Dark Moments

The fifty-minute hour started a few minutes ago. A few sentences ago he said something that seemed important enough for me to speak. It was a significant unconscious communication by the patient. It was a fantasy. How was I so sure? He said that he remembered a photo of a bank robber holding a gun in a newspaper article he’d read decades ago when his mother was in the hospital after a near fatal car accident. It was a memory of something simple, a newspaper photo, yet part of me doubted that the photo existed in reality. My psychoanalytic theory was disrupting my ability to listen, both to the thirty-five year-old man seated across from me and to myself. I was no longer thinking, or was I? The remembered images seemed in control of both of us. Seconds or a minute passed and uncertainty filled me. I moved back and forth in my chair. He was trying to describe the newspaper photo as he recalled it, but I sensed his mind was full of too many uncertainties. What kind of gun did the bank robber hold? He remembered it as black. The man holding it was dressed in black. I felt darkness inside of me, filling me. Then I was listening to something else. My patient had apparently forgotten the memory, fantasy, or whatever it was. What about me? I didn’t know where I was. All of these sentences in my head constituted a fantasy. How could he know that his therapist was lost in his own fantasies? He would feel it. He might know it sooner than me. The psychotherapeutic process is uncanny. Silence has arrived, and without knowing how or why, I’m back in the present. Reality is no longer a fantasy, or so I think.



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