Transcript of 19th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, September 24, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine. Have you had a good week?
Ms. Lippard: Good enough, I guess. Frank says most of the board is on my side--on his side, really--backing the choice he made. So that looks good.
Dr. Balis: That's good news. Must be a load off your mind.
Ms. Lippard: Yes. It is.
Dr. Balis: Oh? Then why are you frowning?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I'm still wondering if this is really what I want. But we'll cover that some other time.
Dr. Balis: Okay. What about your trip? Are you going to see your family?
Ms. Lippard: Yes, I am. We're leaving the morning of the ninth, coming back on the fourteenth. I'll want to catch up at the office, so I'll miss the fifteenth.
Dr. Balis: I'll make a note of it.
Ms. Lippard: And I'm making a list of things to talk to my mother about.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like a good idea. What do you have so far?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I haven't actually started yet. I know I want to ask about the money--why she kept the college funds secret. I mean I'm not mad, but I want to know her reasoning.
Dr. Balis: Uh huh.
Ms. Lippard: And Daddy, of course. I'm not sure yet just how I want to approach that.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure you'll come up with something. It sounds like you're giving this a lot of thought. Will you share your list with me when it's done?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. I could use your input.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Speaking of thinking things through, have you come up with anything more concrete about what's missing in your relationship with Jake?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, nice transition. You know, damnit, I can't really get anything concrete. I've thought about it a few times and I've watched my feelings while we were together. I still feel pretty good about him. I still enjoy spending time with him. He's nice to be with, and we have fun. And I'd rather spend time with Jake than not. The only thing I can come up with is that the magic is gone. God, that sounds so cliché. What I mean is the spark, the excitement when the phone rings, the tingly feeling when he looks at me. Could it just be that the newness has worn off?
Dr. Balis: That's possible. I remember you saying that you felt the novelty had faded and you were settling into the long-term, comfortable part of the relationship. You seemed okay with it then. Has something changed?
Ms. Lippard: Did I say that? I thought you did. Well, either way...I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, in fact. I kind of like it. I know he'll be there if I need him. I always have a date for the weekend. I don't have to go to functions unescorted. Jake fills a gap in my life that I've had for a long time. There's security in having a boyfriend--like knowing there's soup in the cupboard...
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: And I've told you the good stuff--we have fun; he's supportive and comfortable. Sure, he can be pushy at times, and we don't share all the same interests. But he can't be perfect, can he?
Dr. Balis: Yet you still feel something missing. The magic, the spark...
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. I wish I could put my finger on it.
Dr. Balis: You may already have. What you're describing, is this a new feeling? Like there was something there before and now it's gone? Or has there always been something missing in your feelings for Jake?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. I'm not sure. I know I was so blinded at first by the excitement, the newness, that I couldn't see anything wrong at all. I couldn't even see the incompatibilities; I thought he was totally perfect. It could have been missing all the time, and I can just now see it. Or...are you saying that it's the newness, the initial excitement that I feel missing?
Dr. Balis: It could be. Have you ever gotten past this point before in a relationship? Past the initial excitement and into the quiet, comfortable part?
Ms. Lippard: Ah, well, I don't think I've ever wanted to. I was headed that way with Andrew, but that was just a college thing--I wasn't looking for that to last years or anything.
Dr. Balis: Do you want your relationship with Jake to last a long time?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I would like to know that I could have a good, long-term relationship.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Katherine, are you still in love with Jake?
Ms. Lippard: That's a tough question. My first reaction is to say: "Yes, of course I am." But as I think about it, I wonder.
Dr. Balis: Why is that?
Ms. Lippard: Well, let's see. I trust him. I still don't have a problem telling him anything. His little habits don't really get on my nerves. I can forgive him all kinds of petty offenses, just because of how I feel about him. I do care about him--how he feels, whether he's happy. Although I won't sacrifice my happiness for his, I'd give my life for him. But then again, I'd do that for a lot of people--that's just how I am. I mean wouldn't you risk your life to save a drowning child? Even if it's a total stranger?
Dr. Balis: I think many people would.
Ms. Lippard: Of course. I'd throw myself in front of a bullet for Jake, but I'd probably do that for anyone I cared about. Does that mean I'm in love with everyone I feel anything for at all?
Dr. Balis: We'll get to that in a minute. What else?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. Okay. I don't get that giddy, schoolgirl anticipation when I think it's him on the phone or when I'm getting ready for our date. I'm much more matter-of-fact about it. I can look at him now without my heart filling up with affection. I can think about him without being overcome with desire. But he still doesn't get on my nerves, and I still look forward to seeing him. So what am I? Half in love?
