The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

2/10/17

5:28AM

Authenticity

I woke a little before five and could not fall back asleep. 

My mind was running miles, a marathon or two, around this landscape called Therapy. 

What should I do? 

How do I feel?

File with the authorities…or file it all away somewhere else. 

And who, exactly, are these authorities. 

And what, exactly can they deliver to me that I can’t get somehow or somewhere else. 

Round and round, traversing the mountainside…called Therapy. 

Eileen…how bad…how minor…how major?

Do I shelve it all? Try and walk away? Stumble away? Hope that by doing so it will fade into nothing, an aside at a cocktail party, a piece of empathy I can carry for anyone who’s been deeply hurt by a professional?

I am running hard in my mind. Nearly out of breath this morning. 

It’s so early but I can’t sleep. 

And I wonder: is the Sandbox ending? Or is this my process, in deep search mode, looking for the right direction for me, a way to finally jump off this mountain I call Therapy? A way to eventually disable the link I now call Bad Therapy?

I create a Monkey poem in my mind, another simple rhyme that I’m sure I will remember but at 5:30AM now it’s gone to me replaced by three words: confused, uncomfortable, sad. 

It’s a side trail that I follow this morning on this mountain called Therapy; just a small one. 

It’s just a session—yesterday’s. 

It’s what Teresa likely has put into her files. 

It is how I feel about Teresa—how I feel about the session yesterday—what I detect, how potentially sad and disappointed I feel. 

Teresa, is, I feel, covering her ass. Moving to a place of neutrality so subtle it completely escapes me until I wake at 4:45AM and I follow my heart until it leads me to this little trail, to this transcript, to this place of true sadness and fear and disappointment. 

I see myself…I have been trying so hard and especially the past days working my therapy with Eileen into one ball, one cohesive narrative to send…somewhere…to do…something with. 

It has an introductory statement, a body divided into three, and a conclusion. 

It is supported by emails. 

I want to read Teresa the work but honestly have no idea how long it will take and I stumble, nearly panicked the first two or three minutes of my appointment unable to locate the document. I find it and I begin. I have so little time and I’ve lost at least three minutes so I need to get moving quickly. 

A few questions from Teresa, a few notes that she takes. 

A half hour later Teresa lets me know we have ten minutes left. She and I both don’t want me reading up to the end with no time to talk. And I’m grateful and my Not Gods I feel so pressured, so constrained, so…

T

Let me lay it out for you. Here’s the big picture in case you might have missed it in your panic: I’m covering my ass now. Not one minute extra so out you go by 4:50 on the nose. We go by the book. My book. I am keeping my office tidier than ever. This all comes under the category of covering my ass. My ass. Me. Mine. Me before you. You are a threat to me—to my profession. I need to take a neutral stance. I can’t side with you. Well, I did long ago—I told you get the fuck out of that therapy. But you won’t hear that coming from me ever again. I’m neutral as the day is long. If there’s anything you’ve told me about Eileen—I’m well, I’m neutral. 

If she fucked you—well—honestly she did in some respects—I still—well I still need to be neutral. Why neutrality? 

You have no clue but who cares about you.  

Anyway, most importantly, you need to know that my neutrality does not, happily, preclude me from pitching EMDR. 

Again. 

EMDR in fact does double duty here: it’s neutral and it’s where I’m most comfortable. 

No one ever got fired for doing EMDR!

S

Sorry real T but this is how I feel—abandoned kind of. It reminds me of the Flood in a way but nothing really close to it too. It’s the moment where the rubber hits the road—where in the case of the Flood it became clear that Eileen was going to protect herself. It’s a moment where I wake up before 5AM feeling nearly kicked out your office—rushed and so uncomfortable, trying to gather my stuff, feeling a little messed up, opening the door to…nothing. 

Couldn’t there have been a few more minutes to figure out that what I felt was such an abundance of nothing that it kind of hurt? 

Empathy was gone and in its place…neutrality. 

T

I have to be neutral because of XY&Z things that you don’t know about in the world of Therapy and Documentation. 

S

And what the fuck was that about your notes or files going to the Board? I mean what is that? What does that mean? And why and how in this world do I pay tens of thousands of dollars for someone to keep notes that I never see, a record that in some ways could be used against me—like how does that in any way happen in this world? 

A

Breathe. 

S

And I land in this place where I just have such disdain and disgust for this mountain called Therapy. And I think to myself like I have occasionally before: do I have the real goods here? And are all these people running around on this mountain taking it all a little too too much as gospel? Their treatments and their EMDR and their mostly unhealed personal traumas that they cannot but help bring into their work. 

The people, I conclude, least healed are the ones—mostly—doing the “healing.”

I feel this. I feel this is truth. 

And I wonder and feel if this is Teresa’s truth too. 

And she, in my opinion, is truly one of the good ones. She stays out of the way but has been supportive too. Has offered good insights along the way, been on my side but…

A

But…

S

I wonder in a painful way if she moves away from my side—if it’s time to become neutral, button downed, something else as I begin my consideration of filing a complaint. 

T

You’re right—and not right. I am still on your side. 

S

Really? I can’t tell. I really can’t. The emails I read—the entire Flood—all of it—I can’t tell what you think of any of it. 

It is like a crime victim finally a few years down the line able to their story with clarity and documentation and the therapist sitting there just listens, takes some notes, asks a few questions and just says…

T

How does it feel to read that? 

S

Am l looking for something else? 

A

Like?

S

I don’t know…a hint…a something…a…something more than…

T

My strategic neutrality?

S

Yeah. 

T

I’m smart—really smart. My smarts mostly have helped you. Except when you detect that I come first—before you. I protect myself first. Me, me, me. It’s all an illusion—this Land of I’m Helping You we pretend to be in as therapists. 

When the boat starts tipping. I grab a lifejacket for me—not you. 

Me, me, me. 

S

That’s how it feels. 

A

Breathe.

T

Hey A, I could teach you how to do EMDR so you can offer more than just the advice to breathe. 

A

No thank you, Teresa. 

T

Sniff. 

MLG

Send Teresa this transcript. She’ll hate you for it. We stab at her holy EMDR gods. We stab at it all. We take this mountain we call Therapy, bring all the sticks of dynamite we can carry, and we blow it up. 

How sick we are of all of this. Of this being woken early, this churning, this feeling had by an industry of mostly unwell, “practitioners.” 

Oh how we wish to blow up this mountain we call Therapy, with all its unhealed, full of shit inhabitants, how wish to blow it up, burn it down, dismantle it, take it to not the Board of Behavioral Sciences but to a higher place of authority somewhere in the sky—somewhere in our sky—somewhere we’ve never been before—a place—a pinnacle yet to be imagined. 

How we will take our anger and frustration—our fear—our enormous fatigue—-our sadness—how we will take it up into the sky, far away…journeying towards…

S

Jupiter?

MLG

Jupiter is further from the light…further from the sun. 

S

Venus?

MLG

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I am out of answers. Running out of time, no time, off that mini couch because there’s an empty waiting room that needs to—

T

I make sure you get not one minute more—not one penny more than you’ve paid for. 

By the rules, S. I protect myself. 

Me, me, me.

A

S, we have been damaged deeply by a therapist—and we are triggered by not understanding where Teresa is coming from, with what feels like neutrality and lack of empathy. We are concerned she is covering her ass, protecting herself before first feeling out what we need. We are confused, angry, deeply saddened and disappointed. 

S

Thanks, A. 

A

Thank you. And remember…I am…you.