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All persons here depicted, except public figures depicted as public figures in the background, are figments of my imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
"Remember them? I can't forget them."
[5 min. 36 sec]
"Can you tell me one?"
"They're all the same. I'm lying in bed with my nightie pulled up. Strange men are looking at me."
"We're almost out of time. We'll talk about this next week."
"On our last visit, you were telling me about your dreams."
"Not really. I mean that I told you about the men looking at me. What I didn't tell you is that I'm playing with myself."
"You're masturbating in the dream? And men are watching you?"
"Yes. And I can't stop."
"Well, these men. Are they merely an audience that you have made up of generic men? Are they people you recognize? Either in real life -- teachers or salespeople -- or actors in movies or TV?"
"What does this have to do with my eating anyway?"
"To eat more than you need and then vomit it out is contrary to the best nutritional advice. You knew this when you met me, didn't you?"
"So, if you do that when you know better, there must be a reason. I'd guess that the reason is something that concerns you."
"It doesn't have to be this."
"No it doesn't. But, usually, our dreams reflect what concerns us. You have this dream; it probably deals with something which concerns you."
"Maybe the binge-purge is about something else."
"Maybe. More likely, it's how you -- subconscious you -- deal with any number of concerns. I've read fiction in which the client suddenly sees something. He's instantly cured. I've never seen that in my practice; I've never read it in the psychiatric journals. I suspect it only happens in bad fiction."
"Can we talk about something else?"
"Sure we can. If it's something which concerns you less, though, it is less likely to be the cause of your problem."
"I can't talk about it."
"What do you worry about when you're in school? . . ."
"Have you had the dream again since your last visit?"
"Yes. two, no three, times."
"You know, you talk as if this dream bothers you. Even if it's not connected to the binge-purge, talking it out might lay it to rest."
"You really won't let go, will you? The men are perfect strangers."
"Are they looking on in disapproval? Getting a peek at a girl acting sexy? Just looking in your direction without expressing anything?"
"They are shocked."
"You say 'men.' Are they all males?'
"Yes. They are all men."
"You say that you don't know them in real life. They are your dream creations; you might know a great deal about them even if they are not based on anyone in particular. Do you know what sort of men they are?"
"They are wearing business suits. Look, Dr. Barnes, this is as far as I can go."
"Very well. Have your parents been pushing you in a way that you consider unreasonable recently? . . ."
"We were talking about your dream on our last visit."
"I should have asked you this earlier. Has anything like this happened to you in real life? Not the audience of strange men, but have you ever been caught masturbating?"
"That would cast the dream in an entirely different light. And that was neither a 'yes' nor a 'no.'"
"I don't play with myself."
"Except when you are dreaming."
"And you say that you can't stop. Does that mean that you reach a climax in the dream?"
"No. I just go on and on."
"You say you have your nightie pulled up. I presume the sheet is put aside."
"You know, I never asked what happened to the sheet -- and blanket in the winter."
"Dreams involve what is important to the dream. Is your room not there, either?"
"I guess. The men aren't standing on the dresser or anything."
"And you share the men's disapproval? I'm guessing from the way you expressed that you didn't masturbate."
"I'm a good girl. I'm not crazy for all I'm seeing you."
"You're not crazy. Craziness doesn't have anything to do with masturbation in most cases. You don't think that masturbation leads to insanity, do you?"
"No. Does it?"
"No, I didn't think you thought so. It was a popular idea long ago, but before my time -- let alone yours. The other point is that lots of good girls masturbate."
"You think I should?"
"I don't mean that you should or that you should't. 'Should' isn't my job. My profession avoids the 'shoulds.'"
"You said I shouldn't eat too much."
"Yes. As an example. The idea is that you make your decisions. My job is to help you see the options before you and to help you see the decisions you have already made."
"You sounded like you were suggesting it."
"That's because you have made a moral judgment that I haven't made. I also haven't made the opposite moral judgment."
