As a therapist-in-training, and someone who has been in therapy myself for a while, I’ll let you in on a trade secret: Consults. Most therapists will offer either a free first session or a free 20-minute consult to prospective clients as sort of a teaser, or taste-test if you will, so that the client can get a feel for how that therapist works before they choose to bare their soul (and pocketbook) to a relative stranger.
So onto the good part of this story. I’m in process of scheduling a few consults to find my own therapist. I did one in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and the therapist’s office was on the second floor of an office building. I’ll spare you the details of the consult and get to what happened after.
I exited the therapist’s office and found myself in a maze of hallways, surrounded by doors that all looked identical. It was disorienting; think horror film or house of mirrors or the kind of comedy Tina Fey would write. I thought I remembered which way I came in, but was as sure of this as the last time I tried to navigate downtown Seattle without GPS (ended up going the wrong way on a one-way). So I did the smart thing and followed the exit signs.
The last exit sign was the faded paper kind that you find for 50 cents at a thrift store, fastened above the door with duct tape or making tape or chewing gum. I exited and found myself in the brilliant, midday fall sunshine, on a quaint second-story patio with some cute bistro tables and chairs and outdoor planters. The door closed and locked behind me.
I immediately spotted a staircase that led to the back alleyway and thought, Hey, I’m home free. Until I reached the top of the staircase only to find that it was blocked off by a chain-link fence so as to discourage anyone from accessing it via the alleyway.
I did what any desperate post-therapy client would do when in a bind. I phoned a friend and related my predicament in an adrenaline-laced, accelerated fashion. Then hitched up my pants, tightened my purse straps, and climbed that damn fence. More precisely, I climbed the staircase rail that was high enough that they hadn’t fenced it. Then lowered myself and dropped down like a f***in’ movie star. Aaand I dislodged a rail from the staircase in the process. Oops.
No moral to the story. Just a gal trying to find her way to health and healing in the world, winding her way through hallways and shady exits, and when the normal channels don’t pan out, taking the fence less traveled.