Transcript: Catherine Gildiner: Psychological Heroes | Jan 14, 2020

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a red blazer over a black shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Psychological Heroes. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN A
THERAPIST AND THEIR PATIENT IS
BOTH PRIVATE AND PROFOUND.
CATHERINE GILDINER WAS A
CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST FOR MORE
THAN 25 YEARS.
AND IN HER NEW BOOK, "GOOD
MORNING MONSTER," SHE LETS THE
REST OF US IN ON THE RECOVERY OF
A FEW PATIENTS, WHO SHE CALLS
"HEROIC."
SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF ONE NOVEL
AND THREE MEMOIRS.
AND CATHERINE GILDINER JOINS US
NOW.

Catherine is in her sixties, with curly white hair. She's wearing a blue shirt.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a folded picture of a black swan.

Nam continues HI.

Catherine says HI.

Nam says IT'S NICE TO MEET YOU.
THIS BOOK HIT ME IN THE GUT
(LAUGHING).

Catherine says GREAT.

Nam says SOME OF THE STORIES
STUCK WITH ME... ACTUALLY ALL OF
THE STORIES STUCK WITH ME FOR
DAYS.

Catherine says OH.

Nam says ON YOUR TWITTER HANDLE
YOU CALL YOURSELF AND I QUOTE
MOULDY PSYCHOLOGIST TURNED
WRITER.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

The caption changes to "Catherine Gildiner. Author, 'Good morning, monster.'"
Then, it changes again to "Left in the woods."

Catherine says I MEAN I WAS A PSYCHOLOGIST
UNTIL I WAS 50 AND THEN I
DECIDED TO BE A WRITER.
SO I WAS ALREADY 50 WHEN I
STARTED WRITING.
SO ANYBODY OUT THERE IN THE
AUDIENCE WHO SAYS, YOU KNOW, I'M
TOO OLD TO DO THIS, RIGHT...

Nam says USER NEVER TOO OLD.

Catherine says I STARTED AT 50.

Nam says WHY THE CHANGE?
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A
WRITER?

Catherine says I HAD HEARD STORIES FROM MY
PATIENTS FOR 25 YEARS AND THEN I
REALIZED, I HAD A STORY TO TELL,
AND I WANTED TO TELL MY STORY
WHICH, YOU KNOW, YOU COULDN'T DO
AS A PSYCHOLOGIST, SO THAT'S
WHY.

Nam says LET'S LOOK AT SOME OF
THE REMARKABLE PEOPLE THAT YOU
PROFILE IN THIS BOOK.
IT'S FIVE OF THEM.
THE FIRST ONE WHO HAPPENS TO BE
YOUR VERY FIRST PATIENT AS A
PSYCHOLOGIST IS LAURA.
CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF
BACKGROUND OF HER STORY?

Catherine says LAURA CAME TO ME FROM A GP
AND SHE HAD A LOT OF STRESS, BUT
SHE DIDN'T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT
THE WORD "STRESS" MEANT.
HER MOTHER HAD DIED WHEN SHE WAS
SIX AND THEN SHE HAD A
STEPMOTHER WHO DIED AS WELL,
BOTH UNDER STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES
WHICH...

Nam says INVOLVED HER FATHER.

Catherine says COULD HAVE.

Nam says COULD HAVE.

Catherine says YOU KNOW, WE DON'T KNOW THAT
FOR SURE, BUT THEY WERE BOTH
STRANGE DEATHS.
SO THEN THE FATHER PARENTED HER
AND HER TWO... HER BROTHER AND
HER SISTER AND THEN HE WAS ON
THE LAM FOR SOMETHING HE HAD
DONE AND BURIED MONEY AND THEY
MOVED UP NEAR HALIBURTON IN A
COTTAGE AND RIGHT WHEN THE
WINTER WAS BEGINNING HE WENT OUT
TO GET CIGARETTES AND HE DIDN'T
COME BACK.

Nam says AND LAURA MANAGED TO
TAKE CARE OF HER... SHE WAS 9
AND HER SIBLING...

Catherine says SHE WAS 8 AND THEN TURNED 9.
SHE HAD A SIBLING WHO WAS 7 AND
ONE WHO WAS 5.

Nam says AND REMARKABLY SHE
MANAGED TO TAKE CARE OF THEM FOR
6 MONTHS.

Catherine says UNTIL APRIL.