Dr. Balis: Katherine, let's talk about love for a while. Not Jake, just the feeling. It has been medically shown that a person who is "in love"--someone showing all the schoolgirl giddiness you've described--has a neurotransmitter profile very much like someone experiencing a psychotic episode. That is the brain chemicals produced by classic romantic love--the head-over-heels out of control and blinded by passion kind of feeling that you'd experienced at the beginning of this relationship--are the same chemicals and in the same proportions as those that cause psychosis. Are you following me so far?
Ms. Lippard: So you mean that a woman in love is clinically insane?
Dr. Balis: No. There's a cause-and-effect difference. Psychosis is a purely physical problem caused by a chemical imbalance. In the case of love, the chemicals seem to be produced by the feeling. But the result is similar. You don't feel you have control of your thoughts and feelings, you view the world differently. This is why you are willing to ignore many negative impressions of your new lover, and why people get into relationships that are clearly bad for them. They are simply not processing the available evidence as they would under other circumstances.
Ms. Lippard: Is this relationship bad for me?
Dr. Balis: I didn't mean that at all. I'm merely trying to explain the difference in what you felt for Jake at the beginning and what you feel for him right now. You see, the psychosis-like love doesn't last. After a while, your brain simply can't support it for long--the neurotransmitter profile goes back to baseline, and reason takes over again.
Ms. Lippard: As seems to be happening with me. So if that's all there is to love, and it fades that fast, how do people stay married and in love for a lifetime? Are they faking it?
Dr. Balis: But that's not all there is to love. That's just the whirlwind, romantic love you see on TV and that you had with Jake in the beginning. Let's move to another love. Do you love Philip?
Ms. Lippard: Huh? Certainly.
Dr. Balis: Describe that. How is it different from what you feel for Jake?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I wouldn't sleep with my brother.
Dr. Balis: Aside from that.
Ms. Lippard: Well, it's comfortable. Caring. Compassionate. I'd give him anything I could, make him happy any way I could, just because that makes me feel good and just because he deserves it. It makes me happy to see him happy. Phil's one of those I'd take a bullet for, because I want to keep him safe. I'd rather see me hurt than him.
Dr. Balis: How is that different from what you feel for Jake?
Ms. Lippard: Well, it's not, really. I care for Jake. I get pleasure from seeing him happy. I'd rather not see him hurt--that would hurt me. But I'm not sure how far I would go with that. I mean I want to take care of myself, too.
Dr. Balis: And that's good. I sense you're doing a good job maintaining your sense of self, your individual identity with Jake.
Ms. Lippard: I am. I'm proud of that. I'm glad you noticed.
Dr. Balis: Good for you. So do you love Jake?
Ms. Lippard: I guess I do. Like I love Phil, but not as strong. Like I love children. But not like that psychosis thing, not like being in love. Oh no!
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lippard: Oh shit, Doctor Balis! I just realized this. I love Jake, but I'm not "in love" with him.
Dr. Balis: Why is that alarming?
Ms. Lippard: That's just what he said to me. That was what I was so upset about a few weeks ago. Damn. So he was right. All this time I've been off my rocker, and he's been in this much more sober, mature mind set.
Dr. Balis: I wouldn't say you've been off your rocker. You've kept a remarkably cool head on your shoulders for the level of experience you've had so far. You've taken your time, watched what you were doing, and didn't get in over your head. And you watched what you were feeling--a skill many people never develop.
Ms. Lippard: So I didn't do too bad?
Dr. Balis: Not at all. You did well. You're still doing well.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. So what do I do about Jake?
Dr. Balis: What do you want to do?
Ms. Lippard: Actually, I want that psychosis back. I kind of liked that.
Dr. Balis: Is that what you really want?
Ms. Lippard: No, not really. I want a mature, long-term, loving relationship with a man I can live with.
Dr. Balis: Do you see that potential here?
Ms. Lippard: Maybe. I guess I don't know yet. There's still more to learn about him.
Dr. Balis: Good. It can take months, even years to really get to know someone. But the payoff can be wonderful.
Ms. Lippard: Doctor Balis? Have you ever been married?
Dr. Balis: No, I haven't. Why do you ask?
Ms. Lippard: Then how do you know about the payoff?
Dr. Balis: I've seen it a few times. I hope to get it myself some day. And that's all the time we have for today, Katherine. See you next week?
Ms. Lippard: Sure.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye.
Ms. Lippard: Uh huh.
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