“Can You Hear Me OK?” First Person Narrative of Remote Therapy

Lucy Sherman

My name is lucy sherman and i see a therapist. I go to therapy for an hour, once a week (sometimes for an extra 15 minutes if needed). My therapist’s name is liza and she is from los angeles (where i am from). She wears cute outfits and sometimes, i feel like we have an unspoken face-off over the cutest one. But we began facetime sessions last year, in my room, on the fourth floor of Page. Sometimes, i stole a practice room in olin, propped her on a piano, and did not play it. It took me a while to switch from phone calls to camera, and the first facetime i had with her, she saw the decorations on my wall — my marimekko cloth, my eames posters, my stamps. I feel like she was impressed. 

I live in a new space this year. Practice rooms are on a schedule-basis, my dorm walls are super thin, and classrooms are usually booked. I would rather not have therapy outside: wind blowing hair in my face, fingers getting numb, unstable connection. 

Yuri Kim/The Bates Student

These days, 30 minutes before my session, i start running around campus looking for empty classrooms, doors that will lock, and preferably some natural light. One time there was a computer lab open, but i hesitated to stay because it was quite dark inside. My therapist and i use zoom now. She likes zoom because there is an option to hide her face and she doesn’t like looking at herself. i like looking at myself… but i think she’s onto something. My password is “Therapy,” which is also what i search in my gmail inbox ([email protected]) to find her message with the zoom link. I repeat this process every time. I do this with my classes too. 

When my video starts, i preface the meeting by saying that i am not sure if i am allowed to be in the room that i am in, but also, that someone may walk in at any moment. Sometimes the rooms that i inhabit have windows into the hallways. Sometimes i have a rough therapy session. Sometimes i cry. Sometimes i cry a lot. Maybe someone will see me and wonder what is happening. 

After therapy, i feel different. I feel raw, emotional, all over the place. When i emerge from my hideaway, i’m subject to running into people–people that i know. Oh god. After therapy, i must ‘reign-it-the-hell-in.’ It’s this insane turnover from being completely vulnerable in a public place, and then flipping the switch, and pulling myself together.