Nam says UNTIL APRIL.

Catherine says REMARKABLE.

Nam says IN THE BOOK YOU SPEAK
ABOUT THE FIVE PATIENTS AND YOU
CALL THEM HEROS.

Catherine says MM-HMM.

Nam says SO WHAT MADE LAURA
HEROIC?

The caption changes to "Catherine Gildiner, @cathygildiner."

Catherine says WHAT MADE HER HEROIC IN MY
EYES IS THAT SHE HAD INCREDIBLE
RESILIENCE.
SHE NEVER CRIED OVER SPILT MILK.
THAT WAS NOT HER M.O. AT ALL.
SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS, SHE
MANAGED... SHE WENT OUT AND
STOLE CLOTHES.
SHE WENT OUT AND STOLE FOOD.
AND SHE LEFT LITTLE TINY NOTES
SAYING WHAT SHE HAD TAKEN SO
WHEN SHE WAS AN ADULT SHE COULD
RETURN THEM.
IT'S VERY TOUCHING.
SHE BROUGHT THOSE IN AND THEY'RE
IN THIS LITTLE CHILD'S
HANDWRITING, RIGHT?
SHE WAS 8, AND SHE THOUGHT SHE
WAS OLD ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH
THESE.
THEN THEY BEGAN TO FAIL
PSYCHOLOGICALLY.
THE BROTHER BED-WET AND THE
SISTER WAS CRYING ALL THE TIME.
SHE HAD NO IDEA HOW TO PARENT SO
SHE WOULD THREATEN THEM.
IF YOU GUYS DON'T STOP, I'M
LEAVING, KIND OF THING, THE KIND
OF THING THE FATHER WOULD SAY,
RIGHT?
SO SHE HAD NO IDEA HOW TO DO IT.
SO SHE TURNED ON THE TV ONE DAY.
THEY ONLY GOT WORLD OF DISNEY
AND M A S H.
YOU KNOW THE SHOW M A S H?
ON THAT SHOW, THERE WAS A GUY,
COLONEL POTTER, AND COLONEL
POTTER WAS ONE OF THESE NICE,
KIND, MIDWESTERN DOCTORS WHO,
YOU KNOW, NEVER HAD A NEUROTIC
MOMENT AND WAS TALKING TO RADAR,
THE YOUNG BOY WHO WAS A SOLDIER,
AND HE DID THIS EVERY SHOW, TALK
TO RADAR.
AND SHE STARTED LISTENING.
I COULD DO THAT.
I COULD TALK LIKE COLONEL
POTTER.
JUST LIKE HE SAYS TO RADAR,
WE'LL ALL GO HOME SOME DAY,
DON'T WORRY, THIS IS TEMPORARY.
ALL THE THINGS HE SAID.
SO SHE BEGAN WATCHING HIM AND
THEN SHE TRIED THAT WITH HER
BROTHER AND SISTER.

Nam says AT 8 AND 9.

A colour picture shows a clean-shaven man in his sixties in an armed forces uniform, saluting.

Catherine says AND IT WORKED INCREDIBLY WELL
BECAUSE ABOUT THE BED-WETTING,
SHE DIDN'T THREATEN HIM BUT SAID
THIS IS JUST TEMPORARY.
WE'RE ALL GOING TO GO HOME.
AND HE STOPPED.
AND EVERYONE SEEMED TO GET
BETTER.
BUT I TOTALLY ADMIRED THAT.
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT RESILIENCE,
SHE REACHED INTO THE TELEVISION
AND PULLED A FATHER OUT.
AND HE BECAME A FATHER FIGURE
FOR HER FOR HER WHOLE LIFE.
SHE ACTUALLY BECAME VERY
SUCCESSFUL AS AN ADULT...

Nam says HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE
SUCCESSFUL?
LIKE, WOULD YOU DEFINE HER LIFE
NOW AS SUCCESSFUL?

Catherine says YES.
SHE MARRIED A REALLY WONDERFUL
PERSON.
THEY'VE BEEN VERY FINANCIALLY
SUCCESSFUL.
SHE HAS STARTED ALL KINDS OF
CHARITIES.

Nam says AND SHE HAD CHILDREN
AS WELL?

Catherine says AND SHE HAD CHILDREN AS WELL
AND THEY'VE ALL DONE VERY WELL.
SO SHE HAS BEEN QUITE HAPPY.

