By: Leddy Harper

“What don’t you like about it?”

“The looking. The touching.” Again with the looking and touching. I needed something more.

“Do you not like being touched at all?” I waited for her to answer, and when she didn’t, I reached my hand out and covered hers. She looked down at our joined hands but didn’t move away. “You seem okay with this. So it’s not so much touching that you don’t like. Is it safe to say you strictly don’t like the intimate kind of touching?”

She nodded while continuing to stare at our hands in silence.

“Can I ask you a personal question? Were you ever taken advantage of in any way as a child?”

Her hand jerked away from mine quickly when I asked that. It answered my question. What really surprised me was what she said next. I wasn’t expecting to hear the answer she gave. Most people hint around at it, but they never really say it aloud, so I wasn’t anticipating her to speak.

“No. I wasn’t,” she said firmly.

“Not at all? It’s okay to tell me. I can’t help you if I don’t know what has happened.”

“I’m telling you the truth. I was never molested,” she answered in a raised voice.

I decided to concede, even though I didn’t believe her answer. “It’s okay. Listen, we can work through this. Would you like to set up a session with me? We can start with one and go from there. We can discuss a plan that you feel comfortable with, or we can take it day by day. It’s completely up to you. But I honestly feel that we can work through this. I have done this for a long time and have helped thousands of people overcome their fears and concerns.”

“I still don’t know what it is you do. I mean…” she stammered. “I mean, I know what you do, that’s why I came. I just don’t know what I should expect to get out of this. Will you be touching me? Will we have sex? What should I prepare for?” In her nervousness, she began wringing her hands in her lap without taking one glance up at me.

“Every client is different, Ivy. Everyone comes to me for different reasons. I have practiced psychology before, and that allows me to serve you better. But the difference between the therapist you’re currently seeing and me is I don’t have to follow all of their rules. I am allowed to have relations with my patients… if it pertains to their recovery. Yes, I have touched and had sex with previous clients, but I’ve also treated people without ever having to go there. I work with your current therapist to make sure you’re getting the best treatment customized for you. She doesn’t divulge the things you two discuss during your therapy, and I only inform her of your progress and things I pick up during our sessions. Does that make sense to you? Does that help you have a better understanding of what it is you’ll be doing with me?”

She nodded but didn’t respond verbally. She seemed to be a woman of few words.

“How about tomorrow? Does that work for you?”

Again, she nodded but didn’t speak. It was starting to irritate me.

I guess I would have to do everything. My patience was wearing thin with her lack of response or acknowledgement. I felt like I was having a one-sided conversation and wondered if all of our sessions would be this way. I understood that it was her first visit with me, and that could be scary and intimidating, especially when it came to someone with severe emotional problems. But I needed something from her to go on. So far, she hadn’t given me much. Who was I kidding? She hadn’t given me anything. I could take the miniscule things she had given me and form my own conclusions, which I sometimes did, but I didn’t prefer to do things that way. Things needed to be give and take. I couldn’t give her what she needed, nor could she take anything away from our sessions without her giving me something in return. She needed to participate or we would continue this ridiculous face-off.

I went to my desk and opened my calendar. I found an empty time slot at seven. It was either that or wait another day. I weighed my options and knew if I waited any longer, she would back out. I could tell that she was skittish about procuring help. She probably needed more than just my help, but I knew she needed something. I wouldn’t fail her. “Tomorrow night at seven, meet me here,” I told her, not asking her.

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