Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, July 18, 1996 at 12 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello. Please sit down. So how were the last couple of days? Do you feel any effects of the drug?
Ms. Bows: Yes, Doctor. I think so. I have been sleeping a lot better. I'm also feeling more together at work. I seem to get more done and my concentration is a lot better.
Dr. Balis: Good. Sounds like this is working for you.
Ms. Bows: Somewhat. I still feel that strange separation between my emotions and...I'm not sure how to put it right. I sort of feel like I can observe myself from the side. When I get upset, I now note to myself: "Oh. Feeling rather bad at the moment. Interesting. I wonder what triggered that on." I feel the feeling but I am also detached from it in some sense. I'm not sure I like that. But I do like the feeling of getting some sort of control over my life. I went to see a lawyer.
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Bows: I just needed to know my options.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Bows: Let's not talk about that right now.
Dr. Balis: Okay. You were starting to tell me about your current relationship with Tom. You mentioned that he thinks that he is doing everything for your own good.
Ms. Bows: Yes. Isn't that interesting? Tom's been talking with my mother. Telling her how he is just trying to protect me from myself. That I'm really too old to have children now and he doesn't want me to go through what his sister did. She got pregnant at thirty-eight and about five months into it found out that it was a Down's syndrome kid. She had an abortion and a nervous breakdown. She lost her job. And now she and Kent are maybe splitting up. So you can see how my mother could easily transfer the whole situation of my sister-in-law onto me. Especially when Tom is quoting statistics to her. Tom is so good at convincing everyone that he is right. I think that that is his major talent. That's how he got as far as he did in business.
Dr. Balis: Did you talk with your mother?
Ms. Bows: I tried. We spoke about a week ago. But as you could see from seeing me last time, I was in no form to argue with anyone. Especially my mother. Maybe in my new Zoloft state, I would be better at it. I am certainly surprising Tom.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Bows: Oh, in different ways. I don't break down in tears during our conversations. In fact, I can get so cold now during talking with him that he starts to get emotional. I think I am getting him worried. He probably thought that he would be able to talk and ride himself through this whole thing and come up on top.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean by "on top?"
Ms. Bows: Winning has always been very important to Tom. Being the best at everything. He graduated at the top of his class from Columbia University. Then went on and got his MBA with honors. We met in New York. He was in his last year for his MBA and I was finishing up my double degree in journalism and psychology at NYU. We were both driven perfectionists. We both wanted to be the best at what we do. I guess it was then that we decided not to have children, they would have interfered with the lifestyle we envisioned for ourselves. Now it all seems so stupid.
Dr. Balis: Do you think that Tom considers the current situation as something that he needs to win? To come out on top of?
Ms. Bows: You are beginning to understand him. It is definitely what he thinks. His poor wife had temporary delusions about parenthood and children. He was there to prevent a terrible mistake. And now his job is to get me well and back to normal again. And all of this with a minimum of interruptions to his busy work schedule. I don't think so.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: Nothing, Doctor. I'm just talking.
Dr. Balis: You mentioned that you are getting Tom to be emotional.
Ms. Bows: Yeah. Last night when I came home, he was there. But unlike other nights, I was civil with him. I said hello, asked if he had dinner yet. I was able to maintain my cool and to distance myself enough from my emotions and feelings not to show them to Tom. He was taken aback. Then I took a long bath. I left the door open. I wanted Tom to see me naked. I'm not sure why I did it. But it felt really good to know that he was looking at me, even though I didn't actually catch him doing it. I know he was. Then I just wore this light cotton nightgown to bed. Nothing else. I knew it would turn Tom on to see me in it. I wanted him to want me a lot.
Dr. Balis: How did Tom react?
