Kaiser has interesting ideas about therapy, and by interesting I mean bad. Typical of an HMO, I suppose. Kaiser is the mother of all HMOs. They did the HMO thing before anyone else did, and they have this venerated older brother aura about them. And just like Big Brother, they have charts and graphs to tell them exactly how much care to dispense.

I met with a perfectly nice therapist, as far as that goes. She said “fuck” during our session, which I found endearing. I went through the quickie version of my spiel (which is still pretty long…the only way to expedite it would be to bring flow charts, and believe me, I’ve thought about it) and she dutifully took notes. The first hint I had that things were not quite right was when she started repeating back the bits she felt were relevant.

Me: …and then my brother died. I don’t know how to assimilate that into my daily life.
Her: So I hear you saying that you’re thinking a lot.

Still, I soldiered on because…well, I’d come all the way out there. And I want to be in therapy. I recognize that my inner child needs a babysitter. I am aware that there are things for me to get over, and I’d like to get over them.

Then she started to make suggestions. Crippling anxiety? Perhaps I should try deep breathing. I might be surprised by how calming it is. And - this is my favorite - if I find myself gorging on chocolate to assuage my depression, maybe I should just eat something else. Like something not made of chocolate. I could try that, right?

Feeling a little like I’d been offered band-aids for a broken neck, I asked how often the therapist would be wanting to see me. “Kaiser’s view of therapy is short-term and results-oriented,” she said. “We like to work toward a goal and see tangible improvement. I’ll give you a quiz now, to establish a baseline, and then after six or seven sessions we’ll give you the quiz again to see how much better you’re feeling.”

Right. I’m sure I’ll be all better in six sessions. I feel certain that my post-partum depression will be completely cured in a mere three months, assuming I remember to do my deep-breathing and “just say no” to sweets. Why didn’t I think of that?

For this, I got out of a warm bed. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

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