Transcript of 7th Session between Dr. Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Phylis Birch, Thursday, October 24th, 1996 at 3:15 pm.

Dr. Balis: Yes? Come in. Phylis! Come in, come in.
Ms. Birch: Would you have a half hour for me Dr. Balis?
Dr. Balis: When?
Ms. Birch: I was hoping for now.
Dr. Balis: Right now? What time is it? Hmm, I could see you, but I have another patient coming in at four.
Ms. Birch: That's splendid. Now before you ask, I'm really sorry about Monday. I had this meeting that I just couldn't get out of.
Dr. Balis: I understand.
Ms. Birch: Dr. Balis, I've been just terrible to everyone. I can't seem to get my head on straight. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. Oh, please excuse me. I seem to be having these crying fits all the time.
Dr. Balis: Phylis, it's all right. Take your time.
Ms. Birch: You don't know the half of it. I can't sleep. I'm a walking zombie. I haven't had sex with Jack since the incident, forget about making love! We used to do it every day! He shows some interest, but I just can't. I see that monster's face everywhere. Today I thought that I saw him at SII. I'm going crazy. I fantasize about what I would do to him if I ever saw him. Then I start thinking that he did nothing wrong, that I encouraged him to fuck me. And Jack...I still haven't told him anything about what actually happened. He believes that I never left his side, that I took care of him, as a loving wife would have done. I must be a sadist, or a stone to leave him bleeding in the gutter. Who knows what could have happened to him? I don't know what did happen. Did some drunk come along and kick him some more? Or worse? Or what if he woke up at some point and called for me and I wasn't there? What if he's keeping something from me? Maybe he hates me and is biding his time for cold vengeance. He would be perfectly in the right, you know. I deserve everything he can do to me.
Dr. Balis: Phylis slow down. Let's take things one at a time.
Ms. Birch: I think I'm truly sick. Sick, I tell you. Would you believe that I want to go back to my dives? I miss them. I need them. I'm like a drug addict. Worse!
Dr. Balis: Wait a second. Calm down.
Ms. Birch: But don't you see? Despite everything that I've done or caused in some way, I'm not satisfied. I want to do more damage. I'm drawing some of the regulars when no one is looking. But they turn out terrible. I think that my ability to draw diminishes with every drink, every conversation. It's like these excursions were sucking at my very soul, but I love it. I think I might even go tonight. Martha is calling me. Sometimes I hear her talking to me, whispering. She's there when I lie awake at night. She talks me out of wanting Jack. When she's in my head, I look at him with complete indifference. Then, the next minute, I love him deeply and can cry rivers for what I've done to him. I think that he still believes that I had an affair. He never mentioned that night again.
Dr. Balis: Have you?
Ms. Birch: I brought it up a couple of times, but he dodged the issue--some pain would suddenly get worse. He said once that now it is all over. At the time I thought that he meant all the trouble, but now I think he meant us. The marriage.
Dr. Balis: What makes you think so?
Ms. Birch: Because I think that it is. He'll never forgive me, nor should he. I'm hardly repentant. I regret what happened, of course, but I'd do it all again. I will do more as I said, perhaps tonight.
Dr. Balis: Now hold on. Before you commit to anything let's talk about this. You've mentioned several issues. Let's tackle them one by one.
Ms. Birch: Okay.
Dr. Balis: Would you like a glass of water?
Ms. Birch: Yeah that'd be great. Thanks.
Dr. Balis: Let's start with a non-emotional one. You said that you are having problems sleeping?
Ms. Birch: I maybe get a couple of hours per night.
Dr. Balis: Is your trouble that you can't get to sleep or are you waking up during the night?
Ms. Birch: Both actually.
Dr. Balis: I'm going to prescribe some sleeping pills for you. I'm only going to give you a small number because I just want you to get past this bad spell. At least you will be able to rest and be in better shape to make judgments.
Ms. Birch: Will they make me tired in the mornings?
Dr. Balis: Less so than you've been feeling lately.
Ms. Birch: Good point, okay.
Dr. Balis: Here's a prescription. Take one at bed time. If they're not working, don't take another one. Just call me.
Ms. Birch: Thanks. What is this stuff?
Dr. Balis: Halcion. I'm only prescribing 20 pills because I don't want you to become dependent on them. Now you mentioned that you've been haunted by the face of your attacker, let's talk about that.
Ms. Birch: I must tell you that I'm a little overwhelmed right now. It's difficult to keep my thoughts straight and I have to go back to work after this. Shit.
Dr. Balis: It's okay. Don't worry, it'll get better. We'll go slow. If you start getting upset again, we'll stop. Now about the guy in the bar, he's on your mind a lot. Tell me more about that.
Ms. Birch: He's in my dreams.
Dr. Balis: What kind of dreams?
Ms. Birch: Nightmares mostly, but not all of them.
