Transcript of 43rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Lippard, Wednesday, April 22, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Good afternoon, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: I brought you something.
Dr. Balis: This is interesting.
Ms. Lippard: The pyramid represents focus and power. And look what's inside.
Dr. Balis: Yin and Yang.
Ms. Lippard: Balance and harmony. I think this is a pretty good representation of what you're about and also of what I'm about--what I'm trying to do here.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, Katherine. I have just the place for this.
Ms. Lippard: I like that there. Obvious, yet unobtrusive.
Dr. Balis: Yes. Thank you again. So, what's on your mind this week?
Ms. Lippard: I think I've settled a few things. Now that all the hullabaloo has died down at the office, I've had time to think about the dreams.
Dr. Balis: And what have you come up with?
Ms. Lippard: That I'm right. Assuming that everything in the dreams came from myself, I'm right. I like what I do. I work hard on my plans, and it's satisfying to see them come to fruition. I saw my pension plan described in the papers as the envy of the industry. I'm proud of that. Something I did is held up as the best in the business. So I'm not a social worker or a lobbyist for Amnesty International. The creation of wealth has value, too. I'm good at what I do, I'm proud of it, and I enjoy it. What people do with the wealth I help create is their business.
Dr. Balis: Certainly. And what you choose to do with your own wealth is your business.
Ms. Lippard: Right. So I'm comfortable with my job; I'm keeping it. Do what you're good at and don't worry about what other people think.
Dr. Balis: Good.
Ms. Lippard: I still want to do something more, though. I'm staying with the Arts Alliance and Social Venture Partners. And I'm thinking about Junior Achievement, if I can find the time. I'm really coming into my own. I'm fleshing out, doing things that I enjoy and that gives me a good feeling about myself. I wish I had started this years ago. It would have made the corporate climb much more fun. Then again, I think I'm able to do all of this now because I'm not climbing any more. I'm as high as I want to go. Now it's time to see what else is out there.
Dr. Balis: I think that's true. And it could also be that reaching the top is what triggered this spiritual crisis in the first place.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, like, "Where do I go from here?"
Dr. Balis: Exactly.
Ms. Lippard: That's settled then--no major lifestyle changes. So what if people call me a "limousine liberal?" My heart is in the right place. And Daddy would say, "Follow your heart."
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Something else on your mind?
Ms. Lippard: I talked to Mama.
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Lippard: She said there was no problem with her marriage before Daddy left. She would have gone to the ends of the earth for that man. It's like the way I feel about Philip only, you know, romantically.
Dr. Balis: I understand.
Ms. Lippard: They weren't fighting. There were no issues. She didn't like being away from her family. But other than that, things were great. So said Mama.
Dr. Balis: You don't believe that?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, I do. And that's just it. It's the part of the dream I can't reconcile. I remember it clearly: he said they were headed for trouble anyway. The only thing I can figure is he was tired of being worshipped.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Lippard: It's too much of a good thing, you know? No dissension, no arguments. And no excitement. A person must get tired of being perfect all the time. I wonder if a king grows contemptuous of his adoring subjects, knowing that he's just a man like the rest of them, knowing they're too dense to realize that the only thing that makes him better than them is the coincidence of his name and the privilege of his education.
Dr. Balis: Do you believe your father grew tired of his family because he felt their love for him was misplaced?
Ms. Lippard: Well, not misplaced, exactly. Tedious. Overwhelming, maybe.
Dr. Balis: I see. What led you to this conclusion?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, it's not a conclusion. It's more of a hypothesis.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, I'm going to suggest something you may not like.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. I'm ready.
Dr. Balis: What do you think is the chance that your mind invented this impending trouble between your parents in order to exonerate your father?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. Do you mean that I'm choosing to view his leaving as inevitable in order to avoid blaming him for what was clearly his option?
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Lippard: That's a possibility, I guess. It would fit in with the way we've been viewing this dream.
Dr. Balis: Yes, it would.
Ms. Lippard: Well, that makes sense. But the point is moot, anyway. It's too late for blame.
Dr. Balis: Is it?
