Female client. Unknown name. Age unimportant (20’s-30’s). Talkative.
Who was the man with her?
I will sometimes have clients bring in their long-term partners, which is usually quite effective.
Whoever the man was, he came for a single purpose: to be introduced to the others.
I soon gathered that I had met with the client at least a dozen times before.
Though I had no recollection of her, I could clearly remember and identify each of the others.
The one called Sandy spoke first today.
Sandy has described herself as snaggle-toothed, potato-shaped, and rather homely or common.
She seems bent on coming across as extremely likeable and easygoing.
I eyed the man in Sandy’s presence, keen to catch his initial reaction.
He shot me back a typical look—one of many I have come to expect from those in his position.
His was the desperate, silent plea of one who would give anything to know the secret behind some impossible trick just witnessed.
I felt no pity for him.
Sandy shared for a few minutes about working at a mall in a cheap jewelry store.
She described some of the tacky ornaments and trinkets preferred by her regular customers.
Next came Reggie.
Reggie tends to present himself as the most male of the others.
He has said he is tall and overweight, with a thick, bushy mustache.
Today Reggie recounted to me and the man how much of an ordeal it had been to make the switch from cop to fireman.
Or was it fireman to cop?
Anyway, Gel was last, always an interesting one.
Gel’s voice is shrill and will bend asymptotically toward various comical accents.
Today Gel told a tale I remembered having heard before about working on the set of a game show until being struck blind by lightning.
I would like to meet with Gel more.
I find liars (or actors) intriguing.
Once Gel was gone, I turned to the petrified man, then back to whatshername, the client.
Such pivotal moments go best if left to simmer in their own dramatic juices.
The trick is to only set and frame, and then wait and watch, and not intervene at all until just before the whole scene boils over.
Yet this time the man beat me to it, which has never happened before.
Really, I let him.
Of course I did.
I was curious.
The man turned to whatshername and blurted out words with exaggerated zeal.
“You know it’s all you, right?
“None of those other people are real!”
Should it concern me how superior to the man I felt in that moment?
I was almost enthralled by how much more of his lover I knew than he did.
His baffled innocence, and the way his voice cut and trembled as he spoke, reduced him to a poor child clutching at reason one last time before breaking down in near tearful despair at a cold world’s sheer unfairness.
I reminded myself that I am a professional.
Of course I would know her better.
That is my job.
I watched the client’s face intently.
We had reached what I refer to as a Sticking or Breaking Point.
Things would now start to go one of two ways: Whatshername would either register with reality, or push to escape it further.
Yet either outcome today would ultimately prove inconsequential.
Let me back up and start at the beginning.
I want you to grasp how simple this all really is.
My goal in these notes is to show my Method in action for purposes of training and future reference.
Most of my clients are not cases of dissociative identity disorders (split or multiple personalities).
Yet using my most important cases as examples, I intend to demonstrate the effectiveness of my Method at treating any number of conditions.
Cases of multiple personalities do, however, serve as great illustrations.
Because those with such tendencies are not actually being dishonest.
Whatshername was never attempting to hide anything from herself when dissociating.
Quite the opposite.
Her other personalities were the parts of her that she most wished to see (or be) for whatever reason.
In every case, my Method is a process that allows unconscious awarenesses and drives to be made increasingly obvious until a Sticking or Breaking Point is reached.
Then the truth is either accepted consciously (it sticks) or avoided.
Whatshername accepted her reality today.
She is now cognizant of all her personalities.
She might even remember being each of them.
Future sessions (if we continue to meet) will center around helping her discover which parts of her identity each manifestation was a representation of as she learns to manage them all at once.
So, who is whatshername?
I realize how strange it must sound for me to say I cannot remember having met with her before.
You see, I have this particular irregularity, which most would assume to be problematic.
Though I work as a psychologist—I meet with individuals (and some couples) throughout each day for therapy—I honestly cannot tell the vast majority of my clients or anyone else apart.
To me, whatshername is but one of a multitude of faces that all appear the same.
Although the idea of a counselor being unaware of who he is even counseling might seem hopelessly irresponsible (perhaps unethical), I believe my irregularity to be the reason I was able to discover and develop my Method in the first place.
