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The Roommates – Fast Forward to 2019: Chapter 30
On the Monday following the debut of Despondent, Bette Porter sat in a plush armchair, across from Naomi Burrows, the psychologist recommended to her by the behavioral specialist at the hospital. She was uncomfortable and chewed on the inside of her jaw. The office seemed nice enough, decorated in shades of soothing brown, green, and blue. There were a few glass knickknacks on the classic wooden desk and framed paintings of pretty flowers on the walls. A candy dish sat on the wooden coffee table which was situated in the middle of a seating area. Bette sat in one chair and Dr. Burrows sat across from her.
The therapist was dressed in a black pants suit and though her style was professional, she seemed approachable. She was a Black woman of West Indian heritage. She spoke mostly without an accent, save for a few words that were punctuated with just a hair of Trinidadian patois.
“I appreciate you coming to visit with me today,” said Dr. Burrows.
“You do?” asked Bette.
“I do. I’m flattered that you would allow me to meet you and learn about your life. I’m honored to be part of your care team.”
Dr. Burrows nodded. “I am. If this is going to work, you’re going to need to trust me. I need to give you a reason to trust me. I can’t just expect you to tell me intimate details of your life and psyche without earning that privilege. “
Bette looked surprised. “I – – – I’ve never heard anything like that before.”
“That’s standard for me. So I’m glad you’re here. I want you to tell me about your fears regarding therapy. What don’t you want to happen?” she asked.
Bette had been wringing her hands. She stopped and thought for a moment. “I guess I just don’t want to be embarrassed. I don’t want to be what you are talking about at the water cooler. I don’t want to say anything that makes me feel exposed.”
Dr. Burrows nodded. “I can assure you that my patients are not fodder for water cooler discussion. You have complete privilege with me and I’m bound to certain levels of confidentiality. If I don’t earn your trust, this will never work. So me being able to gauge your fears and concerns, and address them, is an important part of this process.”