broken down a delusion which was holding back your career and your happiness at work. You have faced a very deep-rooted and powerful fear. We're now working to overcome that fear. What else would we do?
Mr. Landau: I don't know. I'm not convinced it's worthwhile.
Dr. Balis: This is one of the most effective techniques available for dealing with your type of phobia.
Mr. Landau: Mmm.
Dr. Balis: If you were coming here every week I might be tempted to cut the session short and see you again when you feel more amenable to the treatment. But we only meet once every two weeks. This time is valuable, George, I don't want to waste it.
Mr. Landau: It doesn't seem as relevant as it used to.
Dr. Balis: That can be a hazard of fortnightly sessions. I would really prefer to see you every week. That way we maintain the momentum of the therapy process.
Mr. Landau: Oh, let's try the damn flooding thing.
Dr. Balis: You sound angry.
Mr. Landau: I'm frustrated and tired and I just want to get home.
Dr. Balis: This may not be a constructive frame of mind to apply the technique in.
Mr. Landau: Oh, for heaven's sake just try! Look, I've closed my eyes.
Dr. Balis: Very well. You are walking round the corner towards the room where you will attend your training course. You can hear voices.
Mr. Landau: I go in.
Dr. Balis: It is a small, warm room. Desks line the walls and on each stands a computer. The screens all face the center of the room.
Mr. Landau: Yes, yes.
Dr. Balis: About ten young people mill around in the room, chatting. They wear business suits. One woman sees you enter and asks for your name.
Mr. Landau: George Landau.
Dr. Balis: You see a flicker of surprise on her face, then one corner of her mouth turns up. She makes a mark on her clipboard. "Mr. Landau," she says in a slow, patronizing manner. "Good to see you. We'll be starting in five minutes. Do get yourself some coffee." She indicates a nearby table which has a coffee machine.
Mr. Landau: Fine. I'll have a cup of coffee.
Dr. Balis: You step over to the machine. It is black and oddly shaped. There are cups and saucers stacked beside it.
Mr. Landau: I take a cup and saucer. How do I get coffee out of the machine?
Dr. Balis: It has an odd, molded domelike shape on top. There is a small spout sticking out from beneath a protruding arm. You can't see how to turn the flow of coffee on.
Mr. Landau: I change my mind. I don't want coffee any more.
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about the machine?
Mr. Landau: It's a pain in the butt. Why can't they design them better?
Dr. Balis: You don't sense evil from it?
Mr. Landau: It's just an irritation. I can't visualize it very clearly anyway.
Dr. Balis: Okay. You turn back to the group of trainees and the woman with the clipboard.
Mr. Landau: I'm not really in the mood to deal with people.
Dr. Balis: George, you've opened your eyes again. You can't keep stopping the process whenever you feel uncomfortable.
Mr. Landau: I didn't feel uncomfortable. I felt angry.
Dr. Balis: We have to explore your feelings. We won't get anywhere if you keep interrupting.
Mr. Landau: I thought I was free to take it at my own pace.
Dr. Balis: We will make more rapid progress if you let events follow their entire course in your imagination. You don't want to be doing this for months, do you?
Mr. Landau: No.
Dr. Balis: We still have time to try again quickly. Are you ready?
Mr. Landau: Right.
Dr. Balis: You are entering your office at the start of the working day. Nobody is around besides yourself.
Mr. Landau: Yes.
Dr. Balis: You sit at your desk. There are two memos there and, of course, your computer.
Mr. Landau: I read the memos.
Dr. Balis: One is from Personnel. Some of your staff are on vacation or attending conferences. The others have called in sick. Even Simon Taylor is ill.
Mr. Landau: Hmm. What's the other one?
Dr. Balis: It's from the CEO, Lloyd Major. He needs to know some financial figures by ten o'clock. That's in less than one hour. The figures are on the computer system. You're the only one who can get them.
Mr. Landau: Well, I can't. I don't know how to work the computer.
Dr. Balis: They are very basic figures. It is inconceivable that you wouldn't be able to get them. They need to be incorporated into a report which has to go out this morning. Your job is on the line, George. Your family's entire income.
Mr. Landau: I must have them on paper somewhere.
Dr. Balis: No. These are the latest figures. The computer has put them together overnight. You have to get them from the machine.
Mr. Landau: I look at the computer. I'm sweating.
Dr. Balis: Its screen is dark. It's not switched on.
Mr. Landau: I look at it.
Dr. Balis: It's not switched on.
Mr. Landau: I look at it. I can feel the heat from it.
Dr. Balis: You hear the clock tick.
Mr. Landau: I look at the computer.
Dr. Balis: You are tapping your feet on the floor.
Mr. Landau: Yes. I can see the button on the front. It says "power".
Dr. Balis: You have to get this information.
Mr. Landau: I'm still looking at it. I feel heat pouring from it.
Dr. Balis: Time is running out.
Mr. Landau: I stand up and open the window. The air is cool. I can feel heat from the computer burning the back of my neck.
Dr. Balis: It's still not turned on.
Mr. Landau: I sit down and look at the button. I hate it.
Dr. Balis: You reach out with one finger towards the button.
Mr. Landau: I stand up again.
Dr. Balis: There's hardly any time left. Lloyd Major will be on the phone any moment.
Mr. Landau: I sit down. I stand up. I don't want to be here.
Dr. Balis: You touch the button from where you are standing. You only have to press a little harder and you will switch the machine on.
Mr. Landau: I take my finger away. I pick up the computer. I throw it out the window.
Dr. Balis: George! It might hit a passer-by!
Mr. Landau: Yes.
Dr. Balis: You have to take flooding seriously, George. That action would have had terrible consequences in the real world.
Mr. Landau: I was taking it seriously. I was just angry.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel this level of anger often?
Mr. Landau: No.
Dr. Balis: We have to deal with this. Won't you consider coming in next week?
Mr. Landau: Don't push me any harder, Doctor. It's bad enough as it is.
Dr. Balis: We are out of time for now. But I feel...
Mr. Landau: Don't worry, Doctor. I won't assault anyone on my way home. I'm not a violent man.
Dr. Balis: Take care then, George. And I really do mean that.
Mr. Landau: Yes, Doctor. I feel tired. I may go home to bed.
Dr. Balis: Do get some rest.
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