Walter Cronkite I don’t blame you if you don’t know who Walter Cronkite was. It’s o.k. because I’m here to educate you. Cronkite was known in the 60’s as “the most trusted man in America.” Who was he? -simply a reporter of the news. He was a broadcast journalist but is best known for his work on CBS Evening News. He was its anchorman from 1962-1981 – a total of 19 years.
Americans would tune in to his report for the latest breaking news. Bulletins of important news were a hallmark of his reporting. He was counted on to deliver information that was crucial for the American public to know. The concept of ‘fake’ news was an alien idea. People trusted him to tell the truth.
You’re wondering why Cronkite’s story is relevant to my adventures in psychotherapy, aren’t you? Well, it’s this. I perform a similar function in my sessions with Anne. I always provide a news report.
Huh, you ask?
It’s like this: I want Anne to have a better idea of my WHOLE person, not just the dysfunctional emotional fragments of my identity. I try to ensure that my newscast consume only 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of session. And, to me, the ‘briefing’ that I provide to my therapist contains as much or more importance than the typical news bulletin.
I’ll give you an example of a therapy newscast. No, I won’t tell you the truth. I will not disclose any real details of my life. What you’ll read next is totally made up. You didn’t honestly think I’d open up to you about my own personal emotional torments, did you? Really?
By golly, I’m surprised that you’d think I’d reveal to you when I squirm each time I ‘expose’ myself to Anne.
What I will provide in my ongoing tale are descriptions to you of the battles I waged inside of myself while I’ve tried to make sense of the therapeutic relationship. On that question, I’m pure honesty. No ‘truthiness’ there.
I wonder how many other therapy clients make a point in providing a news broadcast to their therapist. Probably most people just let ‘news’ seep into the conversation naturally if at all.
I want you to be clear that I’m not proposing or suggesting that anyone try to conduct their therapy sessions the way I do. It’s all very person. Once I asked Anne if there was a better way to approach our time together and she replied that it’s individual and if I’m happy doing what I do, then that’s the right way for me. Still, I wonder sometimes as I hear friends describe their ability to get deep inside themselves with no plan at all. Hmmmm…. I don’t know how to do that yet. Maybe I’ll learn or maybe I’ll continue the way I am.
Chapter 8, Control Freak, probably already provided you with enough evidence that I don’t leave much up to chance. The next chapter, Choreography, will offer even more confirmation that I’m fond of control. As an aside, I must tell you that I never realized that I like control until I began therapy. Weird, huh? – that I never knew before then?
Okay – here goes a sample newscast in therapy session:
1. I took a walk in the woods today.
2. I signed up for a pilates class.
3. I wrote a letter to the mayor.
4. I’m going to run the 5K.
5. I told my friend about the abuse.
6. I had a calm conversation with my ex.
And although I believe the newscast is valuable for me and to me by opening up more of who I am out in the ‘real’ world with my therapist, I also believe that the ‘news’ gives her information about me that can help me.
For example referring to above list (therapist thinking):
1. She’s not scared of bears (or spiders or ivy) anymore
2. She’s beginning to take care of herself more.
3. She exhibiting more self-confidence.
4. She’s emerging from depression.
5. She’s leaving shame behind.
6. She’s gotten a handle on her anger.
And I’ll end this part of my story with Walter Cronkite’s famous ending of his nightly newscast “And that’s the way it is”