The Doctor

I visited a psychiatrist once

Greatly troubled by memories 

From childhood.

Dark, debilitating intrusions

That growled and spat 

Ripped and shredded

All decency and peace:

Pulses of Hatred

From childhood -

Ghouls in my head

Lying in wait!


He sat behind a huge desk

A small person

Fortressed by this great plank

Covered with papers and pens

Books stacked in disparate bundles

Titles turned away from the patient.

Not quite neat – not quite messy.

I liked him at once.

He looked a sensitive man

Not really comfortable with other people's pain

But soldiering on.

I remember thinking: 'He's a little bit scared.

Yet – he works.'

I valued his input before he opened his mouth.


So we discussed: Hatred

My cause for counselling.

'I do not want to be ripped apart

By Hate, again,' I tried to explain.

'It's a useless emotion

Accomplishing nothing but destruction

Of myself and the people I love.

Logically, I refuse Hate

But my mind plays games with me

In sleep.

Not even definable dreams.

Emotions - like acids in my brain -

Eating away my finer sensibilities.'


We saw each other on two occasions

Talked, almost like friends

And even chuckled over tea.

Just the norm, I thought, but not really sure.

I had no experience.

I remember both pleasure and privilege.


After the second hour had fully passed

In amiable conversation on deep topics

He said, 'I really don't know which one of us

Should be on which side of this desk.'

And I gasped.

'Go home, Cynthia.' he said  quietly.

'Be wholly assured, you are not ill now.

And you will not be ill again.

These bad moments will pass.

Maybe not immediately -

There is much stress in your life right now.

But they will pass

Because you choose not to nurture them.'


I shook his hand

Knowing - knowing! - he was a doctor, not a friend.

Moved, and buoyed, by his simple humanism

His shared wisdom and knowledge.

And he was right.

I knew he was right that very day

As I drove home.

Yet, all I remember of him really 

Is His Essence.


◄ Alpha male

Rehearsal ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Fri 23rd Mar 2018 16:41

Laura, it never crossed my mind. How hilarious!

BWM is superb! I've got to remember that one. And share it with my husband, to see if he knows it. But he's totally into Snooker right now, and I wouldn't interrupt for the world. He's an addict! I enjoy it too, a tad more moderately; I love the 'Maths'!

How wonderful that you all have chosen to share some similar experiences.

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Thu 22nd Mar 2018 20:24

HI Cynthia. The nearest I got to therapy is marriage counselling by "Relate." I'd split up by then, and selfishly it was for me. I showed her some poetry that i'd written, and she said I was very self aware, and seemed to know what was wrong. But the point is I told all, and walked away satisfied. I reconciled myself to fate, and the marriage healed up thank God. These relationships might I suppose be facsimiles of what a local priest could have managed in the past. It is a matter of simple trust, whoever that person may be. IMO. (Over simplification I know).

The dimension of sleep of course brings out all sorts of demons - assort of unholy alliance with the conscious mind.

Great times for your writing Cynthia.


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Brian Maryon

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 18:40

Picking up on Laura's initials are BWM which according to the Urban Dictionary is 'bitter white man'.

You couldn't make it up!

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 16:31

I have had no need or experience of therapy/counselling so perhaps shouldn't comment further. I just know that all of those qualities that Laura mentions are available to me via a friend if needed.

It occurs to me (and WOL is perhaps a good example) that the Internet is a well-used form of therapy/cartharsis too, with plenty of anonymous, non-judgmental counsellors all willing to offer advice support and reassurance.

But please do not let our comments bury the quality of CBT's piece.

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Laura Taylor

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 14:20

Re Graham's comment - the whole point of counselling is that you get to pour everything out to a person who is not in any way emotionally connected to you. In that way, there is no 'burden', no judgement, no change of behaviour in order to appease, or subdue anything at all.

Anyway, interesting piece Cynth, and I realise via Graham's comment that your initials are the same as the acronym for cognitive behavioural therapy. How neat is that? I'm sure you have already thought of that though, it being you.

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Brian Maryon

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 12:58

For me, the key reference is the word 'friend'. Psychiatrists are successful because they are are a surrogate friend, sincere, non-judgemental and discreet. If we had such friends we wouldn't need psychiatrists.

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 12:07

This a thoughtful piece CBT. I have to say I have enjoyed this recent productive period of yours.

On the matter of counselling/reassurance, I think one of the problems these days is few of us have really good friends who will "say it as it is" and not just passively reassure, brow mopping etc.

We all need a strong support structure but it needs to be two sided not just tea and sympathy!

Good piece Cynthia (I hope the productivity continues too).

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Wolfgar Miere

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 10:49

That really is a lovely telling of that story.

I love the line "I valued his input before he opened his mouth" because I think I understand the feeling of wanting to be reassured by someone you can trust and how desperate you can be for that assurance.

I have had a little counselling myself (you're probably not surprised) I felt very much as your character does in this piece. I remember asking the Doctor one day in a very casual way "how will know when I'm better" he told me that I was, it's a stupid thing but it felt like being set free. I almost bloody cried, it would be fair to say I loved that man for what he did for me.

Lovely series of poems Cynthia,


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 10:39

This is likely the last of my 'strange journey of words', this particular March of 2018. But it has certainly been interesting.

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