Marriage counseling was not going well. Terrance and Leslie O’Shay, newlyweds of only four weeks, were headed for a breakup, but now, they were at an impasse. Leslie had stopped talking.
Every question from their therapist, Becca Dawson, LMFT, was met with Leslie furiously shaking her head.
“Why don’t we stop here for today,” Becca said. “Terrance, would you please check with Rich on your way out. Ask him to set you an appointment for next week.”
Becca touched Leslie on the shoulder before the young woman followed her husband out of the office.
“Can you wait for just a minute?” Becca closed her office door after waving Terrence to continue to the reception desk. “I get a feeling that there is more you do want to say, but are uncomfortable.”
“It’s embarrassing,” Leslie said.
“No judgment, Les,” Becca held her open hands, palms together in front of her, gesturing with each word. “You know you can tell me anything.”
“It’s not you,” Leslie said. “It’s Terry.”
“Hmmm,” Becca cocked her head as if she was hearing a strange sound. “You’re embarrassed to talk to your husband?”
“Not embarrass me, it would embarrass him,” Leslie said. “We waited until we were married… We are each other’s ‘first.’ Things aren’t going how I thought they would, hoped they would.”
Becca went back to her desk and leafed through her appointment book.
“Can you stay for an extra 15 minutes?” Becca gestured to her couch. “We can talk without Terry in here. I want to tell you about Wish Stick therapy. ”
When Leslie joined Terry in the waiting room, she was almost jubilant.
The following week, Terry came in for a solo session with Becca.
“How was your week, Terry?” Becca said as they got settled in their chairs. “Are you and Leslie communicating better?”
“It was a humdinger,” he said. “She like a new person.”
“I don’t know what you said to her last week, but it sure worked,” he said.
Becca steepled her fingers. Smiling, she leaned back in her chair.
“I simply shared an old Native American folk remedy using cattails,” Becca said
“That’s why she had out big vases of those bushy, shedding, puffy sticks in every room of the house,” Terry said.