Nam says WHAT DOES LAURA'S
STORY TEACH US ABOUT THE HUMAN
SPIRIT?

Catherine says JUST KEEP GOING AND DO NOT
SAY, "OKAY, WE HAVE TO GIVE UP."
BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT OF GIVING UP
AND GOING TO THE AUTHORITIES BUT
SHE KNEW THEY'D ALL GO TO FOSTER
CARE, RIGHT?
WHICH DID EVENTUALLY HAPPEN,
RIGHT?

The caption changes to "Surviving and persevering."

Nam says YOU HAVE ANOTHER
PATIENT BY THE NAME OF DANNY.
COULD YOU READ THIS SECTION OFF
FROM THE BOOK?
AND THIS IS AN EXCHANGE BETWEEN
DANNY AND YOU.
DANNY IS AN INDIGENOUS MAN WHOSE
WIFE AND CHILD WERE KILLED IN A
CAR ACCIDENT AND THEN HIS BOSS
ASKED YOU TO SEE HIM.

Catherine says MM-HMM.
BECAUSE HE DIDN'T MOURN.
HE SAID HE'S NOT MOURNING.
HE WENT TO WORK THE NEXT DAY AND
NEVER SAID A WORD.
THEN HE WAS SENT TO ME.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Therapy and culture." The quote reads "Week by week, a few things would come out. I tried to simply be a witness. I decided not to ask about his wife or child or his lack of mourning -if he never consciously felt pain, then no wonder he didn't mourn. At one point, though, I did say this: 'People who don't feel pain can't feel joy.'
He made eye contact with me for the first time. 'I can live without joy.'
'Do you think there's no pain in your heart or are you saying you have locked it away?' I ventured.
He said nothing more. But a week later he came in, sat down and, as though we were still having the same conversation said: 'It is locked away.'"
Quoted from Catherine Gildiner, "Good morning, monster." 2019.

Nam says HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT
PEELING AWAY THE EMOTIONAL
LAYERS WITH DANNY?

Catherine says IT WAS DIFFICULT BECAUSE
DANNY DID NOT TALK, AND WHEN HE
CAME IN... SOMETIMES WEEKS WOULD
GO BY AND HE WOULDN'T SAY
ANYTHING IN THERAPY, RIGHT?
AND I HAD HIM FOR FIVE YEARS.
SO BY THE END, WE WOULD TALK
ABOUT THE BEGINNING.
AND HE THOUGHT HE WAS GETTING TO
KNOW ME.
AND I THOUGHT: I'M NOT DOING THE
JOB.
SO WE WERE BOTH HAVING DIFFERENT
FEELINGS.
HE WASN'T THE LEAST BIT
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE SILENCE
AND HE ALWAYS MADE THE
APPOINTMENT AND HE WAS A TRUCK
DRIVER WHO DROVE ACROSS CANADA,
SO HE HAD TO MAKE ELABORATE
PLANS TO BE IN MY OFFICE EACH
WEEK.
SO FINALLY I DECIDED TO JUST ASK
HIM, HIS PARENTS WERE TRAPPERS,
ONE OF THE LAST TRAPPERS FROM
HIS TRIBE, HE WAS CREE.
AND SO I FINALLY DECIDED TO JUST
TALK TO HIM.
JUST TALK TO HIM ABOUT TRAPPING
AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE AND WHAT IT
WAS LIKE TO, YOU KNOW, LIVE IN
THE WOODS.
SO HE STARTED... HE BEGAN TO
TALK ABOUT... JUST ABOUT THAT.
WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT ANYTHING
EMOTIONAL FOR ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE
MONTHS.
I MEAN, I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT
TRAPPING, BASICALLY EVERYTHING
YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT TRAPPING,
RIGHT?
AND SO, YOU KNOW, SLOWLY... BUT,
I MEAN, SO I'M SAYING SOMETIMES
WE WOULD ONLY HAVE 15 MINUTES'
WORTH OF CONVERSATION.

Nam says EVENTUALLY YOU FIND
OUT HE WENT TO RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOL.

