Friday, March 28, 2008

My First Experience with a Therapist

I was 16 years old. I was in the habit of listening to this radio show that came on at night. On the show, a well-known local psychologist - let's call him S.F. - would take phone calls from callers seeking his advice.

One night, I worked-up enough nerve to call him myself. I had been struggling with an issue for a while and I wanted his opinion. The issue was that I had been attracted to older men for a long time, and I didn't know how to deal with it. It was a problem for me because I was afraid of telling my parents. Even though I tried dating guys my own age, I found that I was only interested in men many many years older than myself. I really did try dating younger men, but every time I would go on a date with them, I'd find myself disgusted by them, or annoyed. The entire date, I'd have to feign interest, and when they'd drive me back home, they'd sit in the car in the driveway and try to steal a kiss from me, in their own clever ways. I always knew when it was coming, that kiss. They'd stare me in the eyes and start to slowly lean closer. I could feel the disgust building up inside of me. Sometimes I'd escape the kiss by pretending to notice something outside my passenger's side window, and then I'd pretend that I had to hurry inside. Other times I wasn't so lucky, and when they'd kiss me, I'd feel my stomach turn. I could only dream about being kissed by an older, more experienced and more mature man.

This greatly bothered me, that I couldn't find within me an attraction to guys my own age. Really what caused me the most anxiety was knowing that it might upset my parents. So, I snuck around with older men. When I was 16, the oldest man I had a relationship with was 58. There were others. One was a professor at the college I ended up going to. Another was a retired police chief.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to this popular psychologist so that he could help me with my "problem". I was on the radio that night. I can't remember everything he said, but he recommended that I come see him in his office, and that my first visit would be free. So I did exactly that. That week I went to the city and went in for my session. He asked me to give him more details, so I spent about 30 minutes describing my dilemma. His response was to invite me to go on a dinner date with him. He was in his 50s, maybe early 60s, but I was not attracted to him in the least. In fact, he made me feel as if he was sleazy, and I wanted to get out of his office but I didn't know how to tell him. I was very uncomfortable. I went along with it for a while and told him that I'd call him to let him know when I could go with him. Then I got up to leave. He told me to wait a minute, and he disappeared for a few minutes. He came back into the office and handed me a rose. I took it, thanked him and then left. Of course I never called him back, and I never went back for another appointment.

This may have been what caused me problems with my first real therapist a couple years ago, a male who my psychiatrist had set me up with. I don't know if it was a conscious thing on my part, but I kept skipping some of my appointments with him. I would just not show up, and I didn't call him to tell him, either. He never complained about it, but I'm sure it annoyed him; I probably took advantage of his patience. Also, I just quit going to see him without giving him a warning. A few months later, I told my psychiatrist that I'd feel better with a female, although I did tell her that the male psychologist was not at fault. And so, I've been with the same female therapist for a year and four months now, and I haven't skipped any appointments without telling her first.

I was reminded of this bit of my own history as I was watching "In Treatment", tonight. By the way, I've watched all 15 free episodes from Amazon and have already felt withdrawal. They're on episode 41 now, I think. I have no idea when or how I'll get to see the rest of the episodes. I'm hopelessly addicted.

5 comments:

rob said...

In my opinion psychotherapists are far less enlightened than they like to imagine.

I am sorry to hear about your first experience in therapy.
I had a close friend who was assaulted by a psychiatrist.

Siegfried said...

Sophia,
I know what you mean.

Siegfried said...

I must confess I have been in therapy three times. My therapist were all very beautiful women. One became my disciple.

Sophia said...

Rob,

I've heard it said that many psychologists and psychiatrists are crazier than their patients!

Sophia said...

Siegfried,

What kind of spell did you put on her?

;)