A Shrink’s Worst Possible Nightmare

I need to get something off my chest.

I’ve been working with a man, I’ll call him Marc, for many months. He is approximately my age and very angry: divorced twice, a foundering career and three children to support. While he doesn’t directly blame me for the cause of his problems he constantly reminds me that I haven’t fixed his current situation. This has been a point of contention for many weeks now in therapy.

“This therapy is bullshit. You don’t help me, you don’t make me feel better, you just nod and say stupid clichés. You suck.”

These statements are essentially on a loop by this point. A solid therapist can handle this aggression and help the client understand it and I’ve been trying to do that. Until now.

“Marc…we’ve gone over this. You’re turning this into a primitive game where you blame me for all of your problems. It’s not my fault.”

“No but it is your fault for not fixing them. Do your Goddamn job!”

I’ve been told to “do my Goddamn job” dozens of times but hearing it week in and week out from the same person who wants to accept no responsibility is getting to me.

“So that’s it? That’s what we have here? You continue to fuck up every aspect of your so-called “life” and put it on me to fix it?”

“What the fuck did you just say?” he said, his face reddening.

“You heard me. You don’t want to take any responsibility. It’s easier to blame the Psychologist isn’t it? You think you can just continue to screw up everything and have someone to pin it on. That’s just cowardly. You’re a coward.”

He stood up, and although only approximately my size if not smaller, his resolve seemed gargantuan at that moment and he started to walk toward me from the couch.

“I’m a coward? You’re going to wish you had bitten your tongue for once in your life, Shrink Boy.”

Refusing to be intimidated I stood up as well. “Get out of this office,” I said. “Don’t make this worse.”

He kept coming and before I could brace myself he had pushed me back onto my chair.

“Get the fuck up. We’ll see who’s a coward” he said. He seemed ironically calm at that moment although I’m sure the rage was brewing just below his skin.

I stood up only to be pushed down again. “Is this what you’re about?” I said. “Pushing me down when I try to stand up to you? You’re a bully and we all know that bullies are really just cowards.”

“Get up!” he repeated.

Ready for a third go-around I slowly began to stand then immediately drove myself shoulder first into his midriff, driving him back onto the therapy couch. We landed with a thud and although he tried throwing weak punches at my back I was able to break free and stand up, breathing heavily.

“Get the hell out of my office” I said.

He stood up, panting himself. He stared at me for a moment, seemingly to consider his options and suddenly fired a right cross toward me.

I took some boxing in college and know the basics of self-defense so I ducked his punch. At that point I should have fled the room, ducked into the common area of the office suite and called the police. My adrenaline rush was so strong though that as he missed with his punch and began to lose his balance I drove a fist into his right ribcage, looking up quickly enough to see the spit fly from his mouth as the wind was taken out of him. The crack of the ribs didn’t even register until he was lying on the ground wincing.

“Now get out,” I said. “And look for a fucking bill in the mail.”

He left, demoralized, having gotten a serious ass-kicking at the hands of his shrink.

Three hours and half a bottle of Dewar’s Scotch later my nerves were less rattled and the guilt began to sink in.

I can’t believe I did this. I hurt a man. I hurt a client. He’s probably at the hospital right now. I’ll lose my license, my reputation, my good name. It’s over.

Then I realized that anyone who knows me, whether it be personally or through my writing, will realize that today is April Fool’s Day and that none of this could have possibly happened. There is no Marc, no boxing class, and certainly no Dewar’s. That stuff is disgusting.

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31 Responses to “A Shrink’s Worst Possible Nightmare”

  1. FutureColleague says:

    Damn Doc, you had just reached a whole new level of my respect, except maybe for the Dewers part, and you had to go and make it an April Fools on me. Good one.

  2. Damien says:

    And here I was thinking you were going to say he realized that he WAS a coward and your verbal and physical encounter helped him to realize that… Well shame on me for being easily duped…
    Great as always Doc. Take care!

  3. I cheated and went to the bottom first to see if it was related to April Fools…..I guess I’m lame like that.
    Catharsis is an interesting thing, even if we do it in fantasy, it can still benefit us. Hopefully you gained something, conscious or not….just watch out for the left hook, it can really sneak up on you!

  4. Mike says:

    Pretty good one Rob. However Catherine already got me this morning with the gonnhorea story so I’m not buying much today.

  5. Colin says:

    Marc, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

  6. Colin says:

    Oh, and don’t underestimate reader naivety. Tucker got bunches of emails from people who thought he had actually fucked a pig. And some who thought that made it cool.

  7. Laren says:

    See, if you really drank it, you’d know how to spell Dewar’s correctly. A dead give-away (but you had me until that point).

  8. Jason says:

    Sadly enough, I figured out it was an April Fool’s joke before even reading the first line. Takes a lot of fun out of the day, let me tell you.

  9. Wayland says:

    Well, I enjoyed it : ) I think you should actually take up some mixed martial arts. That’d be cool. You could kick a$$ and take clients’ names later : )

  10. Ricky says:

    *shakes head*

  11. Andrew says:

    You had me goin until you tackled him. Nice work.