Catherine says I FOUND OUT HE WENT TO
RESIDENTIAL AT FIVE YEARS OLD.
TWO MEN CAME THROUGH THE FOREST
AND SAID TO HIS PARENTS, "YOU
MAY NOT RAISE YOUR CHILDREN...
THEY WERE CALLED INDIANS THEN.
YOU MAY NOT RAISE YOUR CHILDREN
AS AN INDIAN ANYMORE.
THE GOVERNMENT IS STEPPING IN."
AND THE PARENTS DIDN'T
UNDERSTAND ENGLISH, SO THEY HAD
NO IDEA.
AND, YOU KNOW, DANNY SAYS THE
ONLY THING HE REMEMBERS ABOUT
THE TWO MEN IS THEY HAD LEATHER
SHOES IN THE SNOW.
THAT'S ALL HE REMEMBERED.

Nam says IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE
FOR HIM NOW.

Catherine says HE THOUGHT THAT WAS STRANGE.
HE WAS TAKEN THOUSANDS OF MILES
AWAY AND HE DIDN'T GO BACK HOME
UNTIL HE WAS 18.

Nam says WHAT WAS MISSING FOR
DANNY IN YOUR TRAINING AS A
PSYCHOLOGIST?

Catherine says OH, WELL, I KNEW... I KNEW
THAT THINGS... FIRST OF ALL, HE
WENT TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL AND,
YOU KNOW, I'M WHITE AND I'M PART
OF THAT WHOLE PROCESS.
I MEAN, I WASN'T... IT WASN'T MY
DECISION, BUT I'M PART OF THAT
PROCESS.
I MEAN, HOW COULD HE REALLY
TRUST ME, RIGHT?
WE HAD ALL OF THOSE ISSUES.
PLUS, I FOUND... NATIVE AND
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE... I'VE SEEN A
LOT OF THEM NOW... ARE VERY
DIFFERENTLY PSYCHOLOGICALLY,
HAVE ANIMAL DREAMS, VERY
DIFFERENT KINDS OF THINGS.
I REALIZED THAT... SIGMUND FREUD
SO JEWISH WOMEN.
WOULD WHAT HE SAW INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE LIKE DANNY?
HE'D HAVE A DIFFERENT THEORY.
I BEGAN LOOKING FOR INDIGENOUS
HEALERS.
THIS GOES BACK 35 YEARS.
THIS IS WHEN PEOPLE HADN'T EVEN
HEARD OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.
SO I FINALLY FOUND ONE AT
HARVARD IN THE U.S., COULDN'T
FIND ANYBODY HERE, AND
DR. BRANT.
I'D LIKE TO ACTUALLY DO A BOOK
ON THIS.
HE AND I EXCHANGED HUNDREDS OF
LETTERS AND HE WAS SO KIND TO
ME.
AND HE SAID: YOU CAN CURE HIM IN
THE WHITE WAY.
GO AHEAD AND CURE HIM.
WHICH I DID.
LIKE, EVENTUALLY HE COULD
EXPRESS HIS FEELINGS.
EVENTUALLY HE COULD SAY AT
WORK, "DO NOT CALL ME THAT NAME.
I DON'T LIKE IT."
HE LEARNED HOW TO GET HIS
FEELINGS OUT AND HE LEARNED
BOUNDARIES, HOW TO SAY, "YOU
CAN'T DO THAT TO ME."
THAT'S WHAT WHITE THERAPY IS
GOOD AT, RIGHT?

Nam says YOU HELPED HIM
RECONNECT TO HIS BACKGROUND.

Catherine says THAT WAS THE HARD PART.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO RECONNECT WITH
HIS BACKGROUND.

Nam says THAT WAS A TRIGGER FOR
HIM.

Catherine says IT WAS A TOTAL TRIGGER.
ONE TIME HE SAW HIS SISTER FAR
AWAY IN ANOTHER FIELD, HE WAS AT
THE GIRLS' PART OF THE SCHOOL,
AND HE SCREAMED "HELLO" AND THE
PRIEST SAID, "DON'T EVER SPEAK
IN NATIVE LANGUAGE AGAIN.
AND HE SAID IT AGAIN BECAUSE HE
WAS SO EXCITED TO SEE HER.
HE WAS IN A HOSPITAL FOR THREE
WEEKS BEATEN TO A PULP.

Nam says THIS IS WHEN HE WAS 5,
6.

Catherine says HE WAS LIKE 6 AND HE NEVER
SPOKE ANOTHER WORD OF CREE AND
CREE REALLY CAUSED HIM TO FEEL
DIZZY, WEAK, AND HE WOULD BREAK
OUT INTO A SWEAT.
SO HE SAID, "I DON'T WANT TO GO
BACK TO BE A NATIVE.
EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS
TERRIFYING."
DO YOU KNOW THAT HE MADE HIM
CONFESS IN CONFESSIONALS THAT HE
WAS A NATIVE EVERY SATURDAY?

