Transcript of 3rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Madeline Trent, Tuesday, September 8, 1998 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good morning, Madeline. Please come in.
Ms. Trent: I hope you like Starbucks coffee, Doctor Balis. I brought an extra cup for you.
Dr. Balis: Thank you. You didn't have to do that; I keep a pot available here for my patients.
Ms. Trent: No big deal, Doc. I stopped on my way here and just decided to pick one up for you as well.
Dr. Balis: Well, thank you. I appreciate it.
Ms. Trent: I hope everything was all right the last two weeks. You weren't sick, were you?
Dr. Balis: No. My dad was ill, and I flew out to see him. Thank you for asking. I'm sorry that I had to cancel our appointments. How have you been?
Ms. Trent: Sorry about your dad. As for me, it's been a bit tense lately. I've started working with some of the sales staff on promotional brochures for SII. We're on a tight deadline, but nobody knows what they want. That seems to be typical of the sales staff. I think that if I can pull this project off smoothly, I'll be looking at some special recognition. I really want to look good to my superiors and work at a promotion. Being Team Lead would only be the first step for me, though. I have some long term goals at SII.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Trent: The trick will be to complete this project without putting in too much overtime. I don't mind working until the job is done, and putting in the time necessary turn out an excellent product, but I worry about my daughter. I'm an advocate of working mothers, but it's not an easy undertaking.
Dr. Balis: You have a lot of responsibilities....
Ms. Trent: Sometimes, I look at my life now--my responsibilities, my commitments, my circumstances--and I'm amazed at who I've become. I've changed a lot over the past five or so years. When I was in college, I was very carefree and frivolous. After graduation, I started my career. I was a married woman. Suddenly, I realized that being an adult means being a responsible contributor to society. No one ever told me about that part. It used to be so easy--if I had a problem, I just picked up a phone and called my parents. Mommy and Daddy always took care of everything. Now, I am the Mommy. My responsibilities to Natalie are monumental, and I gladly accept them. But how can I teach and guide my daughter through life if I'm never there? I love the idea of staying home with my daughter until she is old enough for school, but that would mean a significant, financial, lifestyle change. It would also mean that once I did go back to work, I'd be starting from scratch again. So what is more important? Providing for my family financially or emotionally? I think both are necessary and crucial.
Dr. Balis: The key is to find a balance.
Ms. Trent: Is there a "How To" book for that? A "Life for Dummies?"
Dr. Balis: I don't think so. We need to work on managing your stress by finding ways for you to relax, appreciate life, and change the stressful situations into exhilarating ones. That will help you find that balance. Let's take a look at the stress factors in your life right now.
Ms. Trent: The trial is looming out there.
Dr. Balis: What about the small things that frazzle you? Can you eliminate them or change your attitude towards them? Can you let go and not control some of the everyday aspects of your work and family life? By eliminating the smaller stresses, you'll be able to focus better on the larger issues at hand.
Ms. Trent: Hmm. That does sound like a good strategy. If I'll combine that with easy relaxation techniques, I could be on the road to Wellville!
Dr. Balis: Very few emotional things have a quick fix, Madeline. Some of the smaller issues in your life can sometimes be resolved with simple organization. But little by little, you'll have to start working on the larger issues as well. And that will be hard work.
Ms. Trent: The small issues, hmm? I'm a stickler for time management. I track my workload at work, and I'm always on top of it. I used to not worry about home stuff too much, but since Natalie arrived, things have been so hectic. I think that having a written time schedule would help both me and Jesse to know how to plan our days. I'll suggest it to him. It would be an easy way to alleviate some of my smaller worries, and it would put my mind at ease while I'm at work. I worry about Jesse playing Mr. Mom all day. A tangible schedule would also help me maximize my time with Natalie. This will sound silly, but sometimes I get so jealous of Jesse. He gets the whole day with Natalie. I'm so afraid of missing out on her life. I don't want to be there the thirteenth time she walks or talks, I want to be there the first time. Oh, speaking of motherhood, my mother called me yesterday at the office.
Dr. Balis: Is that unusual?
Ms. Trent: She calls me at home; she knows I'm busy when I'm at work.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Trent: My parents have a very different outlook on life than Jesse and I do. They are very religious, very old-fashioned, very set in their ways. They are also rather disapproving of Jesse. He's not perfect, but then who is? He's a good man, and I love him. It seems that nothing he does is ever the "right thing" as far as my parents are concerned. They have always insinuated that I should leave Jesse and move back home with them. After the rape, they were adamant that Jesse couldn't take care of me and that I needed someone better. Now that we have Natalie, they seem to find a million ways to tear at Jesse: he's not a good father; he should be supporting his family; he should give up his scooter; he should grow up; blah blah blah. I get so sick of defending him to my parents.
