Transcript of 1st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Eliza Raven, Tuesday, February 11, 1997 at 12 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, I'm Dr. Balis. And you must be...
Ms. Raven: Eliza Raven. Hello Dr. Balis. I'm glad to make your acquaintance.
Dr. Balis: And I am glad to make yours. Will you please have a seat?
Ms. Raven: Oh yes, thank you.
Dr. Balis: I got a message from some man that you wanted to see me, but he wasn't very specific. So what would you like to talk about, Ms. Raven?
Ms. Raven: Please call me Eliza, or Liz if you prefer. I can talk about anything you wish.
Dr. Balis: Okay Eliza, why don't we start with why you're here?
Ms. Raven: Oh, well Luke called in the appointment. He said it was high time for me to see someone who can tell me what is wrong with me.
Dr. Balis: And Luke is...?
Ms. Raven: Luke's my fiancé. I didn't mean that I didn't want to come too. I wanted to. I've wanted to for a very long time. I just...couldn't get up the nerve to call.
Dr. Balis: You were nervous about calling me?
Ms. Raven: This is really embarrassing.
Dr. Balis: We can switch subjects if you like.
Ms. Raven: No, no, no. I'll talk. I guess I've always had this fear of calling someone for the first time. Like in high school, boys would give me their number, but I could never get up the nerve to call them. So I just gave them my number the next day and waited for them to call me. If they called me, then I could call them back. It's like that with the phone company, and other places that I owe money to. I just can't get up the nerve to call and make arrangements if I am going to be late on a payment. It's just so frustrating!
Dr. Balis: I can see how that would be frustrating. Here's some tissue if you need it.
Ms. Raven: No, no, no. I'll be okay. I just need to catch my breath.
Dr. Balis: We can wait until you're ready.
Ms. Raven: Okay, now I feel stupid. God! I am so stupid. It's not fair! Nobody else ever feels like this.
Dr. Balis: Actually, I know a lot of people who are apprehensive about calling people they don't know on the telephone. You don't need to feel stupid.
Ms. Raven: Thanks for being so nice to me and I appreciate your sympathy. But I just can't believe that you personally know anyone like me. I'm so screwed up.
Dr. Balis: I'd like to get to the root of those feelings.
Ms. Raven: I don't know where the root is.
Dr. Balis: We'll work together to get there, okay?
Ms. Raven: Sure. So you are on my side?
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Raven: Good. I feel so much better knowing that. I figured we'd end up talking about my mother; I never figured that I would disclose one of my biggest secrets.
Dr. Balis: Your apprehension on the telephone is a secret? Does your family know about it?
Ms. Raven: Yes. It's a very big secret. My family knows, and my fiancé Luke of course, but no one else. Luke doesn't understand it though. He gets very frustrated with me when I can't call someone. I get scared and he just makes it worse. He's not very sympathetic about it. Usually, he'll tell me I have to call someone, and then I'll start to get all panicky. And then he'll give me the "It's part of being an adult so why don't you grow up" speech. Usually I'll break down in tears and he'll just scowl at me and then make the call for me. Or I'll dial the number and then hang up when I get a voice on the line.
Dr. Balis: This sounds like a real problem for you. And your fiancé sounds like he's not very patient with you.
Ms. Raven: Oh no. Luke is an absolute angel. I love him so much. He's the kindest, gentlest, sweetest man I've ever known, next to my daddy. He's just trying to get me out of the old habits that restrict me. I don't think he's a very good teacher though. He's the "dive right in" sort, and it takes me awhile to build up the steam for it. It takes a lot of energy to try something new. But Luke is always concerned about me and how I feel. That's why he called in to make an appointment for me. He's such a dear.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like you care for him very much.
Ms. Raven: He's the only man I've ever loved, next to Daddy.
Dr. Balis: You're close to your father?
Ms. Raven: Daddy is such a neat guy! I wish he'd find someone, though. I can't stand to see him lonely. Right now my brother Isaac is staying with him, but Daddy needs a lady around.
Dr. Balis: And your mother?
Ms. Raven: Oh well, Mother remarried a couple years ago. She's happy. I'm glad for her.
Dr. Balis: You don't sound very glad.
Ms. Raven: There are a lot of things about Mother that I don't feel glad about.
Dr. Balis: How long have your parents been separated?
Ms. Raven: About ten years.
Dr. Balis: They separated when you were....
Ms. Raven: Ten.
Dr. Balis: Would you like to talk about that?
Ms. Raven: Sure, why the hell not? I'm going to be telling you every fucking thing else!
Dr. Balis: If this upsets you, we can talk about something else for now.
Ms. Raven: No, no, no. It's okay. I just really hate the way they split up. I'm extremely bitter about it.
Dr. Balis: That's to be expected.
Ms. Raven: I know. It's just that...well, why did she have to be such a bitch about it? She was so cruel to Daddy. She took everything that was important to him.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Raven: I don't know where to start. The beginning? Before they got married, Mom and Dad dated in high school. She was going to get a scholarship to an art school. Dad was a talented musician and actor and was well on his way to Juilliard. On their graduation night, Daddy proposed. Mom was the happiest woman on the planet. They were married two months later. Her parents were very wealthy. They liked Daddy and they paid for the whole thing. They pulled favors, and spent a lot of money on the wedding. I have one of Mom and Dad's wedding pictures in my wallet. Here.
