Transcript of 8th Session between Dr. Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Phylis Birch, Monday, October 28th, 1996 at 12:00 pm.

Ms. Birch: Hi Dr. Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello Phylis. Please come in. I've been waiting for you.
Ms. Birch: But I'm on time, even with the time change!
Dr. Balis: I simply meant that I've been anxious to talk to you. How are you?
Ms. Birch: I'm much better, thank you. The sleeping pills are working wonders.
Dr. Balis: Good. I'm glad.
Ms. Birch: Remember I mentioned that I was doing some sketches of people that I met at my dives?
Dr. Balis: I do.
Ms. Birch: Well perhaps I could tell you something about them now.
Dr. Balis: Sure, if you would like.
Ms. Birch: For starters, do you recall a young woman that I'd mentioned to you a few sessions ago, before the mess, that I was getting kind of close to? The one from The Blue... from one of my haunts?
Dr. Balis: Yes, you identified with her quite a bit as I recall.
Ms. Birch: That's right. One of the sketches is of her. It's from memory of course, so it's quite a bit off, but it will give you a sense of her. She is very compelling. I find myself thinking about regularly. I miss her in some strange way. Not in the way one would miss someone close, but her manner of speech, her voice. I hope she's okay.
Dr. Balis: Are there other portraits among your drawings?
Ms. Birch: I made a sketch of the bartender from the place where I used to meet the girl. Some drawings are so personal that I don't even think I can talk to you about them.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Birch: Some of my drawings I don't even let Jack see.
Dr. Balis: Have you made any drawings relating to Jack?
Ms. Birch: Some of them are about Jack. But mostly I don't show my drawing to Jack because I don't want him to get the wrong idea about me. He can be a little on the conservative or, perhaps better put, conventional side sometimes. Don't get me wrong--Jack can be real quirky and offbeat. It's just that sometimes his proper upbringing gets the better of him and I never know when that side of him is going rear its ugly head.
Dr. Balis: Have you ever discussed that with Jack?
Ms. Birch: I should say that I'm hardly in a position to complain about him!
Dr. Balis: But perhaps you can talk to Jack about these feelings. I think they might be in part the reason for your obsession with the darker side. Mind you, I'm not suggesting that there might not be other reasons completely independent from Jack.
Ms. Birch: I guess you have hit upon something that I've been trying not to think about. I don't want to become as straight as Jack by osmosis. I somehow feel that I need to reaffirm my world outside of the nine to five and husband in the burbs. When I started going to all these places, it was in part out of curiosity and in part because it was taboo. Young women just aren't "supposed to" go to places like that if they know what's good for them. Men can go. They'll be safe. For them it's just a little drink or thrill. But for a woman...anyway, I think that sucks. I know how to look out for myself. I wouldn't do anything stupid. Well I wouldn't if somebody wouldn't interfere. There I go blaming Jack again. Poor Jack, he should leave me.
Dr. Balis: Do you want him to leave you?
Ms. Birch: He wouldn't leave me. He worships the ground I walk on. It sounds conceited, but it's true. Jack is very proud of being my husband. I'm proud to be his wife too, but it's not the same.
Dr. Balis: So would you like him to leave you?
Ms. Birch: No. I'm a happily married woman. I don't want a divorce. I need a little time to sort things out maybe. But I definitely don't want a divorce.
Dr. Balis: Has there been any change in your sex life since I saw you last?
Ms. Birch: Not really. I tried once to initiate something. I thought maybe if I got the ball rolling...but my heart wasn't in it. Jack noticed it right away and that was the end of that. He said that we should wait until I'm ready, but the more time passes the less interested I become. It feels like having sex with your brother. Or so I imagine. I love him but the sexual tension is not there. I don't crave him.
Dr. Balis: So have you lost interest in sex in general or just with Jack?
Ms. Birch: Oh I could definitely use a good fuck, excuse my language here. But I don't think our marriage would benefit from this. You know?
Dr. Balis: You mean because it wouldn't be with Jack?
Ms. Birch: What else?
Dr. Balis: Do you have someone specific in mind?