Nam says THAT WAS HIS SIN.

Catherine says THAT WAS HIS SIN, RIGHT.
IT WORKED PERFECTLY.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO GO BACK TO
BEING A NATIVE.
BUT WHAT DIDN'T WORK PERFECTLY
WAS HE WASN'T WHITE SO HE DIDN'T
HAVE A CULTURE, AND I HAD A LOT
OF TROUBLE TRYING TO GET HIM TO
GO BACK TO THIS.
I KEPT WRITING TO DR. BRANT AND
HE SAID, YOU KNOW, TRY
SMUDGING... I WENT AND I DID THE
SMUDGING.
I DID THE SWEAT LODGES.
YOU KNOW, I DID ALL OF THESE
THINGS.
AND I WAS AMAZED AT HOW WARM THE
COMMUNITY WAS.
I SAID THIS IS WHAT I'M DOING.
THEY SAID, COME ON UP.
WE'LL SHOW YOU WHAT WE DO.
YOU CAN DO A SWEAT LODGE.
SO I LEARNED A LOT.

Nam says YOU HELPED HIM
RECONNECT TO HIS FOUNDATION.

Catherine says THAT'S RIGHT.
AND ODDLY ENOUGH, MY OFFICE IS
ONE BLOCK AWAY FROM THE NATIVE
CENTRE.
SO HE WALKED BY ONE TIME AND HE
SAW THAT THE LIBRARY WAS CALLED,
IN CREE, YOU KNOW, IT SAID
"LOCAL LIBRARY" AND IT'S A LONG
CREE WORD AND HE SAW IT AND HE
WAS ACTUALLY ABLE TO READ IT AND
HE WALKED DOWN, I'M GOING TO DO
THIS, I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS
LANGUAGE, I'M GOING TO LEARN HOW
TO DO THIS.
BUT THEY HAD TO PRACTICALLY
CARRY HIM OUT THE FIRST TIME.
HE JUST WENT IN AND BROKE INTO A
SWEAT.

Nam says THE OTHER PERSON I
WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE
BOOK, THERE ARE FIVE PEOPLE, THE
THIRD ONE IS MADELINE.
CAN YOU TELL US HER STORY?

The caption changes to "The neglected daughter."

Catherine says MADELINE WAS REFERRED TO ME
BY HER FATHER.
I HAD SEEN HIM FOR MARRIAGE
COUNSELLING LONG BEFORE THAT.
SHE WAS VERY WEALTHY, ONE OF THE
WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN CANADA.
THIS GOES BACK TO THE 1950S.
HER MOTHER MARRIED HER FATHER...
THIS IS WHEN FATHERS WERE... YOU
KNOW, RICH PEOPLE WERE WRITTEN
UP IN THE SOCIETY PAGES: WE'LL
SPEND SUMMER IN NANTUCKET.
SO A GOLD-DIGGING WOMAN WHO
WANTED TO MARRY HIM WENT TO THAT
PLACE AND MET HIM.
SHE'S VERY BEAUTIFUL.
AND SURE ENOUGH, THEY MARRIED.

Nam says AND THEY HAD MADELINE.

Catherine says SHE DIDN'T WANT ANY CHILDREN.
HE SAID WHAT AM I GOING TO DO
WITH ALL MY MONEY?
SHE SAID I'LL SPEND IT.
SO THEY HAD ONE CHILD, MADELINE.
AND THE MOTHER ABSOLUTELY DID
NOT HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TO
PARENT...

Nam says THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK
COMES FROM HER.

Catherine says EVERY SINGLE MORNING SHE
WOULD COME DOWN, SHE WOULD COME
DOWN THE STAIRS AND HER MOTHER
WOULD SAY, "GOOD MORNING,
MONSTER."
ONE TIME SHE SAID TO HER MOTHER,
I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
WHAT SHE TRIED TO DO TO MAKE HER
LIFE WORK WAS TO BE PERFECT.
SHE WENT TO PRIVATE SCHOOL AND
SHE WAS HEAD GIRL AND SHE WENT
TO LSE... SHE DID EVERYTHING
PERFECTLY, SHE WAS ON THE TENNIS
TEAM, AND SHE WOULD SAY TO HER
MOTHER, WHY DOES EVERYBODY LIKE
ME BUT YOU?
SHE SAYS A MOTHER KNOWS HER
MONSTER.