Ms. Bows: He noticed. But he didn't touch me. Needless to say, we stopped having sex when I found out about his indiscretions with the urologist. This morning, I got dressed in front of him. I gave him the whole show. He kept pretending that everything was as usual. But he was looking. I could see him from the corner of my eyes in the mirror. I took off my nightgown by letting it drop at my feet and got into the shower. When I came out, I carefully dried myself with a towel, bending down and stretching to carefully absorb every drop of liquid from my body. Then I walked into our bedroom and put cream on my arms, legs, and thighs. I put on a very sexy pair of underwear. With all the weight that I lost, it really looks great on me now. I don't know if you can tell, Doctor, but I am not wearing a bra. Tom knows. I know he was shocked that I would go to work like this. But he didn't dare say a word. I wished him a good day and left.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think you acted like this?
Ms. Bows: I wanted him to want me. To want me and not be able to have me. I want him to think of me all day today. I want him to go crazy and lose his concentration. I want to feel on top for awhile.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel like you are on top?
Ms. Bows: Yes, Doctor. More than you might think.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: I didn't go to work today.
Dr. Balis: I thought you had meetings all day today. We even had problems finding time for your appointment.
Ms. Bows: I canceled my meetings this morning.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Bows: I met someone.
Dr. Balis: Today? This morning?
Ms. Bows: Yes.
Dr. Balis: Where?
Ms. Bows: At Starbucks down the street. I went there before work for a cup of cappuccino.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Bows: He had an espresso.
Dr. Balis: You seem reluctant to talk about this, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: I am. A little. Richard and I shared a table. I saw him sitting alone, and invited myself to join him. He said that he was delighted but surprised.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Bows: Apparently he works for SII too and had seen me on few occasions around the building. And I seem to have a reputation for being a bit cold and standoffish. All business. So when I asked his permission to join him, he was...
Dr. Balis: Surprised.
Ms. Bows: Yes.
Dr. Balis: You said that you didn't go to work today.
Ms. Bows: Richard and I spent the rest of the morning together. Richard also noticed that I wasn't wearing a bra. Do you think my shirt is unbuttoned a little too much?
Dr. Balis: I really couldn't say. I haven't been looking at your shirt.
Ms. Bows: I don't believe you, Doctor. From where you are sitting you should be able to see a part of my left nipple. I made sure before I came into the room that you could.
Dr. Balis: Ms. Bows, are you sure you are feeling all right?
Ms. Bows: In some ways, Doctor, I never felt better. Would you like to know what happened next?
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: Richard and I got our drinks to go and went back to his place. Should I go on?
Dr. Balis: If you like.
Ms. Bows: Richard has a beautiful body. He reminds me of Tom about ten years ago.
Dr. Balis: Hmmm.
Ms. Bows: He made me feel beautiful, and sexy, and very desired. Do you think it was wrong of me?
Dr. Balis: It's not my job to judge your actions, Sylvia. But I am a bit concerned over what seems to be a major change in your behavior since you started the Zoloft. Maybe we should adjust your dosage.
Ms. Bows: Doctor, it's not the medication. I just feel that I need to take control now. And if having sex with strangers is part of it, then I think that's okay. I never let myself have this kind of freedom before and I think I need to experiment a little now.
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, I'm just worried about you. I want to make sure that you are fully aware of all of the consequence of your actions. I don't want you realize later that you made a mistake.
Ms. Bows: Don't worry, Doctor. I won't blame you.
Dr. Balis: That's not what I'm saying. I just want you to be sure you are doing this because you really want to and not because of some medication.
Ms. Bows: As I said, don't worry Doctor. I know what I'm doing. And I think you are doing a wonderful job with me so far.
Dr. Balis: I hope so. Let's set up our next session. I would like to see you next Tuesday. Can you make a 4 pm appointment?
Ms. Bows: I am learning to make time for myself. I will be there, Doctor. And thank you so much for worrying about me. But I am really okay. Goodbye, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia. And don't hesitate to call me over the next few days if you feel the need.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sylvia Bows' Transcripts Transcripts of Sylvia Bows' Therapy Sessions
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