The Sound of a Therapy Session


What might it be like to hear a therapist doing his work? You’ve observed actors and actresses “in therapy,” but listening in on an actual therapy session isn’t quite the same.

Here is as close as you are likely to get to the real deal. Karl Schmidt reads the last chapter from the book, Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy by a major league psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom. Not every word of a session, but close, within the limits of confidentiality. You will get a sense of the “back and forth” dialogue and what goes on in the doc’s head.

Yalom has directed his patient to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor of antiquity and one of the handful of great Stoic philosophers. Yet philosophy seems, on the surface, to be the least of his client Jared’s concerns. Indeed, the man on the couch is struggling with his commitment to a woman (Marie) who has brought this issue to the point of crisis for them both.

I invite you to overhear a doctor who sometimes make mistakes, sometimes apologizes, and sometimes reflects on the state of his own existence in the twilight of his life, while quietly assisting the dermatologist he is treating to envision the world and himself anew.

Issues of being open to treatment are addressed, the patient’s honesty with himself, Yalom’s honesty with Jared, and the importance to this man of what his psychiatrist thinks of him. In other words, the kinds of concerns typical in any dialogue of healing lasting as long as this one (a year).

Improvement in Jared’s life depends upon the extent to which he realizes he must become a virtuous man. Don’t say this doesn’t apply to you until you listen to Jared’s epiphany.

Here you go, but be quiet as you listen: otherwise the doctor and his patient might hear you. 😉