When I was at college, I responded to an ad placed in the monthly student newsletter by a retired psychoanalyst, Dr. Beardsworth. He was offering analysis at no charge to students who could not afford the fee. I had no idea, at the time, of the difference between psychoanalysis and any other kind of psychotherapy, or what the treatment would have cost were I paying for it. I went to see Dr. Beardsworth because I was unhappy. I continued to see him twice a week for over two years.
In the pre-internet days, there was more scope for projection. Today it is almost impossible for a therapist to be a blank slate, or for a patient to restrain her curiosity. Before my first appointment with my most recent therapist, I had already scrolled through his wedding registry online. The wedding was almost a year ago, but the registry was still there. The couple had asked for twelve identical sets of Macy’s Hotel Collection Bath Towels. And each set contained twelve towels. One hundred and forty-four towels!