KATHERINE: Dr. Switzer?
DR. SWITZER: Yes, come in. I’m just washing my hands.
KATHERINE: I’m Katherine Bigmans. Janet Carlisle referred me.
DR. SWITZER: Oh, yes. You dream about being buried alive in a box.
KATHERINE: Yes, that’s me. Should I lay down?
DR. SWITZER: No, we don’t do that anymore. Just have a seat and let me tell you a bit about our billing. I charge five dollars for the first five minutes and then absolutely nothing after that. How does that sound?KATHERINE: That sounds great. Too good to be true as a matter of fact.
DR. SWITZER: Well, I can almost guarantee you that our session won’t last the full five minutes. Now, we don’t do any insurance billing, so you would either have to pay in cash or by check.
KATHERINE: Wow. Okay.
DR. SWITZER: And I don’t make change.
KATHERINE: All right.
DR. SWITZER: Go.
DR. SWITZER: Tell me about the problem that you wish to address.
KATHERINE: Oh, okay. Well, I have this fear of being buried alive in a box. I just start thinking about being buried alive and I begin to panic.
DR. SWITZER: Has anyone ever tried to bury you alive in a box?
KATHERINE: No. No, but truly thinking about it does make my life horrible. I mean, I can’t go through tunnels or be in an elevator or in a house, anything boxy.
DR. SWITZER: So, what you are saying is you are claustrophobic?
KATHERINE: Yes, yes, that’s it.
DR. SWITZER: All right. Well, let’s go,Katherine. I’m going to say two words to you right now. I want you to listen to them very, very carefully. Then I want you to take them out of the office with you and incorporate them into your life.
KATHERINE: Shall I write them down?
DR. SWITZER: No. If it makes you comfortable. It’s just two words. We find most people can remember them.
DR. SWITZER: You ready?
DR. SWITZER: Okay. Here they are. Stop it!
KATHERINE: I’m sorry?
DR. SWITZER: Stop it!
KATHERINE: Stop it?
DR. SWITZER: Yes. S-T-O-P, new word, I-T.
KATHERINE: So, what are you saying?
DR. SWITZER: You know, it’s funny, I say two simple words and I cannot tell you the amount of people who say exactly the same thing you are saying. I mean, you know, this is not Yiddish, Katherine. This is English. Stop it.
KATHERINE: So I should just stop it?
DR. SWITZER: There you go. I mean, you don’t want to go through life being scared of being buried alive in a box, do you? I mean, that sounds frightening.
KATHERINE: It is.
DR. SWITZER: Then stop it.
KATHERINE: I can’t. I mean it’s —
DR. SWITZER: No, no, no. We don’t go there. Just stop it.
KATHERINE: So, I should just stop being afraid of being buried alive in a box?
DR. SWITZER: You got it. Good girl. Well, it’s only been three minutes, so that will be three dollars.
KATHERINE: Actually, I only have five so —
DR. SWITZER: Well, I don’t make change.
KATHERINE: Then I guess I’ll take the full five minutes.
DR. SWITZER: Fine. All right. What other problems would you like to address?
KATHERINE: I’m bulimic. I stick my fingers down my throat.
DR. SWITZER: Stop it! Are you a nut of some kind? Don’t do that.
KATHERINE: But I’m compelled to. My mom used to call —
DR. SWITZER: No, no. We don’t go there.
KATHERINE: But I —
DR. SWITZER: No, we don’t go there either.
KATHERINE: But my horoscope did say —
DR. SWITZER: We definitely don’t go there. Just stop it.What else?
KATHERINE: Well, I have self-destructive relationships with men.
DR. SWITZER: Stop it! You want to be with a man, don’t you?
KATHERINE: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm, yes.
DR. SWITZER: Well, then, stop it. Don’t be such a big baby.
KATHERINE: I wash my hands a lot.
DR. SWITZER: That’s all right.
KATHERINE: It is?
DR. SWITZER: I wash my hands all the time. There’s a lot of germs out there. Don’t worry about that one.
KATHERINE: I’m afraid to drive.
DR. SWITZER: Well stop it. How are you going to get around? Get in the car and drive you, you kook. Stop it.
KATHERINE: You stop it. You stop it.
DR. SWITZER: What’s the problem, Katherine?
KATHERINE: I don’t like this. I don’t like this therapy at all. You are just telling me to stop it.
DR. SWITZER: And you don’t like that?
KATHERINE: No, I don’t.
DR. SWITZER: So you think we are moving too fast, is that it?
KATHERINE: Yes. Yes, I do.
DR. SWITZER: All right. Then let me give you ten words that I think will clear everything up for you. You want to get a pad and a pencil for this one?
KATHERINE: All right.
DR. SWITZER: Are you ready?
DR. SWITZER: All right. Here are the ten words: Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box!