Transcript of 31st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, January 7, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine. Did you have a nice holiday?
Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis. Yeah, I had a good time--went to parties, exchanged gifts, ate too much. I saw Phil's friends do a couple of New Year's Eve fireworks over the Bay. And oh, wow! I just couldn't believe it! Phil's cooked for me before, and it always turned out like everything he does--unusual, but full of his own particular flavor. It's always good. Anyway, with the Crock Pot I gave him and the huge spice rack full of spices that Jake gave him to go with it, my brother Philip made the most amazing creamy lobster bisque. It was the hit of the party. There's not a drop left, except for this.
Dr. Balis: For me? Are you sure? Why, thank you, Katherine. I'll try it tonight.
Ms. Lippard: Don't thank me, it's from Phil--it's his thanks for all you've done for me. He says I'm a new woman. And I agree.
Dr. Balis: So do I. Tell him it was my pleasure. And thank him for the soup.
Ms. Lippard: I will. I left a message with your service inviting you.
Dr. Balis: I got it, thank you. I had plans. Besides, I don't think it's a good idea to socialize with patients. I have to keep our relationship professional.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I guess so. So how was your holiday? Did you go to Time Square?
Dr. Balis: Oh my, no. I didn't go to New York this time. I had a good time right here in the city. But that reminds me. I'm going on vacation this month. I'll be gone the next two weeks. So I'm afraid I'll have to miss our next two sessions.
Ms. Lippard: Vacation? Jesus, what's with you? You just had two weeks off.
Dr. Balis: Actually, I had to catch up on the end of the year HMO bureaucracy. You know how bad that can be, Katherine. Plus, I was still on call for patients in crisis.
Ms. Lippard: Well, hell, you could have given me some warning.
Dr. Balis: I apologize. I'd have liked more notice myself, but this opportunity just came up. Katherine, why are you so upset about this?
Ms. Lippard: It's just...we'll miss two weeks. I came in all excited about getting back to work, all ready to really tackle the Daddy stuff again, and now we're going to miss another two weeks. Damn it, Balis. I just want to get on with it, and now you're taking off somewhere.
Dr. Balis: Sorry. I understand your frustration; we have missed a lot of time recently. But we can tackle the Daddy stuff as intensely as you like as soon as I get back. In fact, you don't even have to wait for me...
Ms. Lippard: Uh, I think I'll just wait.
Dr. Balis: I understand. You can still get in touch with me in an emergency. And there's a doctor covering for me on call.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. It's okay. I can certainly understand your need to take a vacation from all of us--you patients, I mean. Look, I'm sorry I yelled at you. But it's frustrating, you know?
Dr. Balis: I know. Do you want to start talking about your father today?
Ms. Lippard: Let's wait. I don't want to have that big of a gap, you know?
Dr. Balis: Sure.
Ms. Lippard: So. I guess I've caught you up on what's happened to me while you were gone. Christmas was nice. New Year's was a blast. On to other things. Hey, here's an interesting tidbit: it seems I sent Larraine Rozzi to the nut house.
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. How about that? I told you Malcolm sent her home without pay after our little confrontation?
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Lippard: Well, the next thing I heard about it, she was in a psychiatric facility. She's out now, but on disability. And she's already put in for maternity leave. So I guess we won't be seeing much of Ms. Rozzi for a while.
Dr. Balis: That's quite a development.
Ms. Lippard: Isn't it though. You know, I've made men cry. I've broken careers. I've repossessed businesses. But I've never actually driven anyone insane before.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I don't think you caused this...
Ms. Lippard: Well, sure, it wasn't just me. But I can't help feeling at least a little responsible.
Dr. Balis: How so? You defended yourself...
Ms. Lippard: Well, it was a little more than that. I came down on her with both feet.
Dr. Balis: But it was her boss who suspended her. You gave him the facts; he made the decisions.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, but I didn't have to go to him. I could have spoken right to her, tried to smooth things over before it got out of hand...
Dr. Balis: Katherine, stop for a moment. Do you actually want to take the blame for Larraine's problems?
Ms. Lippard: Well...
Dr. Balis: Well? What happened between you and Larraine was a symptom, not a cause. Whatever's going on in her head started long before you entered the picture and would have progressed even if you had never met. You just happened to get caught up in her instability.
Ms. Lippard: Still, I did get her suspended...
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. She was told to stop. And she was insubordinate.
Dr. Balis: Yes, blatantly so. And you didn't push her to that. That was her own decision. Whatever compelled her to that behavior is her own issue. You weren't the cause, just a handy target.
Ms. Lippard: So if I wasn't around, she'd have found someone else to go off on.
Dr. Balis: Or some other way to cause herself trouble, yes. But you didn't push her over the edge; you had no way of even knowing she was on the edge.
Ms. Lippard: It was just my bad luck to be nearby when it happened. Hmm. Okay, I can accept that. I'd rather not feel guilty for that nut case anyway. Although, I suppose I could be a bit more sympathetic.
