Transcript of 11th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Kester Langford, Tuesday, November 11, 1997 at 1:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Kester.
Mr. Langford: Good afternoon, Doc.
Dr. Balis: You seem a little quiet today.
Mr. Langford: I really love your sense of humor. I haven't said anything yet. Were you getting uncomfortable with my silence?
Dr. Balis: That sounds like something I might say.
Mr. Langford: Yes, I think it is something you might say. That's why I said it. It is true, isn't it? Were you feeling a little uncomfortable just sitting here looking at me?
Dr. Balis: I was attempting to move the session along with my observation.
Mr. Langford: I don't think that you would have accepted that answer from me. I don't mean to turn the tables on you, Doc, but it just came out.
Dr. Balis: That's fine, Kester. I'm interested in hearing about how you've been feeling and what you've been doing.
Mr. Langford: When I'm doing my marks, I feel rather quiet and peaceful--at ease, actually. My medical situation continues to be disturbing. My cramps and my feelings of uneasiness in my stomach and abdominal area is a little better, no thanks to anything that the doctors have said or done. So far, they have found nothing to explain my problems. All I get are suggestions for more tests and lab work. "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" is the key phrase that these medicos have been bandying about with the explanation--get this--"This is the diagnosis we use when the problem is not some serious condition that we can determine to be the cause of your pain and discomfort." I wrote it down so I could remember it. I heard the same statement from three separate physicians.
Dr. Balis: You're obviously very angry about the way you've been treated. I've read research which has shown that many physicians change the manner in which they practice medicine after realizing how truly dehumanizing being a patient can feel.
Mr. Langford: Thank you for that. You've been both empathetic and sympathetic during some very difficult times. I'm getting the feeling more and more that I am more than just a patient, but a person as well.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you feel that way, Kester. I hope it's evident that I try to see you as a total human being, uniquely individual and continually evolving and developing at your own rate.
Mr. Langford: Sometimes my rate is way too fast and jerky for me, but on the whole I'd say that, since I moved into the gallery apartment, my general outlook has stabilized. Of course Evelyn and Me, have helped in ways that are hard for me to explain.
Dr. Balis: Their influence as women or has it been something else?
Mr. Langford: I wouldn't want to underestimate the fact that they are women, but I think that who they are as people is at least as important. I feel accepted, loved, and appreciated by both of them.
Dr. Balis: I sense that there's something else going on with you now.
Mr. Langford: That's extremely perceptive, but I don't think that I'm trying to hide anything. Not that you're saying that I am, but I came to this session with great hesitation and I haven't been talking about what's really on my mind.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Langford: Actually, it's not just one thing. My relationship with Me is proceeding well, but something has come up that has changed everything for me.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Mr. Langford: I told you that I have a group show coming up and that could mean a great deal for my career. The added twist is that my brother has sent me a round trip ticket to Paris plus money in a bank account in my name. He wants me to meet him and spend some undetermined time together in a Villa he rented outside the city. He contacted a dealer in Paris that agreed to represent me. Chester is making such an effort to make a connection with me that I don't want to miss out on something I've longed for and have missed my entire life.
Dr. Balis: Have you made a decision yet?
Mr. Langford: That's exactly what I'm struggling with now. I'm finally to a point where my career may take off, but nothing is certain in that regard. My living situation, although not perfect, has been providing me with the opportunity to spend more time making marks, making love, and making my life more enjoyable. Except for this recent medical fiasco and my previous struggle with the death of the people that I love and who cared about me, everything has been moving along. Now, here comes the brother--the one that never gave me the time of day, or less--to my rescue.
Dr. Balis: Is that what you're feeling, that you're being rescued?
Mr. Langford: It's really hard to know what I'm really thinking or feeling. My mind is spinning and my emotions are flip-flopping. On the one hand, how can I pass up a chance to go to Paris, hooking up with an art dealer with the possibility of shows and sales, as well as reconnect with my brother in ways that I've never even dreamed? On the other hand, how can I leave Me without any definite plans to return? How can I leave my job as a security person for the gallery? And I don't like the possibility of giving up my group show, either. What should I do?
