Do Not Resuscitate: A Debate About Consent

Suzanne was frustrated by the bureaucratic government that decided an arbitrary limit on how many sessions sexual assault victims could go to simply because of budget constraints not a consideration of whether they made enough progress. The victim felt guilty at first, defending her adult, married assalent like a “defense attorney.” She described herself as innocent, rarely drinking or smoking with honor roll, but that this night, she was as guilty as he was because she was so passive. She wrote the truth in her journal, buried deep inside her backpack. Suzanne immediately gave off a concerned, sympathetic vibe because she said she wasn’t ready to talk but that she couldn’t help it when Suzanne looked at her in her eyes simply saying “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” Suzanne helped with police statements, court cases and the other semantics. Suzanne made it clear that the limited charges of fourth degree sexual offense instead of rape was in no way indicative of the truth of the matter. Suzanne gave her a sense of being heard and believed, unlike the law. The therapist also did a good job of prodding enough that other things came out; her parents were divorced and she had a boy in her life who wouldn’t commit to dating but kept her around with well placed affection. Suzanne clearly explained to the young girl that love is an action and that she didn’t have to commit to this pseudo-boyfriend. Between the rape and this boyfriend, Suzanne helped her realize her self worth and that she has agency over her sexuality. “She cleared the path for the woman I am going to be.” She was a victim’s advocate and life coach and she wanted to hug Suzanne but was afraid she would reject the gesture. At the end of the sessions, she went in and asked Suzanne to hug which she did, and the emotions were overpowering as Suzanne was able to say “You’re a good person, Allison. You are better than what happened to you.” Allison stopped smoking (the cigarettes were a symbol of the event because he gave them to her) and she also stopped seeing the pseudo boyfriend. She was given all the important advice, she took it, and the emotional hug at the end. While she would never completely recover, in the sense that her childhood is shrouded with that memory, she maintained the ability to keep herself in a better place by doing the right things, despite it being hard at times. Suzanne taught Allison to reach out and express needed emotions.

The beginning talks about how a therapist is like a dwindling safety net as the termination process ultimately leads to being released back into the wild. The therapist enjoys seeing future wedding cards, gifts, obituaries and whatever else indicates how the client progressed after being terminated from therapy. She also likes seeing old clients in public as she always remembers them, without fail. Authentic connections however brief, last forever. The therapist compares the termination to a break up as sometimes it is sudden, by text or simply by disappearance and the client never responding again. These are the worst for therapists as the lack of closure is difficult to tolerate. Also the “lifers” are the ones with such a traumatic history that they should be entitled to a lifetime worth of therapy. Psychotherapy was compared to ongoing “spiritual hygiene” Clients become therapists so that they never leave therapy- this is interesting and surprising as one might think that someone who went to therapy would not be able to reverse roles and help others when they themselves are hurt or damaged. The crow metaphor was interesting as well, however, it was not very informative of real life therapy as it is more the idea of being rehabilitated and visiting the center that helped you after you are strong enough on your own to leave. This therapist lets his clients go if they want to leave, that is, they will not stop someone who resists by leaving just as it gets hard and beneficial. Other therapists might but that is wrong because clients should feel autonomous and in control of their respective destinies. Watching clients fly away is bittersweet as it is good that they can leave but you can never truly predict how well they will do in the wild.

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