Nam says SO NO MATTER WHAT SHE
DID, SHE NEVER WAS GOOD ENOUGH.

Catherine says MM-HMM.

Nam says WHY DO YOU THINK HER
SITUATION MIGHT HAVE BEEN MORE
DIRE THAN LAURA'S?

Catherine says IT'S... IT'S REALLY SHOCKING
WHAT HAPPENS WITH... PEOPLE
THINK, OH, WHEN YOU'RE WEALTHY,
YOU HAVE ALL THE SERVICES YOU
WOULD WANT.
BUT THAT'S ABSOLUTELY THE
OPPOSITE.
I MEAN, WHAT HAPPENED WAS, HER
PARENTS WENT TO RUSSIA AND HER
MOTHER FORGOT TO GET A
BABYSITTER WHEN SHE WAS 11.

Nam says FOR 6 WEEKS.

Catherine says FOR 6 WEEKS.
SO THE POWER WENT OUT AND THEY
HAVE ALARM SYSTEMS ALL OVER, SO
THE POLICE CAME AND THE ALARM
PEOPLE CAME AND SAW THAT SHE WAS
ALONE.

Nam says BUT THE POLICE I GUESS
ASSUMED...

Catherine says THE POLICE SAID, WOW, WELL...
I THINK THE POLICE
UNCONSCIOUSLY... I DON'T THINK
IT'S CONSCIOUS... UNCONSCIOUSLY
SAID, THESE PEOPLE ARE REALLY
RICH AND THEY GIVE LOTS OF MONEY
TO HOSPITALS.
THEY CAN'T BE BAD PEOPLE.
I THINK IF WE REPORT HIM, WE
COULD GET INTO TROUBLE.
LET'S GET OUT OF HERE.
THEY LEFT NOT DOING A THING AND
LEFT HER FOR THREE WEEKS.
AT LEAST WHEN LAURA WAS FOUND,
SHE WAS SENT TO FOSTER CARE.
THEY SAID, OH, OKAY, WE HAVE TO
HANDLE THIS SITUATION.
BUT WHEN SOMEBODY IS WEALTHY,
EVERYTHING GOING FOR THEM IN AN
EXTERIOR WAY, YOU DON'T KNOW
WHAT HELL THEY'RE LIVING
THROUGH, YOU KNOW?

Nam says A LINE THAT STUCK WITH
ME FROM THE BOOK YOU WRITE IS
THAT THERAPY ISN'T GETTING TO
THE TRUTH.
IF IT'S NOT ABOUT GETTING TO THE
TRUTH, THEN WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

The caption changes to "An imperfect practice."

Catherine says THERAPY IS ABOUT LEARNING
COPING TECHNIQUES, AND THE
MORE... AND IT'S ALSO ABOUT
HELPING YOU GET RID OF YOUR
DEFENCES, WHICH WE START
BUILDING UP AS TINY CHILDREN.
AND YOU CAN'T GET AT ANY TRUTH
ABOUT YOURSELF IF YOU JUST HAVE
LAYERS AND LAYERS AND LAYERS OF
DEFENCES, RIGHT?
SO IF YOU CAN PULL THIS DEFENCE
AWAY AND THIS ONE AND THIS ONE
AND THEN YOU KIND OF GET INTO,
WOW, THIS IS WHAT I'M REALLY
FRIGHTENED OF... THE EXAMPLE
WITH DANNY.
HE HAD ALL KINDS OF SEXUAL
ABUSE.
AND I SAID... WE TALKED A LOT
ABOUT THAT.
AND HE SAID, YOU KNOW, THAT
WASN'T THE WORST THING.
THE WORST THING WAS INCREDIBLE
LONELINESS.
THAT'S WHY HE NEVER TALKED TO
PEOPLE AFTER THAT.
HE JUST THOUGHT, I CAN'T COMMIT
TO PEOPLE EVER BECAUSE IF I DO,
THEY'LL ALL BE TAKEN AWAY FROM
ME SOME DAY.
I JUST... I CAN'T COMMIT.
AND OF COURSE THAT MADE HIM EVEN
MORE LONELY AS AN ADULT.
THAT'S WHY HE WAS LIKE A FROZEN
BRICK OF ICE.
SO WHEN HIS WIFE AND CHILD DIED,
HE WAS LIKE, WELL, THEY'RE GONE.