Ms. Birch: Oh just someone who knows how to be discreet and is sensitive to my needs. No one in particular.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Birch: It sounds awful of me doesn't it? I mean, here I am saying that I want to have sex but not with my husband. Joe would be thrilled. What a horrible thought! Oh.
Dr. Balis: And what about Martha? Does she still have a strong influence over you? Do you hear her?
Ms. Birch: It's as if you're talking about a separate person. Like Martha exists in the world outside of me.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Birch: Well in a way she does. It is a persona that a group of people, including you, know and relate to. And she has a voice of her own. One that apparently affects me...but it's odd for me to talk about her that way. I sometimes think of her that way, but saying it out loud is peculiar.
Dr. Balis: I can see that.
Ms. Birch: To answer your question, yes I do still carry on conversations with Martha. She is sort of my wild side. She's more adventurous, more daring. But she is also reckless. Sometimes that scares me. I'm not sure that I could catch up. Does that make any sense?
Dr. Balis: Yes. Do you think Martha is against Jack?
Ms. Birch: Well, if I think in real simplistic terms, Jack is her antitheses. not everything, but a lot of what constitutes Martha's character is contrary to what Jack would think is reasonable. Not that everything has to be reasonable. Jack is certainly not always reasonable, but...I don't know how to put it. Compared to the average guy on the street, Jack is quite remarkable and unusual. But he sets limits for himself and never crosses them. He has tremendous discipline. Whereas Martha is always looking for ways to break some limits. So naturally there is a conflict. Sometimes I enjoy breaking limits and rules too. When I feel that way I am allied with Martha. Other times I expel her from my mind.
Dr. Balis: And is that easy for you to do?
Ms. Birch: Last night it was practically impossible. But I can still function even when she's bugging me.
Dr. Balis: Is Martha the first character that you've ever created?
Ms. Birch: That depends on how you look at it. I mean I have different personas depending on what I'm doing or who I'm with. I bet that two different people would give descriptions of me that would be so different that you wouldn't recognize them as the same person, much less as me.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Birch: Well maybe it's not that dramatic. They are all aspects of me. I had an imaginary friend when I was a kid: Thomas. I would talk to him sometimes as I walked down the street or cleaned my room. Thomas was great fun. We always argued or, more correctly, disagreed. I would get on to a subject and argue one side position, and Thomas would argue the opposite. He was my devil's advocate.
Dr. Balis: What happened to Thomas?
Ms. Birch: As I got older I started to think that it was odd of me to have an imaginary friend. So I stopped talking to Thomas. I also met a real person that I could argue with so I didn't need Thomas anymore. Perhaps this would be a good time to bring him back.
Dr. Balis: How old were you when you gave up Thomas?
Ms. Birch: Completely?
Dr. Balis: Yes completely.
Ms. Birch: Not until I met Jack. Before that I would think of him now and again.
Dr. Balis: Would you say that Martha and Thomas have a lot in common?
Ms. Birch: No. They are almost opposites. Thomas was a conservative force, one that erred on the side of caution. While Martha...well you've met Martha. I bet if I reincarnated Thomas, he and Martha would cancel out each other out. That's an interesting idea. So if I'm having a conversation in my head, I would think in terms of Martha and Thomas debating any given point, leaving me to choose the victor, instead of arguing one side so hard that I talk myself into believing that side.
Dr. Balis: Is this what usually happens?
Ms. Birch: Not necessarily. Often Martha wins.
Dr. Balis: Phylis, our time is up for today.
Ms. Birch: Say no more. You'd like me to make an appointment for next week?
Dr. Balis: Yes I would.
Ms. Birch: Monday at noon as usual?
Dr. Balis: Monday the fourth of November at noon. That would be great. And please try to bring some of your sketches.
Ms. Birch: I will. Count on it.
Dr. Balis: Okay then.
Ms. Birch: Bye.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Phylis. Remember, call anytime, for any reason.
Ms. Birch: Any reason? Bye.
Dr. Balis: Anytime you think you need me. Goodbye Phylis.
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