Transcript of 37th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, March 11, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine. How are you today?
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Got some stuff on my mind.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Go ahead.
Ms. Lippard: Alex. You know, I've noticed that I talk about Alex a lot in here. Does that bother you at all?
Dr. Balis: No. Why would it?
Ms. Lippard: Well, he's your patient, too, after all. I'm just wondering if I tell you stuff about him that he doesn't mention. Would that put you in an uncomfortable position?
Dr. Balis: Not really. What we deal with in here is about you. When I talk with Alex, we deal with what he brings up. You're two different patients, and I don't have much trouble keeping you separated in my mind.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, good. That answers my other question, too.
Dr. Balis: Which is?
Ms. Lippard: Do you ever feel like you're doing his therapy through me?
Dr. Balis: I don't think you're doing therapy with Alex. Are you?
Ms. Lippard: No, certainly not. I'm not even remotely qualified. I just wonder if you feel like I'm interfering in some way.
Dr. Balis: No. I don't get that impression at all.
Ms. Lippard: Good. What about me? Am I wasting time in here talking about Alex when I could be talking about my own stuff? My father, for instance?
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about that?
Ms. Lippard: Sometimes, I wonder. That's why I asked.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I've only heard you talk about Alex in reference to something that was bothering you. When you stop talking about your issues and start talking about his, it might be time to redirect. But if there's something that concerns you, which also happens to involve Alex, that's fine. He's your friend and is as much a part of your life as Jake or Phil. You can't avoid that part of your life in therapy just because he happens to also be a patient of mine.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Thanks. That makes me feel better.
Dr. Balis: Good. Now, what's on your mind?
Ms. Lippard: Alex. Or rather Jake. Hold on, let me start at the beginning. I told Alex that Jake had bought his paintings and what he had done with them. His reaction was about what you'd expect. I tried to calm him down and to explain that Jake has a good eye for art and must really appreciate Alex's work to spend his own money on it--you know how tight Jake is. But I'm not sure Alex bought any of it. Alex is a pretty bright kid, and he has a lot of experience for his seventeen years. Finally, he calmed down, but he might have just been humoring me. That was last weekend. I saw Jake yesterday, and he didn't say anything about this. So I guess Alex hasn't confronted him. But I feel like I'm keeping a secret, you know?
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Lippard: Well, Jake is still telling Alex that an anonymous buyer bought his work, but I told him otherwise. Now Jake's in the dark, not knowing that Alex knows. Should I tell him? But that might put more of a rift in our relationship. On the other hand, when he finds out, that might cause problems, too. And, like sands through the hourglass, these are the Days of Our Lives.
Dr. Balis: It's an interesting predicament. You've moved from one tight spot--keeping Jake's secret from Alex--to another--keeping Alex's secret from Jake.
Ms. Lippard: This sucks. Fuck it. I'm telling Jake tonight. I don't want to be keeping secrets. They're big boys; they can work it out themselves.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like a good philosophy.
Ms. Lippard: You know, I want to protect them both. But I just can't be responsible for both their feelings. I have enough trouble handling my own.
Dr. Balis: You're right. You're not responsible for their feelings. And, in the same breath, they are not responsible for yours.
Ms. Lippard: Good. I don't want them to be. But speaking of that, I do think I handled a touchy situation very well this weekend.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like you did okay.
Ms. Lippard: No, no, I'm talking about another situation. When I took Alex home from the Alliance--he loved it, by the way--there was a process server on his doorstep.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. He had a summons for Alex to testify in a criminal trial. If Alex doesn't talk about this, are you going to feel like he's keeping secrets from you?
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I assure you, what is said between us stays between us. It will not affect how I deal with Alex. This conversation is about you, and I will not apply it to my treatment of Alex.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Sorry, I know you said that already. So the upshot is that he was very upset about the summons. So we talked for a while. And he explained his feelings, and we hashed them over some, and it felt really good. I felt bad about the turmoil he was in, but I felt good that he could confide in me and that I could handle it so well. I didn't try to guess his feelings, I didn't lecture him about doing the right thing. When he asked my opinion, I gave it to him knowing he wouldn't agree. But he accepted it as my opinion and not as an order, and we talked about it. It was great.
Dr. Balis: You're a good friend to Alex. You can be proud of that.
Ms. Lippard: I am. I am proud. But I'm more proud that he trusts me. He talked to me without hesitation, without fear, and he was totally open. And it was easy. I was just being me. All the time I've known Alex, I've just been me. I wasn't trying to be any way in particular. He just likes me the way I happen to be. And his friends like me. And at the Alliance, I talked to several teenagers and had no trouble carrying on a conversation. And they didn't seem to mind that I was twice their age. We related. How do you like that? I relate to the next generation. Without trying. I can use that.
Dr. Balis: You can use that? How?
Ms. Lippard: Just how I've been saying--working with youth through art. If I can help kids to trust just a little bit, and help them to express themselves just a little, and help them feel better about themselves...I don't know, the world will be a better place. At least some people will be happier, more at peace. That has to be a good thing.
Dr. Balis: Certainly. But what about you?
