Wednesday, 14 March 2012
A group of girls meet at a typical cool, Madrid café/bar. One of the women is urged to recount her latest escapades with her shrink. She begins with an extravagant swinging of her legs wide open and explains that in their last session, her shrink (also a woman) instructed her (the patient) to approach for a full body, maternal embrace. The shrink had opened her legs (as the patient reenacted for us) and arms to make space for the patient to snuggle up and receive good, maternal vibes.
The group of girls, including the patient and including me, laughed at the awkward discomfort the patient must have felt at that moment of forced consolation.
My shrink has been trying to get me to make some kind of primal noises. There is a padded room next to her office. The floor is wall to wall mattresses and is littered with throw pillows and children's dolls. It is a colourful place full of blues and reds and yellows and greens. There is a sliding metal door on the other side of the main door. It seems a tarted-up loony bin.
This is the room where the shrinks in the centre bring their subjects to make disturbing noises. My shrink tried to get me into this room two weeks ago. "No, no. I'm not really ready for that." I stammered. I have tried to give the impression of being a cerebral client; that I don't go in for the primal screaming type of thing. She accepted my rejection with grace. This week, after I had said something about something, she fixed me with a compassionate stare and asked, "how did that make you feel? ... why? ... maybe you need to give that feeling a place of its own. Are you ready to go next door?"
I wonder how many patients go into that room (go into this type of 'treatment') purely out of shrink-pressure.
I am happing talking until I am blue in the face, but please don't try to make me grunt or moan or quiver; I'm just fine with my own language (or Spanish). I say in my head, whilst I'm lead next door.
After I huff and puff for a couple of minutes and bang my fists half-heartedly against the mattresses (again at the shrink's request), I stop the banging to cry.
"I don't wwww www wannntt to do this."
The shrink opens her legs and arms and beckons me into a maternal hug.
As I sit there with my mascara running onto my shrink's pretty autumnally-orange coloured sweater, I think, "What kind of person wants to do this job? Maybe a lesbian, but she's no lesbian. What of the patients whom she doesn't like? Can you give this kind of hug to someone you don't like? You can't like everyone .. surely you will have a patient you think is a twat .. are you going to invite them to whimper all over your nice blouse?"