Dr. Balis: Perhaps. I'll bet Alex could use some.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I guess he could. Jeez, with a mom like that, no wonder he's disturbed. Oh, that sounded bad. What's the politically correct term for someone in therapy?
Dr. Balis: I believe it's "deranged."
Ms. Lippard: Thank you, that's helpful.
Dr. Balis: So are you okay about Larraine?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. I guess she'd have managed to land in the hospital eventually with or without me.
Dr. Balis: Most likely. What else is on your mind?
Ms. Lippard: Uh, we could talk about Jake.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Lippard: I love him.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Lippard: But we've become...well, kind of complacent.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Lippard: Well, we were sitting around the house the other day--I was watching Masterpiece Theater, he was reading--when I looked at him and I realized: we're comfortable. But that's all we are. We're a predictable, standardized, American couple. We have our own friends, though some of them overlap. We see each other several times a week, make love on the weekends, go to the movies, walk by the beach--and that's it. At parties, we split up as soon as we get there, mingle with different cliques, and hook up again to go home and have sex--though the sex is still wonderful. I think he goes to seminars on Wednesday afternoons or something--he's always coming up with new and exciting ideas. But where's the man I played frisbee with at the Mud Flats on our first date? Where's the little poems I used to find stuck to rose thorns outside my door? And for that matter, where's the star-struck girl who swooned at all those things? And here's something else: in the six months we've been dating, I've still never seen him laugh.
Dr. Balis: Does he smile?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, sure, he smiles. He'll even chuckle a little on occasion. And he has a sense of humor. But he never comes right out and laughs. It's kind of unnerving.
Dr. Balis: Maybe he's just reserved.
Ms. Lippard: Doctor Balis, this is the guy who sings at the top of his lungs while riding a motorcycle. He hang glides, he rock climbs, he schmoozes with the glitararti. I don't think "reserved" is quite the word.
Dr. Balis: Still, sometimes that behavior can be compensatory, designed to give the impression of self-confidence, covering up insecurity.
Ms. Lippard: That doesn't ring true at all. Jake's security is almost...arrogance. I've known him for six months now, I think I'd see if he was hiding anything. The truth is he's self-assured, confident, and outgoing. Jake has nothing to prove to anyone. That's part of why I'm with him, there's nothing fake there.
Dr. Balis: Okay. So the problem I'm hearing is that there's no excitement in the relationship.
Ms. Lippard: Right.
Dr. Balis: Do you love him?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: Do you enjoy his company?
Ms. Lippard: Usually. Yes.
Dr. Balis: Is there anything about him that makes you uncomfortable? Is he domineering, possessive, vulgar, prejudiced? Anything that you don't like?
Ms. Lippard: Well, he has his quirks. Everyone does. But there's nothing major like that, no.
Dr. Balis: So it's a good relationship that you're satisfied with, it just lacks excitement.
Ms. Lippard: Uh, yeah, I guess so.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, excitement takes doing. You have to create excitement. What do you like to do on a date?
Ms. Lippard: I don't know. I like plays and concerts, discussing museum exhibits.
Dr. Balis: But those are the things you just said you're bored with. What about exciting things?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I enjoyed riding the motorcycle. And the hang gliding was a lot of fun. And he said he'd take me kayaking when it got warm again.
Dr. Balis: Why don't you suggest some of those things?
Ms. Lippard: Well, it's winter now. None of that's very good in the cold.
Dr. Balis: So use your imagination. Katherine, you have to put excitement in your life, it doesn't just appear. And you can't count on someone else to provide it. I'm sure if you suggested one of those things to Jake, he would be interested.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I guess he would.
Dr. Balis: But you don't have to have him. If he doesn't want to do something you feel like doing, go alone. Or take some other friends.
Ms. Lippard: You're right. Why am I waiting around for Jake to provide the fun? I'm a grown woman; I can make these decisions.
Dr. Balis: Certainly.
Ms. Lippard: But I guess that's not all I miss.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Lippard: Uh, well, it's the romance. It's the courting. He doesn't bring me flowers anymore; he doesn't compose sonnets. It's that sort of thing.
Dr. Balis: Ah, yes. Do you do those things for him?
Ms. Lippard: Gee, I hadn't thought of that. Huh, interesting. What am I? Some Southern Belle waiting to be swept off her feet? Needing a man to do everything for me? I can do those things, too.
Dr. Balis: Sure you can. A relationship is a two-way street. And so is communication. Maybe you should bring up these issues with Jake and let him know how you feel. It could be that he doesn't realize you still appreciate those things.
Ms. Lippard: Hmm, could be.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I'm afraid our time's up for today. Keep doing the work you've been doing outside the office, it's been very productive. And I'll see you on the 28th, okay?
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Be ready to talk about Daddy.
Dr. Balis: I will be. Good night.
Ms. Lippard: Good night.
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