"You think it is all right."
"Sort of 'yes.' I think it is a decision that many women make for positive reasons. They want sexual pleasure. For one of many reasons, they don't want a sexual relationship at that particular moment."
"Like what reasons?"
"We're getting off the point. You're talking about others rather than talking about Pamela. But I'll go along this byway for now. Some women are in a relationship which can't be sexual at the time; their chosen man is out of town, for example. Others are waiting for better choices than are available at the current time. Are you in a sexual relationship?"
"While I avoid 'shoulds,' I do think that is the wisest course at your age."
"I won't ever."
"Have you decided to never get married?"
"That's not what you mean."
"That's part of what I mean. A marriage is usually a sexual relationship. Some of the women who don't want to be in a sexual relationship right now are engaged. They don't want to participate in intercourse until after their wedding."
"And you think?"
"That this is their decision. Theirs and the grooms', of course. I don't get a vote. I don't get a vote on your behavior, either; but, as I said, I think that a girl your age is wise to delay intercourse. The results are seldom positive."
"But you don't say it is immoral."
"Never say 'never.' Many high-school girls having intercourse are being exploited by the boy. Almost all of the rest are in a relationship in which both ar acting destructively. Can there be sexual relationships before high-school graduation which are healthy? Certainly. The problem is that every high-schooler in a sexual relationship -- every one in a romantic relationship, for that matter -- thinks that they are the exceptions. Almost none of them are. But we've wandered far into the general, and this time it's my fault."
"You don't think kids are very smart, do you?"
"'Smart' has nothing to do with it. Having destructive relationships has nothing to do with IQ. For that matter, it has nothing to do with age. I've seen couples in their fifties locked together in mutually destructive relationships. Experience has a little to do with it. Sometimes, people say: 'I've felt like this before.' Sometimes they say: 'I've known other people like that.' Society has a lot to do with it, too. I don't think marriages were less successful when the average groom was 16 than they are when the average groom is 26, but 16-year-olds could get a decent job in those days. Today, a couple as young as 16 are heading for trouble. Anyway, you are smart; does it help you?"
"Not very much. It just lays more demands on me. But that is school-smart; it isn't smart."
"Maybe. That is something to talk about on our next visit."
"Have you had the dream in the past week?"
"Yes. Aren't we going to talk about being smart?"
"You are an intelligent girl. That helps you a great deal in understanding books. It can help you to understand yourself, but you have to work at it."
"It doesn't help others understand me."
"No. What we are seldom helps how others behave. What we can handle is how we behave."
"I don't see how understanding myself will help with how my teachers treat me."
"Maybe not. It does help with how you treat yourself. And, after all, your English teacher has you in her power for five hours a week; she's worrying about a score of other students in that time. You are inside your skin 168 hours a week and pay attention to yourself most for almost every one of those hours. Besides, if you understand yourself, you may start understanding the behaviors that the teachers respond to."
"So you think it's all my fault."
"Not at all. I think that you can control Pamela. You can change how Pamela acts. When you see others reacting to you, you can decide whether to change the way you act to change that. But, anyway, the problems you've laid out to me don't concern those others directly. Your parents and your teachers aren't stuffing your mouth; they aren't sticking their fingers down your throat. They don't make you have that dream."
"I can't change having that dream! I've tried."
"Maybe you can't. Maybe you can. What methods have you tried?"
"I've told myself not to. I've tried to keep awake. I've prayed. I even tried to keep the light on."
"The last is an interesting point. But having tried some things doesn't mean that there are no things that could work."
"I've tried everything I can think of. What else is there?"
"Good question. Let me get a little clearer on the dream. You mentioned that you normally sleep with the light off."
"In the dream, the watching men are shocked. That implies that they can see you."
"I suppose. I don't know where the light comes from."
"On the other hand, you're in your bed -- both in reality and in the dream. What other parts of the dream agree with reality? The sheet, as you've said, is not there?"
