My Last Analyst

By Michelle Mairesse

Ms. Conner, this is Pierce Price again. I think you should let me speak to Dr. Gingold.

I've made an appointment--that's not the issue. I merely want to ask him one simple question--call it a pre-appointment question, if you wish. It's a question having to do with my wife.

I know he's busy. I'm busy, too, but this is a simple matter we could settle by telephone, if you would just put me through.

You don't understand. I'm well aware Dr. Gingold doesn't consult by telephone, so, trust me, I'm not asking for a consultation. What I'm asking for is guidelines. My question has to do with what you might call a protocol--that's the word--a protocol for the appointment. Wait, wait! Before you say anything else, I'm sure you believe you can answer my question, but it's not really a question you can answer. It's personal. It's rather delicate, a matter of professional ethics.

No, no, no. I'm not impugning the good doctor's integrity, and I have the utmost confidence in his discretion. But after reading his book--

Yes indeed, I sat up late last night reading it. For somebody who had only two or three psychology classes in college, I've read pretty widely in the field, and I think I can say I have a better-than-average appreciation of psychoanalytic theory. I found Dr. Gingold's book to be quite thought-provoking. But when I got up this morning, I recalled something he said about privacy--I can't remember the exact phrase--and I started to wonder if I was letting myself in for a repeat of what I went through with Dr. Zaleski.

Oh, Dr. Zaleski was my last analyst. He wasted a whole year of my life. I kept hoping Zaleski would give me some insight into the problems I was having with my wife, but he never did, and I traced the reason for his failure directly to his lack of cooperation, his utter refusal to even consider my approach.

No, that's not the question. I'm sure you mean well, but-- Well, here it is. My wife is terribly neurotic. Dr.Zaleski was not very quick to recognize how the erratic behavior of such an individual can affect a marriage. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my unfortunate spouse lives in a looking-glass world, a world of projections, neurotic projections, to be sure. Clara's narcissism, her inveterate self-pity, her dishonesty, her perpetual rationalization of her conduct-- I'm confident that it would all coalesce into a familiar pattern for you if I were to detail some of her behavior, but it's not really necessary because I've made a photocopy of Clara's diary, and I want to know if Dr. Gingold would object to my bringing it to our session.

Oh. All right. Ask him to return my call.