Ms. Lippard: What do you mean?
Dr. Balis: You've described how others will feel better. How will you feel?
Ms. Lippard: I'll feel useful, like I make a difference. Now, I make money. I make people rich. Take this project I'm working on now, it'll make things easier for a lot of people in this society. But I'm not involved with that part of it. My part is to use it to make a few people richer. Not that that's a bad thing. I finally found a way to get some personal satisfaction out of that. The wealth I help create provides security. That's why I'm so pleased with the job I did on the pension fund; even if Social Security goes down the tubes, no one who retires from SII will have to worry about their next meal. I've seen to that, and I'll continue to see to it.
Dr. Balis: So helping other people out and helping society as a whole gives you a personal feeling of satisfaction?
Ms. Lippard: Yes, exactly. I feel good about it. It makes me feel worthwhile.
Dr. Balis: Do you have any feeling of obligation? Do you feel like you have to take care of other people?
Ms. Lippard: Huh? No. I have to take care of myself. I'm not taking care of any one else. That's why I'm not keeping Alex's secret. And that's why I didn't keep Jake's secret. I like to help, that's all. I don't want to carry these kids. I just want to give them a little boost so they can carry themselves. I get a personal feeling of satisfaction from that.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I think that's wonderful. I'm very pleased to hear that you've found a purpose that satisfies you.
Ms. Lippard: You think I'm headed the right way?
Dr. Balis: Absolutely. I think what you want to do is a wonderful, useful thing. And I think your motivations are sound. You should be proud.
Ms. Lippard: Do you think daddy would be proud of me?
Dr. Balis: I'm sure he would be.
Ms. Lippard: I can't wait to tell Phil. I told him I saw the place, but he hasn't been down there yet. And I haven't told him I intend to become involved. I think he'll be proud, too.
Dr. Balis: Is that important to you? Your brother's and your father's approvals?
Ms. Lippard: Well, yeah, they are. I'd do it even if they didn't approve, because I know it's right and it's what I want to do. But I feel better knowing they'll be proud of me, too. Doesn't everyone want approval? Particularly from their fathers?
Dr. Balis: Certainly. It's just that some people are motivated purely by that to the exclusion of what they want for themselves.
Ms. Lippard: Not me. I've been taking care of myself for too long. I took care of me and my little brother from when daddy left until...well, until Phil moved to Charleston, I guess. Until he didn't need me any more. I guess I told you Mama pretty much took care of Joey and left me and Phil on our own. Emotionally, I mean.
Dr. Balis: Yes, you talked about that.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, well, I'm through being responsible for other people. Until I have kids, at least. Unless, I mean. Unless I have kids.
Dr. Balis: Is that something you want?
Ms. Lippard: I've thought about it. There's some appeal there. I'll have to think about it some more. Of course, I'd want to be married first. Not that I'm old-fashioned, just that I think a child should have two parents. One doesn't leave you well-rounded enough. Neither does the half-parent that I had. I don't want a fucked-up kid, you know? My parents divorced, so did Jake's. I don't think Alex's were ever married. And look at us. I want my child to grow up well adjusted and sure of himself. Like Phil.
Dr. Balis: But Phil had the same parents you did.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, then he's the exception. How did we start talking about this, anyway? I'm talking like I've already decided. I haven't.
Dr. Balis: I think it bears some discussion. Obviously, you've given it some thought.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, and I'm not done thinking. But now's not really the time.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Lippard: Well, it's almost five. Oh, hey, I wanted to ask: how can I have more dreams?
Dr. Balis: More? Why do you want more dreams?
Ms. Lippard: Not more, maybe, but clearer. I think something's happening in my dreams. Maybe the ravens are bringing me dreams, I don't know. But I can't remember them. I just get vague images--flying, an airplane, the ravens, and, for some reason, Christmas cookies. I wake up thinking I'm smelling Christmas cookies.
Dr. Balis: That's interesting.
Ms. Lippard: So I was wondering if maybe you have some ideas on how to have more vivid, more rememberable dreams. Rememberable? Memorable? Easier to remember, I mean.
Dr. Balis: I understand. Let me think on that a minute. Are you having any trouble sleeping? When you fall asleep, are you staying asleep?
Ms. Lippard: No. My sleep is fine.
Dr. Balis: Are the dreams disturbing?
Ms. Lippard: No. I just want to remember them. I think there may be something there.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Try this. Go to bed with a purpose in mind: "Tonight, I will remember one dream." Don't worry about which one at first, just work on that. Give it a few nights. If that works, you can move on to more dreams per night or to dreaming specific ones. Also, keep a paper and pen by the bed. If you wake up at night from a dream, write it down right away or you're likely to forget it by morning. The same thing in the morning. When you wake up, ask yourself if you remember any dreams and write them down immediately before you even get up.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Thanks, I'll try that.
Dr. Balis: I'd be interested to hear any dreams you do remember, if you want to share them with me.
Ms. Lippard: I'll probably do that. Brush up on your Freud, Doc, you may have some interpretation to do.
Dr. Balis: I will. See you next week, Katherine. Good luck.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. See you.
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