"In the dream, your nightie is pulled up. Is it really pulled up while you are dreaming?"
"I suppose so."
"In the dream, your hand is between your legs. Is it there in reality?"
[2 min. 23 sec.]
"In the dream, you're rubbing yourself. When you lie there in bed while dreaming, do you think you're really rubbing yourself?"
"Do you think you're really rubbing yourself?"
[1 min, 17 sec.]
"Maybe. I can't talk about this."
"All right. Think about this for the next week. What do you need that the dream supplies?"
"I said I wouldn't talk about that!"
"We won't talk about that today. Change of subject. Do you lock your door when you go to bed?"
"No. My room doesn't have a lock."
"Does your parents' bedroom have a door which locks?"
"Yes. What do you think?"
"How does the lack of a lock on your door make you feel?"
"I have complained about it. They treat me like a little girl, a prisoner. That's not the only way I'm treated like a little girl. Most of my friends have their own numbers in the phone book."
"And you don't?"
"No. I have a cell, but you only know the number if I tell you."
"Back to the lock. You remember that I told you that I wouldn't repeat to your parents anything you told me without your permission."
"You want to talk about what I've told you?"
"No. The truth is a little stronger than what I express at first. I don't tell them anything unless you ask me to. Do you want me to mention that you resent the lack of privacy that not having the lock symbolizes?'
"Well, I won't bring it up until you ask me to. . . ."
"Have you thought about the dreams since our last visit?"
"I've had one. What's to think about?"
"About whether one part of you thinks you need the masturbation. About whether another part of you provides the disapproving audience to satisfy another need."
"That seems silly."
"Does it? Do you believe that masturbation is wrong?"
"Sure do, whatever you think."
"Then is it silly that the part of you that believes that it is wrong provides some dream people to express disapproval?"
"You mean my conscience?"
"I'm trained to call it the 'superego.' 'Conscience' is as good a term."
"Then you think the dream is to stop me."
"Or to punish you. Do you think that's possible?"
"'Maybe' is as good as that sort of idea gets. Maybe it is correct, and you then ask what that explanation tells you that you can do or what you can change."
"You mean that if I believed that it was all right, I wouldn't have that dream?"
"If you really believed that it was perfectly moral to masturbate, you well might not have that dream. But what you believe is quite hard to change."
"Telling myself it is all right wouldn't work?"
"I would be tremendously surprised if it did. After all, every time you have that dream, you are punished for masturbation -- shamed for that behavior. How are you going to learn that the behavior is moral while being shamed for it?"
"That's no solution."
"Probably not. Could you look for a solution at the other end?"
"Another part of you -- I'm trained to call it the id -- wants sensual stimulation so much that it takes over your hand while you are asleep. Can you think of any way to give it this stimulation outside of a dream?"
"You mean actually play with myself?"
"If the interpretation of your dream is right -- and you thought it might be -- then you are actually masturbating now. This would mean doing it while you are awake."
"Your superego agrees totally. The question is whether you are going to choose to agree with your superego or with your id."
"And you think I should agree with the it?"
"'It' is as good a word as any. 'Id' is simply the Latin form of that word. I don't think you should agree with one or the other; I do think you should choose."
"You sure zero in on that dream. You talk about it, ask about it, every week."
"I have the idea that it is important to you. You have tried to change it, going to the extent of trying to go without sleep to avoid the dream. Going without sleep is serious. It's also a bad idea when you have school the next day."
"It's no more important than the binge-purge. That's why my dad hired you."
"Now, Pamela, tell me one reason your parents didn't ask me to help you with this dream."
"You don't think they know about it? There is only one way that they could have learned."
"That they don't know about it is one very good explanation for their not having asked me to help you with it. Which is what I asked. I never suggested telling them about it."
"You talked about talking to them."
"About the lock on your door. And only if you asked. Your parents don't ask what we talk about, do they?"