Nam says IT'S ANOTHER THING
THAT'S HAPPENED...

Catherine says ANOTHER THING THAT'S
HAPPENED, THAT'S RIGHT.

Nam says IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF
YOUR BOOK YOU WRITE ABOUT YOUR
PRACTICE, AND YOU WRITE THIS...

Another quote from Catherine's book appears on screen, under the title "An imperfect practice." The quote reads "I was learning a lot about the ad hoc nature of therapy. Before entering private practice I'd had no idea how many theoretical deviations were required to keep up with a patient. I was quickly realizing that theoretical purity was strictly an academic extravagance. As a psychologist, I would use any weapon from whatever discipline I could find.
Yet even with the necessary intellectual training, at the practical level, I sometimes struggled."

Nam says HOW DID YOU STRUGGLE?

Catherine says WHEN I FIRST STARTED OUT, I
THOUGHT, I THINK I'LL BE A
FREUDIAN.
I THINK I'LL COLLECT A HISTORY.
EVERYBODY COLLECTS A HISTORY.
YOU SPEND AGES LEARNING HOW TO
TAKE A HISTORY FROM A PATIENT AS
SOON AS THEY COME IN THE DOOR
AND WE ALL LEARN WE HAVE TO DO
THAT.
WE WATCH THROUGH ONE-WAY MIRRORS
AND DO ALL OF THAT.
LAURA, FOR EXAMPLE, WALKED IN
AND I SAID I'D LIKE TO DO A
HISTORY AND SHE SAID NO WAY!
I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THOSE
VILLAGE IDIOTS.
I'M NOT DOING THAT.
SO I THOUGHT, WOW, EVEN WHEN I
WORKED AT LAKESHORE PSYCHIATRIC,
SOMEBODY SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW, I
AM THE VIRGIN MARY, AND I SAID,
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
SHE SAID NAZARETH.
I GOT A HISTORY, RIGHT?
BUT I HAD TO LEARN YOU'VE GOT TO
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES.
IT DOESN'T LOOK THAT WAY WHEN
YOU'RE IN SCHOOL.
SO YOU HAVE TO FIND WAYS TO
INSERT THAT THEORY.
IF THAT THEORY DOESN'T WORK, YOU
HAVE TO TRY ANOTHER ONE.

Nam says BECAUSE YOU WANT THEM
TO COME BACK.

Catherine says YOU WANT TO REEL THEM BACK
IN.
YOU'D SAY, I'LL TRY FREUD.
JUNG IS TREMENDOUSLY
INTERESTING.
IT DOESN'T GET YOU RID OF YOUR
ANXIETY.
THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE THERE
FOR.

Nam says WHAT'S INTERESTING IS
YOU ALSO WRITE ABOUT THE
MISTAKES YOU MADE AS A
THERAPIST.

Catherine says OH, YES.

Nam says WHAT DID YOU LEARN
ABOUT YOURSELF FROM THOSE
MISTAKES?

Catherine says WELL... WHAT DID I... I
LEARNED THAT EVEN THOUGH... I
MEAN, EVERYBODY THAT'S A
THERAPIST HAS TO HAVE THEIR OWN
THERAPY JUST SO YOU DON'T MAKE A
BUNCH OF MISTAKES BASED ON YOUR
OWN UNCONSCIOUS STUFF, RIGHT?
HERE'S A PERFECT EXAMPLE.
MY EDITOR, MY EDITOR AT PENGUIN
SAID, YOU KNOW, YOU LET
MADELINE'S FATHER OFF THE HOOK
ALL THE TIME, WHEN I WAS READING
THAT, HE WAS ALWAYS... HE DIDN'T
REALLY PARENT HER.
HE LET THAT AWFUL MOTHER CONTROL
HER.
THE TWO OF THEM HID IN THE
BASEMENT WHEN SHE WOULD SLASH
THE FURNITURE.
AND SHE SLASHED THE FURNITURE
BECAUSE HE SAID IT DIDN'T
REDECORATING AND THEN SHE
SLASHED IT AND SAID, NOW WE DO.
BUT HE DIDN'T REALLY TAKE CARE
OF HER.
AND I ACTUALLY REALIZED THROUGH
THIS EDITOR THAT I SHOULD REALLY
LOOK AT WHY I LET HIM OFF THE
HOOK.

