If one were watching the Father read the report from the school counselor, they would know the exact moment a recommendation for therapy was made. The Father’s face flushed a shade of crimson that only a rose could liken to and a scowl formed with such haste one might think it was a seizure. “WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THIS!?” the Father bellowed, his words booming through the house. “Get in here right now!!” the Father demanded of the Child.
The child stood at attention as the Father explained what kind of therapy they needed and they did so quite loudly, I might add. After about 30 minutes of lecturing, the Mother entered the room carrying several church pamphlets, and soundlessly handed them to the Father. He fell silent for several moments to scan the pamphlets and his eyes lit up. “Here we have it “Tough-Love” therapy. Set up an appointment, Mother.” the father said with authority.
The very first therapist the Child was to encounter would be an older man, with a long beard and bushy top hair. He smiled warmly and ushered them into a waiting room, telling the child to play with the toys for a moment. It was very cold in the room, the air conditioning was blowing relentlessly. The child sat down and huddled around some legos as the parents followed the doctor to the next room, behind the mirror.
After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor returned for the child. They walked into the next room and to the Child’s surprise, they were alone in the room. Where had their parents gone? The doctor ushered the shield to sit down on the couch and he sat at arms length, in a chair across from the child. After some cursory questions and introduction, the doctor had the child lay down and bear hug the doctor. The doctor then proceeded to tickle the child to the point of vomiting.
The parents came in several minutes later and thanked the doctor and took the child home. The child was shaken from the experience and the reception of the doctor by their parents. The child did not ever want to do therapy again. Alas, the next six weeks were the same. Every Thursday, the child would lay on the couch to be held and tickled by the old man on the couch. The child nicknamed him “Dr. Make-you-want-to-puke”.
The parents discontinued the therapy due to the child’s behavior getting steadily worse. They were having far more trouble concentrating in school and would not make it easy to get them to therapy. “Holding Therapy” has since been debunked as quackery and damaging to child development. The parents still think that the therapy was not the problem, but instead, the child’s perceptions of therapy.
After the failure of the holding therapy to make any changes, the parents tried another therapist. This therapist, a middle-aged hispanic women, claimed to be able to calm the child by exorcising the demons through “prayer therapy’. So, the family made the trip into Denver once a week for several months. It was a dim lit office, some cheap plants littered the tables and the waiting room looked like something out of a bad horror film.
When the doctor came out to greet the parents and child, she hugged them each, one by one, offering them a short blessing by placing her hand atop their heads. She extended her hand to the child and they went into her office together as the door clicked shut behind them. The room was also badly lit and had a firm, low couch in the middle and a wooden chair several feet away. Every wall was starkly white and bare save for one, which had a large crucifix hanging on it just above an ancient rolltop desk. The only other furniture was a bookcase and small table with a lamp and obviously fake fern on it.
She beckoned the child to kneel by the couch and they kneeled together, hand in hand. The doctor begin chanting prayers and placed her hands on the child’s head and back. The child began shaking, because the doctor was pulsating her hands on their back. The child exclaimed in pain but the doctor continued the ritual. The child tried to stand up to get away but she held the child’s head firm, arresting any movement upwards and the couch blocked all escape. The doctor shook harder, chanting her prayers louder, drowning out the protests and cries of the child. This went on for thirty minutes, each session. The parents discontinued the therapy after reports from the school nurse of bruising on the child’s back.
It was time for a new doctor and the parents were at their wits end. The school had recommended a new doctor and the Father and Mother finally broke and decided to allow this new age medicine doctor to try and ‘fix’ the child. This time, the doctor wanted to test the chemistry in the child’s brain.
Week after week, the child was subjected to rigorous tests of the mind, senses and blood and then evaluated with a structured psychology test. Finally, the doctor diagnosed the child with several related issues: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], Bipolar Disorder [BPD] and Attachment Disorder [AD]. Medications were prescribed and at-home therapies were assigned for the child and parents. At one point, the child was taking seven medications at the same time.
For several months, the parents continued to stay on the medication regimen and at home therapy for the child. Improvement was slow, but marked. For the child, the medications felt like they took over. The child was much more docile and measured, to the parents’ surprise. The child found that reading books was much easier than before and quickly dove into world after world of imagination.
Reading was always this Child’s favorite activity. It would let them escape from a world that didn’t want them and it somersaulted them into adventure’s more grand than any one imagination can conjure. One series, which had to be read in absolute secrecy for fear of serious reprisal, helped the Child through some of their toughest times. It led them on magical adventures that others had only dreamt of before. At the age of twelve, the child laid their hands on a copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and read about another child who had also overcome adversity to become the hero in their heart.
The Child was hooked on magick.
I enjoyed this story. Well written.