Go To Section 5
Section 4. Next comes the first major turning point in the session. (10:46 — 14:59). At minute 11:00 Frank begins to expand the inquiry in asking Kim about her partner John, and soon finds to his mild surprise that John is unaware of this consultation. In fact, this is one of several activities that she conveniently “just kinda doesn’t tell him.” because he would get upset and angry if he knew. Frank is now further aware of the reciprocity of Kim’s role in fuelling relationship distrust. Rather than confront her, his non-verbal reaction conveys a silent punctuation of this connection, and her non-verbal language conveys that she understands her complicity in John’s distrust. The point has been made without having to verbalize it. (Frank is also aware of the couple’s complicity in distrust from the two “accidental” pregnancies, but sensitively does not confront on this point either, relying instead on Kim’s non-verbal feedback that she manages information in a somewhat manipulative manner). Frank’s softness and support conveys his acceptance that these are Kim’s perceived relationship constraints, for now at least.
Then he does a surprising thing. At 12:42 he asks “Do you have a picture of him?” She is startled and slightly bewildered that she has no pictures of him in her purse. Further, she also has none of her children as well. Frank introduces the notion of the internalized other in asking “How do you think John would feel if he knew that you carried pictures of the family as metaphorical armour against would-be intruders?” This intervention utilizes her description of John as protective against intrusion. Frank does a mini role-play (one of his favorite dramatizations) of a situation where she might be approached by a man and how she could use pictures as a way of discouraging his further advances. She deflects this by her usual defense that she does not do anything to encourage men to approach her. Frank bypasses this deflection by emphasizing that because Kim is intrinsically attractive, and John knows this, she will attract men anyways, so she might as well have a strategy to deter them and thus reassure him of her loyalty. She looks reflective and says “I never thought of it that way.” She is thus seeing her change in behavior as a possible solution to the pervasive depth of John’s distrust and insecurity, a way whereby she will not be as oppressed by his need to control her. This solution certainly illustrates the use of systemic recursions in solutions that likely could work to break deadlock in a couple.