I do not see who a person is, but what they are.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I refer to most as Normals.
You probably need no expertise in sociology or statistics to grasp why.
The more of a Normal someone is, the more difficult he or she is for me to identify.
I call non-Normals Outliers.
Not only can I tell Outliers apart, but it is only by working back from my Outlier clients that I can begin to distinguish my Normals.
Outliers serve as magnetic poles to help me find direction in terms of recognizable features.
I have never spoken of my irregularity before.
I bring it up only to contextualize my Method’s initial founding and function.
Much of what you will read would probably make little sense at first without at least a basic understanding of how I see my clients.
Yet I must stress that my Method works exactly the same—just as effectively—in treating both Normals and Outliers.
And you do not have to share my irregularity to use my Method.
If a colleague ever notices my inability to differentiate clients, I usually claim some sort of accident has botched up my files.
This is not a total lie, for my previous case notes are an absolute shambles.
It pains me whenever I stop to think of how many rushed sets of notes I must have scribbled and flung together so flippantly through the years.
In truth, my notes have been so disorganized because they were never necessary.
My Method works without those jotted generalities of interchangeable clients’ progress.
Yet these new instructive notes will be different.
I must say it feels rather cathartic and surreal to see my irregularity expressed on paper for the first time—quite relieving actually, as if a weight has been partly lifted.
I might as well continue to open up this way and share my real experience.
I can always later redact any redundancies.
So, I met with whatshername this afternoon.
What happened before that?
I remember feeling troubled during my first two earlier sessions.
Even when I awoke this morning, my mind felt locked to piddly remnants of what had been a strange and irritating dream.
The dream was…
I only recall seeing coffee . . . my coffee cup . . . but it was big, like a shield or something on my arm.
And there was just the daunting feeling of having no idea how to go about drinking from such a wide brim.
What could it mean?
For months now, I have been coming to grips with the undeniable certainty that therapy is fast becoming an excess luxury for my target demographic.
Obviously the truly wealthy would never grace my office door to have their deepest secrets recorded for analysis.
Those with means understand the ease with which such systems can be compromised.
The fear that their hidden lives might be sold and brought to light is actually quite logical.
No, it is the middle classes I have watched disappear from my appointment books like water drying in the sun.
They simply cannot see what I do as enough of a priority now to be worth what I must charge.
My fear of running out of clients weighed on me this morning because my first appointment was with Mr. and Mrs. Rolman.
I often wonder how the Rolmans are able to afford my services week by week.
Yet how sure am I that it was in fact the Rolmans seated across from me today?
Could it not have been another Normal couple?
Again, so many faces all the same.
Though the lines seem to be blurring exponentially faster.
Well, with less and less clients left to see, I have little left by which to tell my few remaining apart.
I will admit on some level my drive is to compile and publish these new notes before my irregularity gets exposed (and misinterpreted), like a squirrel desperately seeking nuts to store in the face of a long, cold coming winter.
I will certainly have to remove much of what I have written here already.
Such textual adjustments cannot be considered dishonest.
For not only are my personal fears irrelevant, but my primary motivation truly is education and beneficence as stated—not self-preservation.
Besides, I have every reason to trust my Method to continue to work despite however extreme my irregularity gets.
How funny I mentioned my coffee dream this morning.
For I often have another dream related to how I see my clients.
In that other, recurring dream, I can almost make out the words of some whispered conversation always happening far away.
Then I awake each time with only an eerie sense that the undeciphered words were really dark family secrets.
I never had a family.
I do not know my family.
You would think a therapist with no relationships would be at quite a disadvantage, no?
Yet what my Method has proven time and time again is that if human experiences can be aligned and reflected back just right, then the solutions to human problems are always exactly the same.
Such consistent evidence becomes my bedrock core of hope whenever fear prompts me to dig and stall in doubt.
I love my Method because it allows all needless individual details to slip away as entrenched dynamics and patterns essentially present themselves.
Rather than a face or personality, my Method shows a client’s life.
Then I can help them see beyond and beneath all their working sets of conscious commentaries.
Still, it would probably be good if I could find a few more Outliers soon.