Dr. Balis: Could you describe a dream that you've had recently?
Ms. Birch: I don't know if I can reconstruct one properly.
Dr. Balis: That's all right. Just tell me the parts you remember.
Ms. Birch: Well, I had this one dream where I was in a different time. In retrospect, it's like a scene out of the life of Jack the Ripper. Old streets, definitely not in California. It's dark, late at night. I'm walking down the street or more like an alley and man in a black cloak grabs me and drags me away. Only when we go around the corner of some house, to where the garbage bins are at their most pungent, the man turns his face to the light-- a yellow street light--it's me in the cloak. I look down to see who the victim is and it's that Joe guy. The next thing that I remember is me striking him with a knife over and over again. But he won't die. I can remember the feeling, the adrenalin rush from stabbing him. It's exciting even now to think about it. But there was also fear and panic. I remember the panic of not being able to kill him. The fear that someone will find me. That's when Jack appears in the shadows. He watches me silently then approaches. At that point the cloaked figure becomes Joe again. He strikes at Jack with the bloody knife and Jack falls to the ground. The last thing that I remember is standing over Jack's body with the knife in my hand alone.
Dr. Balis: So what do you think this dream means?
Ms. Birch: Actually I was hoping that you could tell me.
Dr. Balis: I could try to analyze it, but that would be much less illuminating than if you talked your way through it.
Ms. Birch: Well okay. I definitely see Joe as a threat to both Jack and myself. But that's obvious. Maybe the cloak was a symbol of evil and since both Joe and I wore the cloak I'm ambivalent as to who is actually the bad guy in my life, Joe or myself.
Dr. Balis: It does sound that way to me. But you were also a victim in your dream.
Ms. Birch: Yeah. A victim turned aggressor.
Dr. Balis: What else does this dream mean to you?
Ms. Birch: Perhaps the stench and the darkness demonstrate the ugliness of what happened that night. It definitely occurred on the dark side of town, on the dark side of my life.
Dr. Balis: Do you recall how Jack looked?
Ms. Birch: Let me think. Yes, he also wore black. What does that mean? Do I think that Jack is equally evil? But he was the only real victim!
Dr. Balis: Is that what you really feel?
Ms. Birch: You think I blame Jack? That's horrible. I'm horrible.
Dr. Balis: You're not horrible. If you were, you wouldn't care so much. But perhaps there is a part to this story that has to do with Jack. Maybe he is at the heart of your obsession with bars and the dark side of life.
Ms. Birch: I know that nothing is ever black and white, but my little habit is mine. It's my idea. It's my sickness. Jack has nothing to do with it. I wish he had, in fact. But he doesn't.
Dr. Balis: Are you resentful about that?
Ms. Birch: Maybe. He didn't have to be so god damn straight--so kosher.
Dr. Balis: There is definitely some hostility there.
Ms. Birch: Had he been willing to explore with me--though it would have been much different and I think not as good--none of this would ever have happened. Oh god. It sounds like I'm blaming Jack. I am blaming Jack. That's outrageous! All that Jack was doing, the wonderful man, was looking out for the well-being of his wife. Well that's not entirely true. He was spying on me. He followed me to the bar and tried to force me to go home with him. How dare he? The nerve. I'm my own woman, thank you. I don't need to be told what to do and what not to do. On the other hand, I kept it a secret. Naturally he was worried. He's right. Anything could have happened. And it did. I was raped. Well not exactly. He probably didn't see it that way. He probably thought that he was saving me from some lunatic. How gallant. I hate it. They both tried to save me. Great. Fucking men.
Dr. Balis: Phylis I know this is bad-timing, but my other patient will be here any minute. I could meet with you again tonight, if you like.
Ms. Birch: No forget it. I can't make it tonight. I'll just see you on Monday. Noon is still okay?
Dr. Balis: Noon is perfect. I know that you probably don't want to hear this right now, but I really have to urge you to get checked out by your gynecologist?
Ms. Birch: Checked out--you mean for AIDs?
Dr. Balis: Well, for AIDs and for other possible sexually transmitted diseases. It's been two weeks, so the tests would be able to show something if it was there. I don't want to alarm you, but I don't think you would feel good about yourself if you transmitted something unknowingly to Jack.
Ms. Birch: What would you suggest I get checked for?
Dr. Balis: Unfortunately, gynecologists do this way too often. They know exactly what to check for.
Ms. Birch: Shit. That sounds like good advice. I better go. Thanks for talking to me.
Dr. Balis: Call me if you want to, anytime. And let me know how the Halcion works.
Ms. Birch: I'll be fine. Don't worry. See you Monday.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Phylis.
Ms. Birch: Goodbye Doctor.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Phylis Birch's Transcripts Transcripts of Phylis Birch's Therapy Sessions
Button to Phylis Birch's Patient File Phylis Birch's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1996. All Rights Reserved.