Sunday, October 23, 2016
The Therapist ((A Twice Told Story) (1991-1994))
((A Twice Told Story) (1991-1994))
I’ve told this story twice, in two previously written therapy books of mine, one used by a few Minnesota institutions for Chemical Dependency (also at the University of Minnesota book library), one recently written in Spanish, concerning alcoholism. I’ve told this story in brief, in what one might call in sketch form within these previous books, to give an example to the readers; thus, before I get into this story here “The Therapist” let me talk fleetingly on therapy in general, within this area of Chemical Dependency.
I would claim, if any behavioral science doctrine, or principle as a helping tool in the helping science area, I’d pick out ‘Client Centered Therapy’ being the root of my style. Why? Because it has more sincerity and candidness embodied in it; in other words it fits me, it is more me. Having said that, I want to inform the reader who is not partial to this area of understanding, it deals with respect and empathy. As a therapist, in the area where I was the general manager for Hawthorn Institute, in the early 1990s, in Minnesota, I dealt with client’s attitudes, one’s potential growth, simply as a helper.
Had one of my clients asked me my religious beliefs, I would have proudly, “A Christian” and meant it in all respects. And I would have said, in this area of my profession, I am not the judge, God is (and in many cases, the Judge who sent him or her to me).
Now for the story:
I’ve had several gays in my sessions during this period of the early 1990s, retired in 2001, having acquired an illness. And for whatever reasons, this one case I’m going to share with you appears to stand out. She—I shall call her Rosalind—came to me prior to a group session and asked for a private conversation: asking, if I thought it was wise for her to be involved with a group of recovering people, her being the only gay in the group.
I told her first, I didn’t know if she was the only gay in the group.
In essence, she was telling me she was gay, and she didn’t want it exposed to the others, if she was the only gay.
Therefore, I told her in so many words: it was her business if she didn’t want anyone to know, that it wouldn’t be me doing the telling. Also, I told her I didn’t have a problem with it, if she did join the group or didn’t. She sensed she felt there was a risk factor for her involved. So I added: if she felt uncomfortable, she could find a gay group, I could be of assistance in that likewise.
I was at that time taking in clients from Ramsey County, and Dakota County, mostly by Court Order, as they were sent to the institute, having a six week program, and if one passed, their Driver’s License would be given back to them, they had acquired a DWI in most cases. At that time we also had—and I say this only in passing—Paul Williams, whom I met and we talked briefly on therapy, the actor himself being a trained counselor—was a great supporter of our Institute.
Anyhow, I gave her an application, and indeed it was difficult for her to sign it, for this issue haunted her. Nonetheless, she joined the group. Then in the middle of the six weeks, say sometime during the third week, she asked—perhaps feeling accepted— “Should I come out, and be upfront with my sexual preference, to the group?” I think she was feeling it was part of the healing process. My question to be: “Can you, and are you, ready to take rejection if the group doesn’t connect with you after you tell them?” And if she couldn’t she had already answered her question.
She never did tell anyone, and she did complete the six weeks, with an approvable rating, and even five weeks of ‘Aftercare,’ after the six weeks. I told her, in plain jargon: “In recovery, my motto is three points: one, find something better than what you have: two, do whatever you have to do, to float the boat, or stay sober, and three: no need to be a hero.”
And I say to the reader, my motto was then and still is, and I never told my clients this: who am I to soil, or dust the grass under a tree.
#1193/Originally written in 2000 A.D., reedited for pit into an independent short story form for the book “Nowhere into Nothing”, 10-23-2016 “The Therapist”