Nam says DID YOU FIND OUT?

Catherine says YEAH.
I REALIZED THAT HE REMINDED ME
VERY, VERY MUCH OF MY FATHER,
RIGHT?
AND MY FATHER, AT A YOUNG AGE,
HAD A BRAIN TUMOUR AND LOST
EVERYTHING.
BUT THERE WAS A TIME WHEN HE WAS
VERY, VERY SUCCESSFUL.
AND I LOST HIM WHEN I WAS A
TEENAGER.
BUT I REMEMBER, HE WAS A LOT
LIKE HER FATHER.
I WANTED THAT IMAGE OF MY FATHER
AT THE AGE WHEN HE WAS
COMPETENT.
AND THEY LOOKED ALIKE.
SO I THOUGHT, WOW, YOU KNOW, THE
EDITOR WAS POINTING OUT, YEAH, I
LET HIM... SO I WENT TO A
THERAPIST AND I TALKED ABOUT IT
AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, THAT'S
WHAT I DID, AND I FIGURED OUT
WHY I DID IT.

Nam says I THINK WE HAVE THIS
ASSUMPTION THAT THERAPISTS ARE
ALL-KNOWING.

Catherine says NOT TRUE.

Nam says FINAL QUESTION BECAUSE
WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME,
UNFORTUNATELY.

Catherine says OH.

Nam says BUT, YOU KNOW, THESE
STORIES ARE, YOU KNOW, THEY...
IT'S INCREDIBLE TO FIND OUT HOW
MUCH THE HUMAN SPIRIT CAN
ENDURE.

Catherine says SHOCKING.

Nam says HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE
EMOTIONAL TOLL BECAUSE YOUR JOB
IS TO HELP PEOPLE NAVIGATE THAT?
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE EMOTIONAL
TOLL?

Catherine says YOU KNOW, I LOOK AT IT AS AN
INTELLECTUAL PUZZLE AND NOT AN
EMOTIONAL ONE.
SOME OF THEM ARE VERY SAD.
I ALWAYS SAY, OKAY, I'VE GOT A
PUZZLE HERE.
HOW AM I GOING TO SOLVE IT?
OR A MYSTERY.
OKAY, THIS ISN'T WHAT CAUSING
IT.
IS THIS?
IS THIS?
IS THIS?
AS LONG AS YOU KEEP LOOKING IN
AN INTELLECTUAL WAY, YOU DON'T
BECOME INVOLVED.
OCCASIONALLY THINGS HAPPEN LIKE
THE FATHER WHO LOOKED LIKE MY
FATHER.
THOSE THINGS YOU GET PULLED IN.
BUT I TRIED REALLY HARD NOT TO
DO THAT.
ALSO I WORKED FOR MY FATHER WHEN
I WAS A LITTLE GIRL FROM THE AGE
OF 4 TO 12 DELIVERING
MEDICATIONS BECAUSE HE OWNED A
DRUGSTORE.
SO I WOULD OFTEN SAY, OH, THESE
PEOPLE ARE DYING OF CANCER AND
THEY'RE SAD AND ALL ALONE WHEN I
GAVE THEM THE MEDICATION.
MY FATHER WOULD SAY, WE'VE GOT A
WHOLE DAY'S WORK, WE'VE GOT TO
GO, WE HAVE TO DROP OFF ALL
THESE MEDICATIONS, YOU CAN'T
STAY WITH THEM.
IT'S UNFORTUNATE.
I THINK I LEARNED TO
COMPARTMENTALIZE AT A REALLY
YOUNG AGE.
THIS IS MY JOB, THIS IS MY JOB,
THIS ISN'T MY JOB.

Nam says I GUESS WHAT ALL OF US
DO IT TO COPE WITH WHATEVER
WE'RE DEALING WITH.

Catherine says THAT'S RIGHT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler."

Nam says CATHERINE, THANK YOU
SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.
THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE.
IT GIVES A LOT OF PERSPECTIVE.

Catherine says THANKS, NAM.

Nam says THAT WAS CATHERINE
GILDINER AND THE AUTHOR OF
"GOOD MORNING MONSTER."
THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Catherine says THANK YOU.

Watch: Catherine Gildiner: Psychological Heroes