Story codes: Inc, Mf (14), non-con
Summary: In which we learn fourteen-year old Bethany Michaels, who has been subjected to unwelcome sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, is under the therapeutic care of Dr. Leo Cohen. We also learn his methods are a bit…unorthodox.
"Bethany, why don't you tell me how the past week has gone?"
"Pretty much the same, Dr. Cohen. Don is an asshole, my mother goes to great lengths to pretend nothing is going on, and here I am again for another therapy session."
"I see. You haven't tried to ‘set your mother straight’ again have you?"
"No. That sure didn't work last time. Instead of leaving Don, or calling the cops, she put me in therapy. She absolutely refused to believe any of it. And you don't seem to be interested in reporting Don, either. I thought you were supposed to report this kind of abuse. Isn't that the law?"
"Bethany, we discussed this during your first session, what, six weeks ago now? This is a 'family therapy and personal growth' practice. We aim to keep families together and to help them all live happily. We also work on improving individuals' coping strategies and mindsets. Only in the most hopeless cases would we resort to any action that might remove a member from the family setting -- either through incarceration or institutionalization."
"You mean like throwing Don in jail for sexually abusing his fourteen-year-old stepdaughter? Or charging my mother with gross parental negligence?"
"Perhaps. Or perhaps like moving the child who is unable to adjust to a group facility or treatment center herself."
"You mean sending me to a loony bin?"
"We prefer to call it a 'cognitive adjustment inpatient program.' A place where the same Skinnerian and biofeedback methods we are applying with you in our sessions are instead applied full-time in a sort of 'rehab center', twenty-four seven. We don't think that will be necessary in your case, Bethany, as far as your personal adjustment needs are concerned. But as we also discussed during your first visit, sometimes we find the need to 'sequester' a young patient like yourself if we fear she will make some kind of disruptive, public outburst before her conditioning has had a chance to improve her…mood. I don’t want to have to do anything like that, so I’m glad you’re no longer being indiscreet."
"Yeah, I got it. So anyway, why do you keep saying 'we'? It's just you here -- you don't even have a receptionist."
"You could consider it the collegial 'we', or the editorial 'we', but in fact I am referring to my field as a whole, the particular school of family therapy to which I adhere. There are many of us around the country, and in Western Europe. A couple in Japan, too. Like me, most of us operate small private practices, but we collectively support the inpatient program I was just speaking of."
"Are they all like you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don refers to you as my 'Jew in a suit.' Are you all Jewish?"
"Oh, I see. Your stepfather is sadly a little rough around the edges. But no, we are not all Jewish. We are not even all men. But if you are asking if we all believe in the same clinical approaches, and share similar standards as to what constitutes 'success,' then yes, we are all 'like me'."
"I didn't mean to offend or anything; that's the kind of thing Don says. He is low-class, prejudiced, and of course an incestuous child molester. Which leads to the obvious question: why do you take his side in this?"
"I am not taking anybody's 'side,' Bethany. We have a family in crisis here, and no mainstream technique has ever been shown to be effective in resolving such deep relational trauma. But ours has. The approach is not to change the circumstances, but change the participants’ responses to them. Don is a lost cause, there's no hope in changing him. You, on the other hand, are still largely malleable. I mean that in a good way. So you are capable, through proper personal growth, of adjusting in a way that will provide for both cohesion for the family and happiness for you. We don’t believe in taking the girl out of the victimhood, but rather taking the victimhood out of the girl, if you see what I mean. And in any case, Don is the one with the employer-provided health insurance that happens to cover family therapy and dependent mental health."
"Yeah, I know. The 'Golden Rule.' Don’s gold, Don’s rules. Still, seems pretty weird, though. Besides, it doesn't seem to be working. Don is as rough and crude and disgusting as ever."
"Sounds like you're ready to start the real session, then. Tell me about it."
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