Dr. Balis: It must be difficult to hear your family berate your husband.
Ms. Trent: I've tried to distance myself from them as much as possible, partly to protect Jesse and partly to keep from screaming at them. But as much as they get on my nerves, I do love them. I do better when I experience my parents in small doses. Jesse knows they don't like him, but he tries to make the best of it. I don't think he has ever been disrespectful to my parents. I really admire him for being able to deal with it so gracefully and with such dignity. Even when they lash out at him, he handles it well. When it's too much for him, he goes out for a drive until he can deal with them civilly. I really respect him for being able to do that. Actually, his parents aren't too keen on me either. And I usually end up speaking my mind when they get snide with me. I really don't understand how my parents can be so vindictive towards Jesse and yet sit in church every week as "Good Christians." They know it hurts me when they disparage Jesse, but they just won't let up.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Trent: But back to the phone call, it was yet another futile attempt to woo me away from San Francisco and Jesse.
Dr. Balis: Do you want to go back to St. Louis?
Ms. Trent: Go back? No. My parents would be insufferable. And aside from that, I really do like living in San Francisco. It's a bit lonely, but it's nice.
Dr. Balis: Lonely?
Ms. Trent: I haven't made very many friends here...outside of the Rape Crisis Center, that is. And lately, I've tried to distance myself from them somewhat. Immediately following the rape, my friends at the center were like a warm, safe blanket enveloping me. They welcomed me, supported me, and comforted me. They understood me in ways that no one else could. Because they were rape victims as well, they truly understood my feelings. But somewhere along the way, though, my perception of them had changed.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Trent: They all seem so bitter and hateful. They see all men as the enemy because one man violated them. Sometimes, I think they revel in being victims.
Dr. Balis: What about you?
Ms. Trent: A victim? Hmm, in the literal sense, yes, I am a victim. I was the target of a violent crime. However, I don't allow the rape to continuously victimize me.
Dr. Balis: Can you talk more about that?
Ms. Trent: It's a matter of moving past what happened, taking all that ugliness and putting it behind me, letting go of it and moving forward with my life. Giving birth to Natalie has helped me with that greatly. The moment Natalie was born, it was like all the darkness was chased away by the light of her smile. She has given me such happiness. I feel like a complete woman because of her. And Jesse has been very supportive. He didn't like my friends from the Center, but he seemed to understand that they were able to offer me support in ways that he couldn't. Even though he doesn't really understand what a nightmare the whole affair was, he has tried hard to show me his love and help me as much as he can. I know I was rough on him after the rape; I was so horrid to him. I had so much anger and fear, and I took it out on him. I had to get past that. I had to move forward and stop the pain. If I were to continuously dwell on the rape, on how scared I was, on how traumatic it was, on all of that chaos, I would be perpetually victimizing myself.
Dr. Balis: I see. Do you think that the trial will help or impair your healing?
Ms. Trent: I really don't know. It's certainly bringing back to the surface the fears and insecurities that I thought were gone. I feel out of control again, scared, even dirty. All the ugliness is coming back, and it's making it difficult for me to function normally. I've noticed that I'm jumpy at work and have little patience with people. It took me a while to rid myself of the urge to shower every half hour. I don't want to go back to that. I need to focus on my daughter and on work. The more I talk about what happened, the worse my fears become. If I can just get through the trial without reliving that night, I think I'll be okay.
Dr. Balis: It will be hard to live through the trial. But I think you need to prepare yourself for describing the events of that day in front of a judge, a jury, and the...
Ms. Trent: I know, I know. But my understanding is that as a hostile witness, I will only be able to give a "yes" or a "no" answers when questioned.
Dr. Balis: Madeline, did your lawyer discuss with you what if any of your private life will be discussed during the trial? Will they be able to ask you very personal questions?
Ms. Trent: That's just in the movies, Doctor Balis. They won't try to infer that I sleep around and dress like a hooker. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I still think you should ask your attorney about the extent of your questioning. Next week, why don't we explore this a bit further, all right?
Ms. Trent: Our time is up already? Yes, let's discuss this next week.
Dr. Balis: Good. Enjoy your weekend, Madeline.
Ms. Trent: And you, Doctor Balis. Goodbye.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Madeline Trent's Transcripts Transcripts of Madeline Trent's Communications
Button to Jesse Trent's Patient File Jesse Trent's Patient File
Button to Madeline Trent's Patient File Madeline Trent's Patient File

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