  12. T.J. says:

    “Oh look, it’s a bar of soap!”
    “I got you good you fucker!”
    I laughed. Thanks, Dr. Rob.

  13. David says:

    In all honesty though, Dr. Rob, isnt it entirely possible for a client to actually attack you while in therapy? What would you do then?
    Dr. Rob Note: It is possible and we will definitely address this issue…

  14. Robin B says:

    Shrink Boy, I was starting to think you’d lost your mind! I’m so glad this was just an April Fools Joke!

  15. range says:

    That was a good one!
    I almost believed it for a little while. In your face therapy!

  16. Danielle says:

    You suck. And yes, I bought it all the way through.

  17. Kyle says:

    I’m one naive bastard. I’ve been reading April Fool’s fake news for HALF AN HOUR in my RSS feed, and when this came up, I just ate it up.

  18. Maggy says:

    Hahahahahahahaha. I totally believed you!! I was so into this post too!! I was in the middle of the post when I noticed all of my Japanese coworkers were standing and bowing through the new school year formalities. I’m the only douchebag sitting with my mouth gaping open yelling in my head DocRob noooooo! You got me good.

  19. T says:

    April Fools was a day earlier in Australia, so I didn’t get it at all. I was confused about your theraputic approach but thought your confrontation was one of the best things I’d read of you doing, I was actually dissapointed it wasn’t real. Thanks for entertaining us once again Doc Rob.

  20. Al Coholic says:

    I like dewars. Certainly not the best scotch, but good for an every day no special occasion drink I think.

  21. Mark says:

    I just figured you were using a new style of DBT therapy, just a more hands on approach! Of course, that handbook comes with a full set of contact pads. So make sure you follow the handbook!

  22. Jenna says:

    You TOTALLY got me! I was like “well at least it’ll be interesting to read the reprecussions to this!”
    (also it’s floundering not foundering. i’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and say it was a typo)
    Dr. Rob Note: 99.999999% of the time I am incorrect at most things I do, but I am quite certain that ‘foundering’ is the correct word in that sentence. Dictionary.com tells me so.

  23. Agamemnon Jones says:

    Doc, you son of a bitch. You got me. You got me good. Not even KungFu Mike (who is normally a master when it comes to this sort of joke) managed to do that, but nevertheless I saw through his particular load of crap this year, and even considering that, you got me just the same. I would imagine that it is probably due largely to the fact that I read this post of yours a day late, and if I had been paying a bit more attention I would have noticed the date at the top and as such would not have been such a moron. But at any rate, kudos for that. For a few precious seconds, you actually had me believing that you just might have beaten the ever-lovin’ shit out of someone right in the privacy of your office.
    I have to hand it to you, Doc: this prank was incredibly well-written. I don’t necessarily condone your fictional actions, but I have nothing but respect for a good April Fool. This one was very nicely done.
    I do, however, have to wonder whether there is something subconscious going on here. You’re the psychologist, so of course I will defer to your expertise regarding this matter. At the same time, though, it does seem that you feel pretty strongly that some of your patients are just in dire need of a good, thorough ass-kicking.
    Correct me if I’m wrong. I very well could be. But if I’m right, I can’t exactly say that I’d blame you one bit.
    In conclusion, I honestly wish you were my shrink. You don’t give yourself enough credit.

  24. J says:

    If you’re sunk, you’ve foundered. If you’re still struggling, you’re floundering. …the Internet delivers once again.
    I knew that story was fake the first line in. I guess some people are on the defensive side every April 1st. We’re the kind that aren’t quick to believe crazy stories told at bars too I bet.
    Dr. Rob Note: I went by this to make the distinction since the made-up career was collapsing:
    “The verbs founder and flounder are often confused. Founder comes from a Latin word meaning “bottom” (as in foundation) and originally referred to knocking enemies down; it is now also used to mean “to fail utterly, collapse.” Flounder means “to move clumsily, thrash about,” and hence “to proceed in confusion.” If John is foundering in Chemistry 1, he had better drop the course; if he is floundering, he may yet pull through.”
    Whether correct or not, I WILL trick you next year, J. Make no mistake…

  25. Sally says:

    I’m so gullible.

  26. ep thorn says:

    Not reading this on April 1st, you had me up to the point where you started pushing him back without getting clocked, but then I figured it was a crock.
    Then again, this kinda thing does sometimes happen with less positive results… “I took some (insert noun here, judo, boxing, etc)…” is always a great sentence to justify getting your ass whopped.

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  28. April Age says:

    That was funny.

  29. Erica says:

    loved it!

  30. Lisa says:

    You had me until “Shrink Boy”. LMAO! Very, very well written. And kudos for the proper use of “foundering”. The English language is a beautiful thing…

  31. Catherine says:

    WTF….. I am beyond gullible.
    I believed almost the whole thing, questioned your sanity but believed almost the whole thing.