Ms. Lippard: Certainly. None of this is really about him, is it? It's about me. Laying blame will get me nowhere; I have to deal with what I have now, in the present.
Dr. Balis: That's correct. It's good that you can recognize that.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you. So, I'm thinking: I'm about through, huh?
Dr. Balis: Through? With what?
Ms. Lippard: Therapy.
Dr. Balis: What makes you say so?
Ms. Lippard: I'm pretty well settled now. My neurosis about having everything in order is gone. I don't even have many patterns any more. Ha! When I think about how boringly structured my life was when I came in here, I'm amazed I didn't do this a long time ago. I'm really out of my shell. I go out, I do things on impulse, I change frequently. I'm not afraid to try new things, meet new people. A year ago, I would never have been able to befriend Alex, or work with the Alliance, or even take a walk with Andrew. Oh, I didn't tell you about that, did I?
Dr. Balis: No.
Ms. Lippard: Andrew's been taking me places I didn't know existed around here. I live only a couple of miles away, and I spend most of my time here in the financial district. I hadn't explored the western part of the city at all. It's amazing--there are walking trails there where you can't even hear the traffic, much less see it. So, we've been getting to know each other. I think he's a little flaky, but at least he's intelligent and knowledgeable--which are different things. And maybe I can have a casual relationship with this man.
Dr. Balis: Uh huh.
Ms. Lippard: So I invited him over one night, and it was clear what I had in mind. And he accepted, we made plans. Then just before we got ready to go to my house, he casually mentioned, "You do know I'm married, don't you?"
Dr. Balis: Did you?
Ms. Lippard: No! I wouldn't have asked him if I had. Good god, I'm enjoying being a free spirit and all, but I'm not an adulteress.
Dr. Balis: Good.
Ms. Lippard: He didn't think it was any big deal. Apparently, those professor types do this all the time. He said he was very much in love with his wife and wouldn't jeopardize his marriage for anything. But don't you think sleeping with another woman would tend to strain a marriage?
Dr. Balis: It usually does.
Ms. Lippard: He felt that if she didn't know, it wasn't a problem. But he understood my point of view, too. We discussed it rather than argued. So we're still friends. In fact, I'm going to meet his wife.
Dr. Balis: Are you comfortable with that?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. I haven't done anything. And I won't give him away. What he does in his marriage is his problem; I'm not involved. I enjoy his company, and if I like his wife too, so much the better. Maybe I can go to some faculty parties and have some really deep, stimulating debates.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, this is certainly a more liberal outlook than I would have expected from you just a few months ago.
Ms. Lippard: Yes, so back to business. It is, isn't it? I'm proud of that. I'm relaxing, I'm going with the flow. I feel good about myself, Doctor Balis. I'm a fine person, doing a fine job, exercising my soul and my intellect, and having fun at the same time. I work to better my community on several fronts, and I answer to nobody. Here it is in a nutshell: I'm relaxed and okay with myself, and I'm not concerned about other people's approval. As I see it, those were my two big issues, and now they're resolved.
Dr. Balis: Are those your only issues?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. I was uptight and didn't like myself. I was concerned with seeking approval for my actions to the point where I was ready to throw away my whole life. But I'm better now. What am I missing?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. And what about your father?
Ms. Lippard: I don't need him any more. I gave myself his approval--that was the dream. And if the dream really was him, then he gave me his approval. Either way, it's not an issue any more.
Dr. Balis: But this doesn't change the fact that he left you.
Ms. Lippard: No, it doesn't. So what? I don't hate him, and I don't resent him for that. I don't blame him. I understand. And I forgive him.
Dr. Balis: And so the whole issue just goes away? Is there any pain left from that?
Ms. Lippard: Sure there is. Of course there is. Don't you remember the conversation we had about grief? It's going to hurt for as long as it does, until I get over it. That's natural. I understand that, too.
Dr. Balis: Okay. But I'd like to talk about this some more. Let's meet again. We can carefully evaluate your progress next time and see where that leaves us. Okay?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. Who knows, maybe we'll come up with something?
Dr. Balis: Maybe we will. Next week, then?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. See you then.
Dr. Balis: Good night, Katherine.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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