The therapist spoke first: "This request for counseling is quite unusual. I'm a marriage counselor – but Dr. Jim, you and your patient, Kathy, have come to me because you're having some sort of professional relationship problem, is that right?"
"Yes, that's correct," Jim replied.
Kathy jumped in. "I would never want to hurt his feelings. I had no idea he would react this way. Dr. Jim always has helped me."
"Then why did you see another DC?" asked the therapist.
"I don't think I really knew at first," Kathy said. "Maybe it was because Dr. Jim adjusted me the same way every time I saw him. Maybe I thought I needed something different in my treatment. At first, he seemed to be more interested in my symptoms. But over time, he seemed to be more interested in my vacations or how my golf game was going. I felt unfulfilled somehow. I know I have a chronic spinal problem. I was even scheduled for surgery. But I have always hoped there was a cure, not just treatment that made me feel better for a while. Then a girlfriend told me about a chiropractor she has seen who really helped her. So I thought, 'Why not? I'm not improving much with Dr. Jim, even though he helps me a lot.'"
The therapist reflected for a moment. "Then what?"
Kathy continued: "The new guy did an exam and then X-rayed my whole spine, which I shouldn't have let him do, since I already had X-rays done about two years ago with Dr. Jim. Well, then he drew all kinds of lines on the X-rays and made big circles over the bad spots. So I thought he knew how to fix my back."
"He did the same stuff that Dr. Jim did, only faster, like 10 times faster. And he wanted me to come in three times a week for six months. I did go for about a month, but he was in and out of the room so fast, I could never ask any questions. So, I went back to Dr. Jim."
"She didn't tell me any of this for weeks," said Dr. Jim. "Then I guess she felt guilty one day; she told me the whole story. I couldn't believe she would cheat on me like that!"
"Dr. Jim, I know you are aware that Kathy has the right to seek fulfillment and improvement outside of your professional relationship, right?" said the therapist.
"I suppose so, but emotionally I feel hurt and rejected. I gave her the best three years of adjustments I had in me, and then she drops me like a hot potato! I thought we had a great doctor-patient understanding, but I was wrong. I tried my best to help her, showing her exercises, spending extra time doing soft-tissue work on her sacrum. I even gave her a huge discount on a cervical pillow!
"And then it turns out this guy's not even the only chiropractor she's seen! Her sister spilled the beans one day and told me that Kathy had been adjusted by some guy in Orlando, too!"
"But that was just a one-day thing, while I was on vacation!" Kathy exclaimed. "My neck was killing me, so I had a couple glasses of wine at lunch. Before I knew it, I was on a treatment table in this chiropractor's office near Disneyland. Apparently I had wandered in there looking for relief. The details are still pretty sketchy."
The therapist cut in at this point. "I get the feeling we are at a place where a plan of action is needed to resolve this impasse. Kathy, you want Dr. Jim to continue treating you, and Dr. Jim, you hope to heal your mistrust of Kathy, because you really do want to keep treating her. So I have an idea."
"Kathy you need to learn patience, and Dr. Jim, you need to learn tolerance and trust in order to fix your jealousy. But patience and trust are not learned overnight. Correction of these psychological disorders takes time and investment. My prescription is that you both come in for counseling three times a week for six months."
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