Transcript of 3rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, May 7, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Ms. Lippard. Come in.
Ms. Lippard: Hi. Um...I don't know where to begin. I'm kind of embarrassed.
Dr. Balis: Why is that? Because you called me after hours? I assure you that's not a problem; that's why I have the service.
Ms. Lippard: Well, thanks, but it's more than that. Like I've been holding back. I mean, I know you're a therapist, and anything I say stops here. And I know this won't work unless I open up and tell you what's really going on. But that's really hard to do. It's goes against my nature. I've spent so much time being the consummate professional--calm, strong, organized. It's like that's all there is now. I'm a grown woman, damn it. I own a home. I manage a staff. I should be able to say what's on my mind! But no, I come in here, ready to talk, prepared to just spill my guts...and then I can't. I keep playing the cool professional--got it all together, wasting my time and yours. Hell, I played it so well, I even fooled you, who's trained to see through that crap! Even fooled myself. Almost.
Dr. Balis: But not entirely.
Ms. Lippard: No, not entirely. I was stunned when you cut me off last week. First I was happy to know I was basically okay, but then I was cursing myself because I'm not okay and I couldn't say it. And I had blown my chance with you.
Dr. Balis: I wouldn't...
Ms. Lippard: No, no, I know that. You said I could call if I needed to, I know that. I knew it then. But I wasn't dealing with facts and logic at that point. That's another thing that embarrasses me; reason didn't enter into it. Despite the truth, I got all worked up. I...oh, this isn't coming out right.
Dr. Balis: Go on. I think you're doing fine.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, let's see. So I'm embarrassed that I kept playing the professional in here where that's not necessary. I'm embarrassed that I couldn't do what I came here to do. And I'm embarrassed that I lost my cool, that I was drinking and smoking and feeling sorry for myself. And that I called your office drunk and pissed.
Dr. Balis: That's...
Ms. Lippard: So I'm embarrassed that I kept my cool, and I'm ashamed that I lost it. Isn't that something? I can't win either way.
Dr. Balis: It sounds...
Ms. Lippard: You know something? I was fully prepared to duck you forever. I was ready to keep making excuses, tell you I was okay, go back into my professional mode, and resign myself to misery and loneliness for the rest of my life. God, what a loser.
Dr. Balis: So what changed your mind?
Ms. Lippard: Phil. It's always Phil. That boy loves me so much, it's just amazing. He was with me Thursday, egging me on to call you. And then he came to the office Monday, to make sure I called back like I promised. Came to my office! In the three years we've lived here, Philip's never come to my office. He...uh, how did he put it? He "disdains the corporate culture." But he came Monday, not to force me to do something I didn't want to, but to make sure I did what I knew was right. I swear, that boy would walk through fire just to get me out of a parking ticket.
Dr. Balis: That...
Ms. Lippard: I guess the tables have really turned, haven't they? Now he's taking care of me. You want to hear Phil's take on all of this?
Dr. Balis: Sure.
Ms. Lippard: He says the organizing, the cleaning, the hoarding, the lists--all that...he says it's not about those things. "Control," he says. I'm a control freak. And you know what? He may be right. I'm okay as long as things go as planned. My plan. It's when things change--something happens that I didn't predict--that I lose it. And then I get mad that I lost my cool! Because then I'm not in control of the situation, but more importantly, of myself. What do you think of that? Make sense?
Dr. Balis: It would seem to fit with what you've told me so far.
Ms. Lippard: So there it is. At last. After two weeks, two packs of cigarettes, two phone calls, two hours and...damn...thirty minutes of therapy? Finally, I got something out that we can work with. Wow. I feel kind of...relieved. It's like, that's a success in itself.
Dr. Balis: It is a success. The first few steps are usually the hardest. You should be proud.
Ms. Lippard: Hey, cool. You mean this is progress?
Dr. Balis: Absolutely.
Ms. Lippard: So what now?
Dr. Balis: Now the real work starts. You've established that control, particularly self-control, is a major issue for you. If we can find out why, how this developed such importance in your mind, we can work to relieve that. But you should be prepared to find out that control may not be the central issue.
Ms. Lippard: You mean the way the orderliness is not the real problem, but control is? Are you saying control is not the real problem, either?
Dr. Balis: Demanding control and insisting on self-control isn't necessarily a crippling problem by itself. There are lots of people who use it as a positive tool in their lives. The problem arises when issues of control cause unhappiness to a person and to the people around her.
Ms. Lippard: I'm very unhappy, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Then we should work on these issues.
Ms. Lippard: How deep does this go?
Dr. Balis: That's something we'll have to find out in time. And it will take time. Just as it took time and effort for you to get to this point, the process of therapy happens in fits and starts. Is this important enough to you to make that effort?
Ms. Lippard: Yes. Yes it is. I can do this. Hell, I made myself the successful woman I am today, and that wasn't easy; certainly I can do the same thing with my personal life.
Dr. Balis: That's a good attitude. There is an element to therapy that is almost like work. You have a strong work ethic.
Ms. Lippard: So, I know we've just gotten started, but what's my prognosis?
Dr. Balis: I'd say pretty good. You're insightful and open, you're able to figure out what's on your mind and then express it, and you obviously have the intelligence to be able to assimilate the insights that you gain here into the rest of your life.
Ms. Lippard: What about medication?
Dr. Balis: I don't think medication would be appropriate in your case. If you are having difficulty sleeping or if you exhibit some other symptoms, that may change, but right now I think that we'll do better with some relaxation and refocusing techniques that I can show you.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, no meds. What about a time frame? How long should this take?
Dr. Balis: It's impossible to say. It's only our third session. You can always let me know if you feel that it isn't working for you. Ms. Lippard, may I point out that you're acting like the consummate professional again? You're turning therapy into a project with schedules and deadlines. Did you notice yourself change?
Ms. Lippard: Oh my, I guess I did. Sorry. I guess I need some practice.
Dr. Balis: It will take some practice. You've been in that role for a long time. And there's a place where it's appropriate, of course. I just want you to know I'll call you on it if it seems necessary.
Ms. Lippard: Of course. That's your job, right?
Dr. Balis: Exactly. Well, I think you've made a wonderful first step today. Can I count on seeing you at this same time next week?
Ms. Lippard: I don't know. Frank's got me working on this cockeyed scheme for Major, and my responsibilities seem to be changing at work, and...what? What's that look for? Oh, man, that's not the way to do this, is it? Okay, yes! I'll see you next Wednesday at four. And you may as well block out the same time for me every week. I'll work something out at the office. Like Phil says, "Fuck work, this is more fun!"
Dr. Balis: Very good. I'm proud of you. See you next week.
Ms. Lippard: And the week after that, and the week after that, and the...
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Katherine Lippard's Transcripts Transcripts of Katherine Lippard's Communications
Button to Katherine Lippard's Patient File Katherine Lippard's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1997. All Rights Reserved.