Transcript of 10th Session between Dr. Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Phylis Birch and Mr. Jack Birch, Wednesday, November 27th, 1996 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Phylis! Good morning. I'm surprised to see you. I was expecting you on last Monday. And the Monday before that. I thought you've given up our sessions all together.
Ms. Birch: Good morning Dr. Balis. I know and I'm very sorry. I told you I was having problems with time and...are you terribly busy?
Dr. Balis: I have a flight to catch to New York in a few hours. But I guess I can make some time for you.
Ms. Birch: Thanks so much. This is the second time you've been so accommodating. Come on.
Dr. Balis: Excuse me?
Ms. Birch: This is Jack. I hope that's okay.
Dr. Balis: Please come in Mr. Birch. I'm Dr. Balis.
Mr. Birch: Hello. Please call me Jack.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Please sit down. You're looking quite fit.
Mr. Birch: Thank you. Frankly I'm not really staying that long.
Dr. Balis: The session only lasts for about an hour--nobody's staying that long. Have a seat.
Ms. Birch: We've just come out of Jack's physical. The doctor was very pleased with Jack's recovery. He's doing better than the doctor had expected.
Dr. Balis: That's wonderful. Your wife must be taking very good care of you.
Mr. Birch: Indeed.
Dr. Balis: You don't sound very enthusiastic.
Mr. Birch: Phylis would have me chained to my bed if she could.
Ms. Birch: I just want you to follow doctor's orders. He's supposed to be on bed rest.
Dr. Balis: Yes I remember.
Mr. Birch: Not anymore. Do you tell this guy everything?
Ms. Birch: He's my psychotherapist. Naturally I speak to him of things that are important to me like your health.
Mr. Birch: Especially when you're responsible for my condition.
Ms. Birch: Jack! You never accused me of that before. Do you really feel that way?
Mr. Birch: Yes.
Ms. Birch: But...but why do you bring it up now? In front of company?
Mr. Birch: Company? Isn't this why you dragged me here, to talk to your problem solver? No offense Doctor.
Dr. Balis: None taken.
Ms. Birch: I can't believe how rude you're being. I'm sorry about this Doctor Balis. I had no idea that Jack was going to behave like this. We're leaving.
Dr. Balis: Settle down Phylis. I don't mind Jack airing out his frustrations here.
Ms. Birch: Should I open my mouth and start bitching too?
Dr. Balis: If that would make you feel better.
Ms. Birch: It wouldn't. I don't think that solves anything.
Dr. Balis: All right then, why don't you tell me what you had in mind for today? Why did you bring Jack here with you? I know this wasn't by accident--you missed two appointments without even bothering to call in and cancel and then you showed up here today, Wednesday, on the day that I usually don't see any patients just hoping to catch me?
Ms. Birch: Basically, I just wanted Jack to meet you and to see and experience what one of our sessions is like.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Birch: Look Doctor, I'm not interested in seeing a session. But Phylis feels that it's important for me to join her at least once. So I'm here.
Dr. Balis: Okay. What did you mean when you said that your injuries were Phylis' fault?
Ms. Birch: Yes Jack, why don't you tell us more?
Mr. Birch: Sure. It's pretty straightforward really. Phylis was hanging out with some loser in the Tenderloin...looking like shit, I might add.
Ms. Birch: Thank you.
Mr. Birch: Then this lovely acquaintance of hers beats me to a bloody pulp. I'd say that qualifies it as her fault.
Dr. Balis: Phylis? Any thoughts?
Ms. Birch: Just that Jack had no business being there in the first place. If he didn't shadow me, none of this would've happened.
Mr. Birch: What gives you the idea that I was shadowing you?
Ms. Birch: If you weren't, what were you doing in that neighborhood at ten-thirty at night?
Mr. Birch: Actually I should ask you that question, instead of letting you off the hook as easy as I have. But, to answer you, I was helping Nora with an investigation. Imagine my surprise when I saw you walking down the street. At first I wasn't even sure it was you. So I followed you for a couple of blocks. I almost lost you, but then I caught a glimpse of you through the door.
Ms. Birch: A likely story. Why didn't you tell me this before? You told me that you would be at a concert that night.
Mr. Birch: That was a white lie to keep you from worrying about me.
Ms. Birch: I see.
Mr. Birch: I'm glad that you see, but I'm still in the dark here. What were you doing with that sleeze? How well do you know him? Why were you sneaking around behind my back? It's not the safest place for a woman to be at night. I thought you had more street smarts than that.
Ms. Birch: I do. I have plenty of street smarts. I'm not the one who got beat up.
Mr. Birch: Great Phylis. So on top of everything, you're calling me naive. If that jerk is the one that you've been having an affair with, that's pathetic. I'm sorry. I guess I'm just really not pleasing you. Poor woman.
