Threapist's Notes -- Patient: Coulter, Ann By Rob Long







First Session:

The patient arrives on time, displays pleasant and agreeable affect. She is charming and complimentary about therapist’s office, calling it cozy. She asks if the therapist decorated it himself, and when told that he didn’t, remarks that she should have known as he doesn’t seem gay. Therapist asks why patient instantly assumes that interior decorators are invariably gay. Patient apologizes for the stereotyped response. “I guess this is why I’m here,” she says with great sincerity. “I need to learn how to better express myself. I need to learn to stop saying things that upset so many people, to stop saying such hurtful things, using such hateful language. This is going to be a difficult and painful journey for me, I know. But together, I hope we can get to the bottom of it.” Therapist compliments patient on her positive attitude. Patient and therapist share a healing hug. “So let me rephrase my statement, if that’s okay,” patient says. “All interior decorators are not gay — only the good ones are.” Patient then bursts out into gales of laughter, points at therapist, and shouts “PSYCH!”

No progress during this session.

Second Session:

We move to a group-encounter experience. The patient is encouraged to engage the group — consisting of a dozen participants, some clearly homosexual, others merely avid environmentalists included as “gay decoys.” Within minutes, patient has identified the decoy environmentalists, and has reduced several of them to tears. They exit angrily, leaving only the patient and eight or so homosexuals. The conversation quickly evolves into an unproductive conversation between patient and the remaining homosexuals in which all agree that the Prius is the most unattractive automobile on the road today, and that any man — homosexual or heterosexual — who drives one can be safely called a “f*g.” When reminded that the therapist himself drives a Prius in solidarity with the green movement and Planet Earth, patient and remaining homosexuals erupt into hurtful giggles. Therapist reminds homosexuals that the patient is here in therapeutic rehabilitation to learn better, less hateful and hurtful ways to communicate. “I was kidding!” shouts the patient. “I used the word as a joke!” Therapist reminds the patient that humor is often the most hateful form of communication, and is therefore best avoided. “But they use that word all the time,” she says, pointing to the homosexuals. The homosexuals agree that this is an important issue, but the truth is, they were all wondering about John Edwards anyway. Patient promises to dish over drinks. Patient and homosexuals leave together, leaving therapist in office.

No progress during this session.

Third Session:

Patient arrives on time, upbeat about a new book deal. Patient and therapist talk about this for a moment. Patient is reluctant to share details of the book. Apparently, a more “stealth” approach to book topics is the norm these days. Still, the patient is reminded that the therapeutic environment is a “safe space,” where anything can be shared in total confidence. “Really?” the patient asks. The therapist assures her that anything she says or does within the therapeutic frame is sacred and totally confidential. “Like, if I said the word f*gg*t? That would be okay?” The patient is reminded that one of the reasons she is currently undergoing court-ordered rehabilitation is precisely because of such language. “So this is a safe space where I can say anything I want unless it’s what I’m in the safe space for in the first place? Am I the only one to realize that this makes no sense?” The therapist tries once again to explain to the patient that she is here primarily because she seems incapable of not saying whatever is in her mind, irrespective of social norms.

Patient laughs, and remarks that one of the ways to get on the bestseller lists is to speak your mind, then inquires about how the therapist’s own book, On Being Nice, is doing at the stores. Therapist suggests that they concentrate on the patient and the patient’s book. “That bad, huh?” asks the patient. “Suggestion? Try writing an interesting book. Those usually move faster.”

No progress during this session.

Fourth Session:

Patient misses the session, and instead appears on Hannity & Colmes to introduce her new book, entitled Rehab Is for Quitters, in which she promises to expose the “unbelievable liberal nonsense” of the entire rehabilitation- therapy movement. By show’s end, Amazon presales hit record highs, far outpacing therapist’s own On Being Nice, which languishes at 12,978,675.

No progress during this session.