Session in the Second Person

June 4, 2010

posted and written by Caroline Picard

what follows is, once more, a continuation of yesterday’s piece entitled (also) THE THERAPIST, which of course was already a continuation from P.I.’s.

The Therapist II.

I notice you bite your fingernails. I notice you twirl your hair when you’re talking. I take it you have trouble making eye contact. I notice you rubbing the thighs of your pants with the palms of your hands. Do you bite the inside of your cheek? I see your fingers are stained. When you roll your eyes I feel like you are avoiding something. You look pale. You are looking at my crotch. We should investigate that.
I notice you make jokes when you’re uncomfortable. Other people don’t make you feel uncomfortable. You make yourself uncomfortable. Do you always dress this way? What do you think you tell people with the way you dress, the way you stand, the way you sit? Making yourself look different is a way to make yourself uncomfortable. You like being uncomfortable. You identify with being an outsider. A misfit. When you were a teenager you cut yourself. Your idiosyncratic attitude is a way to feel special. It’s a way to avoid taking responsibility for your life. It’s a defense mechanism to keep people out. So you won’t ever have to try. So you won’t ever be rejected. So you won’t ever fail.
I notice you don’t like talking about yourself. Put this jump rope around your chair. Loop it around, yes just like that, make a circle. Like an aura. Inside the jump rope is your safe place. Nothing can hurt you inside the jump rope. Now. Tell me what you’re thinking.
I notice you mumble. You don’t annunciate clearly. Would you call yourself a confident person? How often do you speak to your mother, have you told your mother about this are you close to your mother did your father spend holidays with your family or a mistress?
I notice your shorts are very short. I notice you sit with your legs spread. Do you always sit that way? Tell me about your work. Tell me about your friends here. Do you like the people here? Do you like your roommates? Is there someone you’re particularly worried about? Someone who is particulalry violent? Tell me about ghosts. Tell me about the Ouija board. Take this jump rope. Loop it around yourself. Don’t be scared. Inside the jump rope is your safe place. It’s your womb. Here. I brought some stuffed animals especially for you. They were just in my office, this is Garfield. This is Snoopy. This is a Valentine bear. A Smurf. Pick one. Pick as many as you like. You can put them inside of your jump rope and they can protect you. See, Teddy Bear says I love you. He’s holding a heart for you. Now. Tell me. Tell me about your suicidal tendencies. Do you ever want to kill someone?
I notice that you’re nervous. You seem to run your hand through your hair very often. I notice that you’re frustrated. I notice a degree of aggression in your tone. I notice you’ve gained some weight in the last month. How often do you drink? Would you say you use alcohol as an escape? I notice you smell like tiger balm. I notice that your fingers are dirty. I notice that your face is dirty. You smell like sex. You smell like dirty socks. You smell. Are you aware of smelling? Often people who are mourning lose sight of their hygiene. Often people in mourning abuse substances. You have shit on your pants. You have period blood on your ankles. You have semen on your face.

Therapist: I notice you have green hair.
Artist: I don’t have green hair. My hair is black.
Therapist: (laughs) But I can see! You have green hair.
Artist: I do not.
Therapist: You’re insecure and you have green hair.
Artist: Excuse me?
Therapist: I think we’re finished here.

Later the artist would confirm that his hair was not green. Unfortunately, however, and despite it’s obvious inaccuracy (he had always been one of the more confident members of his peer group), he felt especially uncertain about his security. An uncertainty that seemed to confirm her accusation.


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