Sometimes analysis can be painful as the layers are peeled
back. This is an emergency session with Brian as he begins to deconstruct.
Doctor's Notes: BK called my office, demanding an unscheduled appointment, three days after his last session and four days prior to his next scheduled session. He insisted it was an emergency. I agreed to meet him after normal hours, and he arrived early. He was very agitated, pacing my office, fuming.
Doctor: Sit down, Brian.
BK: I don't fucking want to sit down!
Doctor: I don't hold sessions with tall, angry, volatile men pacing back and forth, working into a rage. Either sit down and calm down, or go home.
Doctor's note:(His eyes were blazing with anger when he focused on me, but he finally slumped into the chair and glared straight ahead, his jaw clenched tightly.)
Doctor: Why are you angry, Brian? Who are you angry with?
Doctor: I see. Why me?
BK: I thought this shit was supposed to help people! Well, it sure as fuck has not helped me! It's worse than not being able to sleep. I have nightmares when I do sleep, and when I'm awake, I feel angry and sad and miserable. I can't think of anything but myself, which is boring. I'm making everyone at work nuts with my mood swings. Fuck you very much, Lydia!
Doctor: First of all, this is normal. Relax.
BK: If I could relax, I wouldn't be here!
Doctor: Give me your hands.
BK: (Tucked hands tightly under crossed forearms.) No!
Doctor: (Holding out hands to him.) Give me your hands, Brian.
Doctor's note: (Reluctantly, he extended his hands to me, and I held them tightly. They felt hot and a little sweaty. He is suffering from great anxiety. His hands vibrated with tension under my grip. I held them tightly for a moment without speaking.This is a calming mechanism that often works well.)
BK: If you ask me to give you my dick next, I'm filing charges, Lydia. (He smiled slightly at his little joke.)
Doctor: (Squeezed his hands.) Look at me, Brian. (Met my eyes) That's good. What you are experiencing is absolutely normal. You're early in your therapy and you're beginning to open doors that have been shut for a long time. Those walls you've built over the course of years are crumbling, brick by brick. You feel vulnerable and scared. You translate those feelings into anger and anxiety. All this means is that you're making progress.
BK: I hate it! I hate being out of control! I hate revealing myself to anyone, even to you! Even to me!
Doctor: (Released his hands as he began to relax.) I know you do, Brian. But the fact that you've found the courage to do so is critical.
BK: I need a cigarette. Please let me have a cigarette, Lydia.
Doctor: If you must, go out in the hall and smoke. I'll wait. But I'm not inhaling your second hand smoke.
BK: (Sighed.) I'll wait. What about water? Is water forbidden?
Doctor: (handed him bottle of water from private stock.) Is Justin still in town?
BK: Thankfully, no.
Doctor: Why 'thankfully'?
BK: He doesn't need to see me bouncing off walls. Can't you give me valium or something?
Doctor: Valium would interfere with your anti-depressants. Let's try to get through this crisis without sedation, Brian. Where did you and Justin leave it when he left?
BK: This isn't about Justin.
Doctor: I didn't say it was, but you must admit the timing is coincidental. He leaves, your worst fears return with a vengeance.
BK: (Staring hard at the label on the water bottle.) I asked him to move here. Move in with me.
Doctor: Why did you do that, Brian?
BK: (Shrugged.) Lonely, I guess. I miss him, okay?
Doctor: Did you tell him that?
BK: No, but he can piece it together since I asked him to move in, right?
Doctor: Sometimes people appreciate it when you state the obvious and confirm what they are thinking.
BK: I'm more of an action guy than a verbal guy.
Doctor: What was his reaction?
BK: He said he would go back to Pittsburgh and talk to his boyfriend about it. Owes him that much, he said.
Doctor: How did that make you feel?
BK: (Hesitated. Smoothed palms up and down thighs, stared out the window at the night.) Frankly? Nervous.
Doctor: What makes you most nervous, Brian? That he'll choose his current boyfriend, or that he'll choose you?
BK: (Met my eyes and held my gaze) Very clever, Lydia.
Doctor: Answer me honestly, Brian. Which do you fear most?
BK: (long pause) I don't fucking know.
Doctor: Does that ambivalence concern you?
BK: It confuses me. For a year now, I've missed him. I've wished he were here. But now that I have a chance, I'm feeling very cautious about him.
Doctor: Why 'cautious'?
BK: Because he...he...(Stopped. Searching for a word. He looks anxious and frustrated.)
Doctor: He what, Brian?
BK: He fucking HURT me.