Dr. Balis: They look...
Ms. Raven: Uncomfortable, I know. Mom and Dad wanted a very small wedding. Her parents would hear nothing of it. Ultimately, Mom and Dad eloped before the wedding, and had their own personal ceremony. Then they pretended not to be married for the week before the wedding. When they said their vows in front of all her parents' guests, they'd actually already been married a week.
Dr. Balis: That was rather brave of them.
Ms. Raven: Oh yes! It's rather romantic and dreamy. It wasn't going to last anyhow. A year later, they had Isaac--my grandparents named him. And nine months after Isaac, I was conceived. At first, Momma was happy that she could be a good mother and wife. But Daddy was unhappy. He had to refuse offers from Juilliard and other places so that he could get a real job and support his wife and children. But Dad made the sacrifice out of love. He never rubbed it in. He just approached it with love and maturity. And, like I said, Mom was happy at first. My earliest memory is of Mom and Dad sitting on the couch together and smiling. Everything was fine until I turned seven. Mom missed my birthday. She had an interview and completely forgot. Daddy made the cake and he and Isaac celebrated with me. I was crushed. Mom came home very late that night and I heard Daddy and Mother start to fight. I had never heard them argue before, so I scampered out of my bedroom. I pushed the door to their room open and saw Mother hitting Daddy. I screamed.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Raven: And then...and then...she grabbed my arm and led me back to my room. And she...she turned me over her knee and gave me a spanking. And she yelled at me and told me never to go in there again. I mean, how was I supposed to know? It was a new sound and it scared me. I never forgave her for that. I just remember crying, "Why Momma why?"
Dr. Balis: I can imagine that it was a traumatic experience.
Ms. Raven: Here I am thirteen years later, sobbing on a therapist's couch. How horrid.
Dr. Balis: There's no reason to be ashamed of childhood traumas having an effect in our adult lives. That's how we're built as human beings.
Ms. Raven: Oh I know. It's just weird for me.
Dr. Balis: What happened after the spanking?
Ms. Raven: Well, it just got worse after that day. Momma kicked Daddy out of the bedroom and he started sleeping on the couch. She started spending more and more time away. Isaac and I were left to take care of each other. Then, when I was nine, Momma left for good. She just didn't come home one day.
Dr. Balis: What then?
Ms. Raven: It was so good! Daddy made sure we were taken care of, and he started going to night school. He always spent weekends with us, we did family things, and what with Mother not being around, we could laugh again. So much tension was dispersed. Isaac and I picked up the things Mother used to do and pretty well took care of each other. Until Mother came back.
Dr. Balis: Did your father ever instigate a search for your mother?
Ms. Raven: What, do you think he was a heartless bastard? Of course he did! No leads, nothing. She just disappeared. We all knew she was alive and well, but we did have a little farewell ceremony for her. We each took something that we felt represented her and drove out to the countryside. Daddy brought a little sketch that she had drawn for him. Isaac brought one of his old baby bottles. I brought a hat pin.
Dr. Balis: A hat pin?
Ms. Raven: She had this big floppy straw hat; she always wore her hair up. She would keep the hat secure on her head with this big old fashioned Victorian hat pin. It was about a foot long with this big faceted crystal bead on the non-pointy end. It also had little tassels around the bead; they were made of little strings of pretty garnet and amethyst beads. It was her great grandmother's. She was going to give it to me when I was old enough, but I knew deep down that there was no way she'd ever part with it willingly. So we each brought these things with us to the country. Daddy found this place: there was a willow tree with its branches dipping into the little river nearby. So Daddy placed all of our items into a box and dug a really deep hole. He placed the box in the hole and covered it up. Then he had each of us explain why we chose the items that we brought, and each of us said a little prayer for her. Daddy cried a lot that day. Mother eventually did come back, but not for a year.
Dr. Balis: I think we covered a lot of important ground during this first session. I would like to see you again and continue exploring these feelings if you'd like.
Ms. Raven: I think I would like that.
Dr. Balis: Well, then how about next week at this same time?
Ms. Raven: Certainly, I will be here. And thank you so much.
Dr. Balis: You are quite welcome. And Ms. Raven?
Ms. Raven: Yes?
Dr. Balis: It might be helpful if you would consider keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings, or saving your doodles and sketches for me to look at. I don't need to read your journal if you don't want me too, but I would like to if you'd let me. I've found a journal to be a valuable tool for my patients to try to clarify their feelings.
Ms. Raven: Well okay. I can try.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week then. That's Tuesday, February 18th at noon.
Ms. Raven: That's fine.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Eliza.
Ms. Raven: Farewell good Doctor Balis.
Arrow, Left, Up & Out Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Eliza Raven's Transcripts Transcripts of Eliza Raven's Communications
Button to Eliza Raven's Patient File Eliza Raven's Patient File

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