Ms. Birch: No Jack. That isn't it. You've been a fine husband and a wonderful lover. I never had any affair. I'm a happily married woman!
Mr. Birch: Don't jerk me around Phylis. You should at least be honest with me.
Ms. Birch: I am being honest with you.
Mr. Birch: So you never slept with that guy?
Ms. Birch: I never have.
Mr. Birch: I don't believe you. I want to believe you, but don't. He was much too concerned about you.
Ms. Birch: Look Jack, you've got to believe me. When you came into the bar that night, it was the first time that I'd ever seen that guy.
Mr. Birch: So what were you doing there and why did you look so busted when you saw me?
Ms. Birch: I was shocked. I didn't expect to see you.
Mr. Birch: Well that's obvious.
Ms. Birch: Doctor Balis tell him. Tell him that I'm telling the truth.
Dr. Balis: That's the same thing that she had told me previously in complete confidence.
Mr. Birch: What does that prove? She could lie to you as easily as she can to me. Perhaps even easier to you since I know her so well.
Ms. Birch: I'm trying to work things out here. Can't you tell that I'm being sincere?
Mr. Birch: I can tell that you're still hiding something. But for the sake of an argument, let's say that I were to believe you. That still wouldn't answer the question of what you were doing in that place.
Ms. Birch: That's true. Would you be willing to accept that I had a good reason to be there and allow me a little more time to find an adequate way of explaining myself?
Dr. Balis: Phylis why not take this opportunity to be completely candid with Jack. Waiting will only complicate things.
Ms. Birch: But...I...I can't just...I had a plan...I...
Mr. Birch: What do you mean Doctor Balis?
Dr. Balis: Phylis?
Ms. Birch: Oh shit! Very well. Thanks a lot Doc. Isn't it time for us to go?
Dr. Balis: No I still have a few minutes.
Ms. Birch: Oh. Jack, I've been doing some dive hunting.
Mr. Birch: Huh?
Ms. Birch: How can I explain? Do you recall some months back I talked to you about the difference between a seedy place and a run down place with character?
Mr. Birch: I can't say that a specific conversation comes to mind. But I can picture the difference.
Ms. Birch: You can?
Mr. Birch: Sure. One could be used as a location in a film, even in a positive way The other is just ugly, without spirit.
Ms. Birch: Yes exactly! You do understand.
Mr. Birch: So you've been out trying to find the perfect dive? What for? A movie? Are you a location scout now?
Ms. Birch: No. I'm just looking to find some funky places, you know? That includes more than just bars.
Mr. Birch: Like coffee shops and greasy spoon places too?
Ms. Birch: Yes. And strip joints.
Mr. Birch: Oh great! That's a relief. Let me get this straight. And you've been hanging around in all these places alone? That's smart Phylis! Real smart. And for how long? Months? Years? Did it start before we got married? Or did our marriage drive you to it?
Ms. Birch: Yes I do it alone and I've been going for just a few months now.
Mr. Birch: How few?
Ms. Birch: Look, it doesn't matter how few or how many. I'm fine. Nobody's tried to kill me or even mug me or anything. I can look out for myself. At least as long as you stay away.
Mr. Birch: You have some magic protection?
Ms. Birch: I've developed this disguise, you see? The way that you saw me that night--"looking like shit," as you put it.
Mr. Birch: I might be just slow, but it's still not really obvious to me why you go.
Ms. Birch: I love it.
Mr. Birch: What?
Ms. Birch: The people that I've met, the glimpse of life that I'm normally sheltered from, creating another identity that I always use when I'm out and the ability to maintain it, the insight into my own life that can only come from a radically different perspective...all of it. It's the many things that have congealed into a totally engrossing experience for me. I'm addicted to these things. I need them now. They make me feel alive.
Mr. Birch: Those are strong words--need, addiction. To what degree are you using them for a dramatic effect and how much do you actually mean them?
Ms. Birch: I mean them full-heartedly.
Dr. Balis: Phylis. Jack. You've got a critical dialogue going here that I don't want to interrupt. But I do have a plane to catch and I must get going. Do you think you could continue this discussion on your own?
Ms. Birch: Oh Doctor, we understand and appreciate the time you gave us. Thank you very much and have a good Thanksgiving. Enjoy your trip.
Dr. Balis: Please call me if you need to. Otherwise is the Monday after the long weekend okay--at noon?
Ms. Birch: Yeah maybe. I'll call.
Mr. Birch: Thank you for letting us carry on in your office like this Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad I could help. But I hope you will continue after you leave.
Mr. Birch: Happy Thanksgiving Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Thank you and you. It was a pleasure to meet you Jack.
Mr. Birch: Likewise.
Ms. Birch: Bye.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

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