Thursday, 13 August 2015

Why is Dorothy Donald like a household appliance? (Or, Session Five)

This is another guest post from Dorothy Donald

There’s that awful old joke, isn’t there? Well, there are thousands. But I mean the one about the television repair guy (it’s always a man, never a woman; that seems to be the way it is in Old-Joke World).

You know the one: He arrives at the house, studies the broken TV for a bit, then produces a hammer from his bag and whacks the TV on its side. It immediately starts working again and he swiftly presents a bill for £200.

“Two hundred pounds?” says the TV’s owner. “All you did was hit it with a hammer!”

So he hands over an itemised bill: ‘Hitting machine with hammer: £5. Knowing exactly where to hit it: £195.’

Anyway, that’s exactly what came to my mind when I was sitting with Neil* today, tying myself in knots over whether I had a good enough reason to feel the way I feel about someone and Neil – who I can’t help but notice I’m paying £60 an hour – said “Are you maybe overthinking this, Dorothy?”

And instantly the picture was clear.

I had to laugh.

(I’ve gone out of sequence a bit with the sessions because I’m just writing stuff as it comes to me, when I have time. But today was Session Five and it looked a lot more like I thought CBT was going to look than the sessions before. There was talk of specific behaviours and what makes things worse and what makes thing better and writing stuff down in a fairly formulaic way that I recognised from books and so on. But it all clearly built on the groundwork we did in sessions 1-4. And it didn’t matter that I couldn’t remember any of Session Three, because Neil had notes. He read some of them back to me in Session Four. More on that later maybe.)

* Not my therapist’s real name. But it’s too clunky to write about our sessions when he doesn’t have a name at all.

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