Doctor: Good, Brian. You admited it. You were hurt. BK: He left me for another man! Hell yes, I was hurt! I'm not a god damned robot! I have feelings.
Doctor: Is it that you want him back or is it that you want to know you have the power to lure him away from this rival?
BK: I was happy when he was here. I'm just afraid of what it means if he moves back in.
Doctor: What are your fears?
BK: That we'll slip into that same pile of crap.
Doctor: Describe that crap.
BK: If he resents the fact I'm not a romantic fool, bringing him flowers and chocolates. If I start to feel cornered. If we're both fucking around. If no one is really happy.
Doctor: Do you see an alternative to that outcome?
BK: What do you mean? That we become gay heterosexuals, living in some monogamous denial, recreating the nuclear family on Planet Men Only?
Doctor: Is that how you view the alternative?
BK: I don't believe in monogamy.
Doctor: Why not?
BK: It's not natural. Men need multiple sexual outlets.
Doctor: Why is that?
BK: It's the herd instinct. The male has a herd of females. No one finds it strange that the lion fucks the whole pride or the stallion fucks the whole herd. With humans, we've been boxed into believing one by one is the way. It's not true of 'hets' and it's damned not true of gays.
Doctor: It's not true of you, specifically, Brian.
BK: That's right.
Doctor: Is it true of Justin?
BK: Obviously not. He fucked around on me and now he's fucking around on his present lover with me.
Doctor: So you get great joy out of promiscuity, is that it?
BK: (Silent.) I get off on it.
Doctor: Not talking about an orgasm, Brian. I'm talking about satisfaction of your sense of self, your larger needs.
BK: I can't answer that.
Doctor: Why not?
BK: I don't know the answer.
Doctor: I think you do, but we'll come back to that. Are you afraid if Justin comes back to you that it might not work out and that this time he'll leave you forever?
Doctor: Let me talk to Justin, have a session with him, get his point of view. And then the three of us will meet.
BK: (Looking startled by this suggestion.) You can't tell him any of this!
Doctor: Of course not. I am bound by professional ethics to never repeat anything we discuss, Brian. I want to listen to him, not inform him. The analyst often talks to those closest to the person undergoing therapy.
BK: (Relieved.) I don't know if he'll want to do that.
Doctor: I suspect he will. If he can't come here, which I think is best, we can do it over the telephone.
BK: I don't know, it makes me uneasy.
Doctor: Get over it, Brian. It's all part of treatment.
BK: (Met my eyes and laughed.) I'll ask him. I wouldn't mind flying him in for a meeting. But it may be moot. He may have already made his decision and I lost.
Doctor: If so, we'll deal with that, Brian.
BK: (Looks surprised by that statement.) It would be the first time I didn't have to deal with something on my own.
Doctor: That's why you pay me the big bucks.
BK: (laughed.) Okay, you made me feel better. Thanks, Lydia.
Doctor: Let's get this straight, Brian. I'm not here to be your new best friend. I'm not here to soothe you, empathize with you, tell you everything will be alright. I'm here as a professional, to help you help yourself. To help you recognize your issues and learn how to cope with them. You understand the difference?
BK: I understand. You don't give a shit about me as a person, it's your job.
Doctor: That's untrue. I do give a shit about you as a person. I give enough of a shit that I want to see you well and functioning at full capacity. But the happiest I will ever be with you is when I can tell you, 'Brian, you don't need to come here anymore'.
BK: (Nodded.) I get it. Thanks, doc.
Doctor: Think about having Justin talk to me. If you decide to do it, set something up with Delores. I'll tell her to work him in.
BK: I'll think about it.
Doctor: See you in a few days, Brian. If you start to crater before then, call.
BK: I'll be alright.
Doctor: Don't be falsely brave. Call. I mean it.
End of transcript.
Doctor's Notes: BK is experiencing a common stage of therapy in which he feels great anger and anxiety over the systematic destruction of his defenses. This is a positive progression. These feelings are complicated by his ambivalence over the reappearance of his lover, JT, in his life. While he desperately wants a relationship with JT, he senses he is not emotionally prepared at this stage to change the behaviors that drove JT away earlier. Therefore, he intuitively believes a reunion would end in disaster. Worse for BK is the thought that such a destruction could be permanent. I suggested a meeting with JT. I would like to gauge both his maturity level and his commitment. JT needs to understand the mechanics of analysis and go into this relationship, if he so chooses, with his eyes open. No miracle transformations are around the corner. BK is considering that meeting. Unless JT is fully committed to this course of treatment for BK, the chances of success for them as a couple are reduced.
|Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004