Two Movie Scripts,
One Quest for The Key, and A City Girl’s Love of Trees
Below are two original movie scripts. Scenarios of the two are very different therapy sessions. Betcha’ can guess which script I endorse.
Version 1: genre – Horror
THERAPY OFFICE – 2ND SESSION WITH NEW THERAPIST – 5 pm.
NEW THERAPIST – played by almost anyone — EXCEPT BY ME
CLIENT – played by perhaps someone you know
(excitedly) During last week’s session, you mentioned that you’ve experienced some things in your past that are difficult to talk about. Let’s talk a bit deeper about this. I’d like to hear more about it.
(guarded) Ummm. I’d rather not. It’s not really relevant. I’ve come to see you because my physical pain has been so bad that I’m feeling depressed.
It’s important for me to understand your past experiences, so that you can heal, and then move on. (pause) So that we can understand the root cause.
(quiet. fear and trepidation)
Last session you told me that you’ve been having trouble sleeping. Sometimes due to body pain. Sometimes due to worrisome thoughts. I think these are both related to the past experiences that you do not want to talk about.
(still quiet. nothing. tautness on face. feeling pressured.)
(probes some more) You said one of these things that you cannot talk about happened in your childhood. That since that time you’ve been anxious, having difficulty sleeping.
(suddenly… burst out into tears. sobs for minutes on end.
(quiet. staring. Hmmm. quiet. staring.) How do you feel?
(would like to curse out this New Therapist for digging in where not allowed, and for not honoring request to cease line of discussion. But says nothing because does not think has the right to say these things. Instead, angrily) Well. How do you think I’m feeling?
Anger. Great. We’ve made a break through. Yes! Get angry! This is good! (pause.) Now, tell me. What happened that is causing you to cry?
(sobbing continues. head in hands.)
Minutes pass in silence, save for client sobbing. Therapist nods head continuously. Silent. More minutes pass.
Ok, our time is up. Great work today. I think you’ve made great progress. I’ll see you same time next week.
(between shaky breaths) What do I do now? I feel terrible. I can’t stop crying.
Yes. (nodding head.) Think about it some, and we’ll pick it up next week.(motions towards the closed therapy office door.) I’ll see you next week. (stands up. motions with hands to move client along towards the door.)
(stands up. hyperventilating slightly, sobbing slowly.)
Client leaves the office, sees people in the waiting room. Some make eye contact. Client feels like a walking open wound, vulnerable to every element in the world.
Cut to client leaving office building, cold gust of wind causing client to bend into wind to protect self, tensing up body even more, exacerbating physical pain.
Cut to the following morning, sun shining through bedroom window. Client in bed, reaches over to bedside table for pain relief medication and glass of water, wincing in pain.
Rewrite of “The Session”
Version 2: genre – Drama, Comedy, History, Adventure
Setting: YOUR HOME – 2ND SESSION WITH NEW THERAPIST – 5 p.m.
Scene: Client and New Therapist meeting via video session.
NEW THERAPIST – played by ME
CLIENT – played by YOU.
Hi! How are you? It’s good to see you!
I’m ok. (holding back a bit, reserved)
I know that during last week’s session we lightly touched on the topic of some difficult experiences in your life, as well as symptoms of pain and worry. How was that for you?
Well, it did bring up some stuff for me. But it’s ok.
Yes, it’s not easy talking about, or maybe even thinking about hard times, let alone with someone you don’t know yet.
I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you what you can expect in your therapy session with me. Is that okay, or is there something pressing for you that you’d like to discuss right now?
No, it’s okay. (a bit relieved)
I think of therapy as a collaborative effort, in which we are working together… as a team.
You have rights… you have a say in how you want your treatment to go. I know that you know you best.
Oh. That’s different. What do you mean? (surprised)
Here’s an example. You and I will develop goals together. I will always check in with you to see if you still think your goals are accurate. Or if they need to be tweaked, or totally changed.
I’ll also check in with you to see if I am understanding you correctly when you are telling me something, so that I really know what you’re experiencing.
That sounds… good.(slightly hopeful)
You can also expect that, in every session, we will explore a possible way for you to feel better, based on what you are coping with at that given time. We’ll be able to practice that skill together. And you’ll be able to use it and continue to practice it during the week. My goal is to get you to start feeling better immediately.
I like it. I’m excited! (genuinely excited)
End of session occurs. Client and Therapist exchange “goodbyes,” confirm next session’s date and time. Client closes the laptop.
There’s a glimpse of the kitchen behind, as client stands up. With a slight smile on face, turns around. Walks deeper into the home while fade to black. There’s the faint sound of clinking pans. Client is humming. It appears that dinner preparation is beginning.
Hi there! If you guessed that my style is most like the rewrite of The Session (genre: Drama, Comedy, History, Adventure – Not Horror), then congratulations! You are correct.
What Makes Me Tick.
Since childhood, I’ve felt achingly drawn to the idea of finding “the key to happiness.” Through a myriad of life experiences, the key very often eluded me. It is this quest that led me to my path as a psychotherapist.
Providing therapy over many years has enabled me to be of assistance to those in need. It’s also given me much insight into what makes people happy, getting me closer to my lifelong mission.
I am forever grateful to all my past and present clients. For each one who has shared his/her inner life with me, I’ve been very fortunate to glean his/her unique wisdom.
In a large part due to my experiences as a psychotherapist, I am closer to understanding the key to happiness. Thus far, my evolving conception of the key to happiness combines the following philosophies:
- With purpose, comes happiness.
- One of our purposes is to live our best life.
- We are all messy, beautiful works in progress. No matter what we’re experiencing today, we can find the rhythm of life in it. We can learn something from our experience and can use it to help us become the best version of ourselves.
- We are all connected to one another. We are here on earth to help better one another… by way of being productive, providing: support, a service, entertainment, education, access to goods, or any other gift that can be bestowed upon another human being.
- A productive human is a happier human.
About my psychotherapy background.
I am a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who holds an “R” Privilege license in Psychotherapy.
My professional career as a psychotherapist spans more than 25 years. These many years of experience provided me the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people from different cultural and experiential backgrounds, and a wide range of symptoms including: anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, ADHD, obsessions and compulsions, panic attacks, phobias, trauma, bereavement, life transitions, chronic pain, medical issues, substance abuse and severe and persistent mental illness.
I’ve enjoyed working with entertainers, artists, business owners, professionals, first responders, teachers, college and grad students, stay-at-home parents, and retirees.
For my education and certification, please see FAQ “What is your professional training and experience?”
And even more about me:
I was born and raised in the Bronx. My childhood summers were spent in Upstate New York, where the trees and grass are expansive.
I’ve worked in each of the five boroughs of New York City. I’ve lived in four of them. At heart, I’m a little bit city and a little bit country.
A stone’s throw outside of New York City is where I now call home, with my family, including my two dogs. The trees and grass are plentiful, and the City is minutes away.
My favorite day – a summer day spent in my backyard. Relaxing, connecting with family and friends. In the grass, under the trees.