General Fiction posted July 21, 2014 Chapters:  ...70 71 -72- 73... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Dr. Mason proposes his patients share secrets.

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

Two on the Couch

by Fridayauthor

Dr. Mason is attempting to have Karen release the secret that is causing her distress. He is seeking Sarah's help to do so while helping Sarah as well.

            When both of us were seated, Dr. Mason began. “Both of you are harboring a lot of guilt and are looking for closure. Do you agree?”
            Karen failed to respond, but I nodded my approval. “How does that come about, doctor?”
            “You openly admit your guilt. You accept responsibility for your actions, are remorseful and understand there are consequences. While you seek forgiveness, you expect judgment and punishment for what you did.”
            “Judgment from whom?” I asked.
            “The wronged person.”
            Karen looked perplexed. “What if they’re dead?”
            “Ah! Some people talk to those no longer with us through prayer. Some seek the council of others, a surrogate. Perhaps it’s someone you love and trust, and whose forgiveness you would treasure.”
            “But you didn’t wrong them!”
            “No, but we’re often overly critical of our actions and need the council of an outsider to set us straight. If you trust this person to understand what you’ve confessed to them, perhaps you can accept their punishment, whatever it may be.”
            “It sounds so simple,” I said.
            “In some respects, it is. Perhaps both of you are making your concerns more complicated than they have to be. I have a suggestion.”
            “Let’s hear it,” I said. Karen remained noncommittal if not unconvinced.
            “A special relationship has developed between you two. You share many private matters and appear to trust one another. I’m suggesting you utilize this relationship and trust each other even more, to the ultimate, and share whatever you are holding back. I know it would be a huge step for both of you.”
            “There are things I don’t want to talk about,” Karen said, her head bowed.
            Dr. Mason spoke to her as if I weren’t in the room. “If there is an incident for which you feel you deserve punishment, it must be confessed to someone before you can expect forgiveness. That’s what we discussed.”
            “But if it’s really bad . . .”
            “Then the punishment will be severe as well, but after it’s over, you’ll have a clean slate and be able to move on.”
            Karen looked at me. “Maybe the punishment won’t be enough.”
            The doctor answered. “We’ll talk about it together; all three of us. We won’t discuss your secrets; those are between the two of you unless you want to share them with me. But I’ll make sure the punishment is appropriate.”
            Karen turned to me. “Would you do it?”
            Dr. Mason addressed me. “You and Karen together, sharing your deepest concerns and asking for judgment and forgiveness.”
            “And punishment,” Karen said, nodding her head.
            “Ah,” he said. “Yes. Punishment.” Before I could answer, he pushed back his chair, as if our session was over. Instead he told us he wished to speak to each of us separately once again. I cooled my heels in the reception room for ten minutes while he told Karen who-knows-what. Then it was my turn.
            “Are you telling me I’m supposed to spank Karen? I told you how I feel about that. I won’t do it! You know that’s what she craves for punishment.”
            Dr. Mason raised a calming hand. “Easy, Sarah Jeanne. If Karen opens up to you, you’re the one who will listen and decree punishment, and grant forgiveness. Obviously, you will not spank her. You’ve made that decision plain, and I totally agree striking her would be destructive.”
            “So how will I punish her?”
            He smiled. “Ah! That depends on what she tells you, doesn’t it? You’re the mother; I imagine you’ll come up with something appropriate. First of all, she’ll have to agree to open up to you.”
            “I’m having serious misgivings about this whole exercise, Doctor. Is it some sort of a test?”
            “I assure you it is serious business. What Karen is holding back is blocking her ability to move ahead with her life. If she opens up to you, remember to consider what she tells you from her point of view. Don’t try to convince her she’s too harsh on herself, even if she is. Whatever punishment you decide, she must feel it is adequate enough for forgiveness. She’s very intelligent; don’t try to fool her or patronize her.”
            “What did you tell her just now?” I asked.
            “That she needs to trust you and try to understand whatever you tell her is very important to you and your need to be punished as well.”
            “And if she doesn’t understand what I tell her she could ask you?”
            “Well, I told her I would be there for her.” Was he trying to glean from Karen what I wasn’t telling him myself? He continued. “You needn’t be a hundred percent candid with her; after all, she’s a child.”
            My frustration continued that the doctor failed to comprehend the relationship between Karen and me. “It’s imperative I remain honest with her, Doctor. She’d know in a minute if I wasn’t truthful.”
            “I’m just saying the main point of this exercise is to clear away Karen’s guilt.”
            “So I should lie to my daughter?” I growled.
            “I didn’t say that; just perhaps consider holding back?”
            “Holding back wouldn’t be fair,” I said as butterflies began fluttering in my belly. I hoped they weren’t annoying my little stowaway.

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Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a step mom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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