"If they do, tell them that I have asked you particularly not to answer that question. I'm asking you now. Please don't report anything we discuss unless we have to delay or reschedule a visit."
"Anyway, playing with myself is wrong."
"And doing it while awake is worse than doing it while asleep?"
"Is the choice of the greater wrong more important than avoiding the dream? Always remembering that this isn't a sure way of avoiding the dream."
"I don't know."
"That's a fair answer. Actually, I would have been worried if you had answered definitely. Think about this for the next week. Meanwhile, I want to play a word game with you. I'll say a word, and you say the first word that jumps into your mind. . . ."
"On our last visit, Pamela, we were talking about your dream. Before I go on, I'd like to ask if you remember any other dreams."
"It's the only one I have."
"It's the only one you remember. Some people don't remember any dreams. We all have them every night. What I want you to do is to get a pad of paper or a notebook to put beside your bed. When you wake up in the morning, or if you wake up during the night, try to remember any dreams you have had that night. If you remember one, write it down. If it's that one, simply write a big 'X.' Can you do that?"
"All right. Have you decided what you are going to do about the dream that you have mentioned?"
"I suppose I'm going to follow your suggestion. After all, Dad's paying you all that for your suggestions."
"Now, do you want me to talk to your parents about the lock?"
"I don't think so. Do you think they would come in?"
"I'm certain they won't. And, if they ever did, you would be under the sheet wouldn't you? And in the dark?"
"To be honest, I never thought that they would come in. What I thought is that you might worry that they might come in. That's what a lock is for. It doesn't keep people out; it lets you know that they are kept out."
"I don't have that worry."
"Fine. If you later decide that you want the symbol of a lock for any reason, tell me."
"I don't suppose that offer is good for a phone-book listing."
"Not really. I can say that you want something any time you ask me to convey the message. I don't think it would have much effect unless I say that I think you are right."
"Thanks. I guess."
"And, if your superego can provide a disapproving audience, your imagination can provide an approving audience. Do you own stuffed animals?"
"I don't play with them any more."
"But do you have them in your room?"
"Those are creatures which you have hugged and comforted in the past. They are certain to want you to have comfort now. If your superego tries to bring a group of disapproving people into your imagination, you prepare a group of those who approve."
"Then let's go back to the word game. . . ."
"Pamela, was it a good week?"
"So - so."
"Did you try the method of dealing with your dream?"
"Doctor, I don't think I can talk you any more."
"It's awfully early for that. Do you want to go back to the word game for a brief time?"
"No. I mean you! I can't talk with you about anything, ever again. I would have asked Mom not to take me, today, but she would have asked why."
"Well, that was only a brief respite. Because I am going to ask. Why do you want to stop?"
"Well. . . I did what you suggested. And I imagined somebody who approved. But, the thing is . . . . Nobody approves. Everybody else knows it is wrong. Even the kids, if they don't way that playing with yourself is bad, they giggle about people who do."
"And. . . ."
"And only one person approves. That's you. So, when I played with myself in the dark room, I pictured you watching."
"Did that help?"
"I really think it did, but. . . ."
"You don't want to talk with the man who saw you do that."
"Do you understand that I wasn't really there? That, if I had been, I would not be judging you?"
"That doesn't make a difference."
"I can understand that. Now, the question is what do we tell your parents?"
"You're not going to tell them?"
"The real reason? Hardly. But they will ask some reason. You don't want to tell them that you want to change. So I have to suggest the change."
"You'd do that for me?"
"You are my patient, even if you won't be after this visit. Now, I will not tell them that I think you are cured, because I don't. I can suggest a change of analyst."
"That is okay."
"Which means that you would be seeing another analyst. Would you prefer a woman? . . . "
The End Visits Uther Pendragon nogardnePrethU@gmail.com 2009/10/29 Thanks to Denny for editing this Another all-dialogue story: "Uxorial" The index to almost all my stories is: Index to Uther Pendragon's Website