Transcript of 10th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Olivia Stillwell, Monday, March 30, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Stillwell: Hi, Doc.
Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Olivia. It's good to see you today. I'm sorry you had to cancel your last session.
Ms. Stillwell: Good to see you, too. Yes, sorry about that. I had an opportunity to take a few days off and get away from the city life, so I took advantage of it. It was really relaxing.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad.
Ms. Stillwell: My father had booked a few cabins for a weekend excursion with some of the executives from Stillwell Enterprises. It's the type of excursion where executives can get away from the office and family, drink beer, and do manly things on the company tab. Male bonding, I suppose. Unfortunately for them, a big proposal came in, and they had to cancel their trip. They couldn't get a refund on the cabins on such short notice. So Phyllis, dad's secretary, called me and asked if I wanted to use a cabin for an extended weekend. And I was more than willing to relieve them of their burden! Sherman and I had a blast!
Dr. Balis: Lake Tahoe?
Ms. Stillwell: Yeah! God was it fabulous! The snow was just gorgeous. A snowboard camp had just finished the day before I got there, so a lot of people from the camp hung around for the weekend to practice and goof off. I've never snowboarded in my life, but it was so cool to watch some of those guys clown around. You could tell who the serious ones were--you know, the fanatics--and who the vacationers were. Mmm! I just want to hug myself when I think about how much fun it was! I met some really great people, too.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Stillwell: Yeah, this one guy...what a dream! Oh, jeez! That sounded so fifties. But when I looked into his blue eyes, I just wanted to melt. There are beautiful people in this world, and he's one of them. Jordan and I had dinner together a few times. It was so nice to have someone be so considerate and attentive to me. Most guys are like an octopus with tentacles that just want to flail about attacking wherever they can and clinging like a leech. Uh, no offense, Doc.
Dr. Balis: None taken, Olivia.
Ms. Stillwell: I guess I'm a prude that way, but I've never felt comfortable being that...uh, accommodating.
Dr. Balis: Have you dated much?
Ms. Stillwell: No, I've never really been too attracted to anyone in particular. There have been guys that I considered handsome or cute, but none of them really completely appealed to me. Besides, I was too busy earning good grades for my father.
Dr. Balis: How was your social life in college? I believe you mentioned previously that you opted for a more liberal school rather than the strict school your father chose for you.
Ms. Stillwell: That was more to peeve him than to party, although a good deal of partying did go on. I was more the "giggly-drunk" than the "mattress-back" sorority girl. I had a few casual dates, but no relationships. Like I said, no one seems to be able to elicit strong feelings from me. I guess I just haven't met Mr. Right yet. But I sure had a blast up at Lake Tahoe. It reminded me a bit of the carefree partying from school.
Dr. Balis: It seems that your get away was just what the doctor ordered, as it were.
Ms. Stillwell: Ha! Funny, Doc. I really needed that break. I was feeling under lately. See, I can do the puns, too.
Dr. Balis: I know how avalanching circumstances can make you feel buried. But joking aside, Olivia, please tell me what has you feeling so stressed.
Ms. Stillwell: You'd think it was work, but it's not. My workload at the office has actually been exhilarating. It's my father. He's been putting pressure on me to proceed with legal action against the guys that attacked me. Between my father, his attorney, the attorney's associates and secretaries my answering machine is on overload. I'm past the "maybe" stage with this. I feel like a trapped animal. Eventually, I'll have to sit down and meet with these people. And don't think that just because I haven't mentioned it that the reporters have given up. There are a few who are holding onto this story for dear life.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Stillwell: Maybe Monica Lewinsky can come out with some new tidbit about the President, and all the scum sucking reporters will drop me like a hot potato. Wishful thinking, eh?
Dr. Balis: It's been a while since your attack, and the reporters are still interested? Something must be feeding their interest.
Ms. Stillwell: Someone. Daddy dearest, who else? He accidentally on purpose let Steffy's name slip, so the reporters swooped down on the other victim. Poor Steffy. She was so confused and surprised that she told them enough to pique their interests further. She's pretty pissed that my father gave them her name. I don't blame her much; I'm in the same boat. Oh, Steffy's going to North Carolina in April and has asked me to go with her. She's going to some Communications Exchange meeting or something and will visit some of her family while out there.
Dr. Balis: That's very nice of her.