Dr. Balis: You're going to have to decide that for yourself but I do have a few questions that might help you.
Mr. Langford: I know, you want to know why I'm chuckling. I find it humorous that you're going to help me with questions. I am eager to find out what kind of questions you have in mind.
Dr. Balis: You've talked about how this possible trip to Paris would require you to lose everything that you have now, but what about coming up with a plan that would allow you to maintain what you've got going and still go to Paris?
Mr. Langford: You're right. I've been taking about the worse case scenario. What you're suggesting is that I come up with a different plan. I actually have been thinking about that. I could contact Chester and explain my concerns and suggest that he help me figure out a way to make this idea of his work for both of us. For example, Me's course work will be complete at the end of November and she has December off. I could trade in the first class ticket and buy two roundtrip tickets and see if I could convince Me to come with me. That's one thing. I could have a sit down with Jake and see if I could work out the group show by getting everything ready in advance, but that's something that I could probably arrange. The real problem is who is going to be the security person for the gallery, and if it's not going to be me, will that scrub my chances for the group show?
Dr. Balis: How would you feel if you could arrange everything the way that you described?
Mr. Langford: I think that I would have mixed feelings. I'm actually more terrified of the thing with my brother blowing up than I am about losing my apartment or the group show. I think that Me would be very understanding and compassionate and would go along with whatever I decided. I could be wrong about that but I don't think so. Jake could go either way. He could either take it in his stride and work with me, or just give me notice and tell me to take a hike. I don't think that would happen but he's rather unpredictable. My problem is that although I can easily use the reality of my life as an excuse not to meet my brother, I believe that not meeting him would be a very big mistake.
Dr. Balis: What's your biggest fear about going to see your brother?
Mr. Langford: Maybe he's trying to brainwash me into becoming a born again Christian, instead of connecting with me without religious dogma. I want two open human beings to be meeting in Paris, not a Christian looking for a convert. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy that he has found his salvation. But what is true salvation if it requires that others must be brought into the fold before they can be accepted as truly whole and complete human beings? Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill and that he just wants a brother as much as I do. There's only one way to find out and that's to go for it. How's that for using a question to my advantage?
Dr. Balis: What do you think?
Mr. Langford: I got it. There's something that we've not talked about at all. I don't think that we've been avoiding it either, but I'm curious as to why you haven't asked how this possible separation will affect our relationship and my therapy?
Dr. Balis: The time seems good now to consider that question, don't you think?
Mr. Langford: You have to be clever to be a shrink, eh, Doc? Yes, I think that it will be a challenge for me to give up my therapy now, but I also think that the benefits will far outweigh any problems I might have in dealing with things on my own. Anyway, we don't really know how long I will be gone or for that matter exactly when I will be leaving. If Me can arrange her schedule, and Chester is amenable to my bringing her along, and Jake and I can work things out, I won't be leaving before December.
Dr. Balis: I have confidence in your ability to deal with your situation if you decide to go to Paris.
Mr. Langford: I appreciate that, Doc. I think that I definitely have a better handle on my situation now that I've had a chance talk it out today. It's a lot to deal with all at once.
Dr. Balis: You do have a lot on your plate, but you're handling it very well.
Mr. Langford: Thank you. I agree.
Dr. Balis: This seems like an ideal place to end our session today.
Mr. Langford: I agree but I do have one thing I want to mention before I leave today.
Dr. Balis: What's that?
Mr. Langford: I can't stand my hours at the gallery. It's really grinding me down. This Parisian opportunity would be a perfect escape. I just thought I would mention it.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you did, but our time has run out for today. We can discuss this next time.
Mr. Langford: I agree. In two weeks, then?
Dr. Balis: That'll be fine. That's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Goodbye, Kester.
Mr. Langford: Goodbye, Doc.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Kester Langford's Transcripts Transcripts of Kester Langford's Communications
Button to Kester Langford's Patient File Kester Langford's Patient File

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