Ms. Stillwell: Yeah. I'll get to be introduced to her whole family.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Do you think that Steffy may have romantic intentions towards you, Olivia?
Ms. Stillwell: Pardon me?
Dr. Balis: Well, is it possible that she is enamored with you?
Ms. Stillwell: What are you talking about?
Dr. Balis: Olivia, it's just a question. I don't know Stephanie, you do. Could she have a romantic interest in you?
Ms. Stillwell: I see. So you think I'm a....that...that I...this is ludicrous! I don't have to sit here and have you judge me and make these preposterous accusations about my character and personal life. I am not even sexually active, let alone interested dare you assume such a thing about me! Really, Doctor Balis. Up until now, I've considered you a rather non-judgemental person, but this is beyond comprehension.
Dr. Balis: Olivia, I'm not making any assumptions or judgments about you. Rather, I'm exploring a possibility regarding someone else's intentions towards you.
Ms. Stillwell: And what makes you think that I would attract the attention of a...
Dr. Balis: Lesbian. The word is lesbian, Olivia.
Ms. Stillwell: I know what that word is, Doctor. I'm just a bit ruffled at the moment and having a hard time thinking clearly. This revelation of your perspective on me is quite insulting.
Dr. Balis: Olivia, this is not an assessment of who you are. Stephanie has become very close to you in the past few months. And I'm glad that you have her friendship. I just wanted to ask you if there was a possibility that she wanted more than friendship from you. And just because someone hasn't came out and pointedly told you the intimate details of their life, doesn't mean that the possibility is not there.
Ms. Stillwell: But why on earth would you think she was interested in me if you didn't think that I'm....that I'm like that, too?
Dr. Balis: One does not imply the other, Olivia. If a gay man was attracted to me, it wouldn't mean that I am gay simply because he desires me. If a heterosexual woman was to fall in love with a homosexual man, what does that say? Simply that we can't always control who we're attracted to. It's nothing more, nothing less.
Ms. Stillwell: But...
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry to see that I've offended you, Olivia. That was not my intention.
Ms. Stillwell: It's just...I don't know. This is all so...argh!
Dr. Balis: Olivia, in general terms, how do you feel about homosexuality?
Ms. Stillwell: Are you gay?
Dr. Balis: We're not here to talk about me, Olivia.
Ms. Stillwell: So you are. I see.
Dr. Balis: Olivia, I'm sensing that you do gave a problem with homosexuality. Right?
Ms. Stillwell: I...I don't think...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Stillwell: Well...
Dr. Balis: If you do, you can tell me. You don't have to worry about how I feel about it or whether I'll judge you based on your feelings about homosexuality. I don't judge my patients' lives, nor do I push my opinions on them. What I want to do here is help you understand who you are.
Ms. Stillwell: But I don't see any pictures of your wife or children, for example.
Dr. Balis: Well, imagine how those pictures might look to a patient who was grieving the loss of a child, for example. Or if I had happy family pictures, might it stifle the honest responses of a young man who was questioning his own sexuality? Can you see how detrimental that might be in therapy?
Ms. Stillwell: Well, yes.
Dr. Balis: Because I want to help my patients progress in their therapy, I leave my personal life at the door. I'm here as your doctor. I'm not unfeeling, but I try to be as non-judgemental, non-critical, and as neutral as possible.
Ms. Stillwell: So, are you gay?
Dr. Balis: I'm not gay, OIivia. This subject is clearly causing you a lot of discomfort. Let's move on. Where in North Carolina will you be visiting?
Ms. Stillwell: It's a suburb of the Raleigh-Durham area. Our plans aren't firm yet. Steffy has been doing some freelance stuff for another company, and they'd like her to attend this function.
Dr. Balis: I see. Will you attend the conference as well?
Ms. Stillwell: No, I think I'll, hang out and stuff. There are some great outlet malls in the Burlington area, so we might go down there. Doc, I have a raging headache. Would you mind if we ended a bit early?
Dr. Balis: Before you go, Olivia...
Ms. Stillwell: Yes?
Dr. Balis: Let's plan to talk about your childhood a bit more next session, okay? I'd like to have a better understanding of your formative years. I'd like you to try to remember some of your earliest memories. It might help to write them down so you can keep track.
Ms. Stillwell: Uh, sure, Doc. I'll see you next week.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Olivia.
Ms. Stillwell: Goodbye.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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