This blog is dedicated to and named for “Billie Jean.”* She was my first really difficult case after finishing graduate school and training to become a therapist.
Billie Jean’s childhood physical and sexual abuse was so severe that it left deep and searing wounds in her psyche. Her story was so horrifying, and with each weekly session bringing more shocking details, I finally concluded she was making it all up.
I decided she was probably writing a book, and using me to gather info on how a therapist would respond to this made up case. Of course she was not.
Since it was the first such story of horrible sexual and physical abuse I’d heard, I guess it was my mind’s way of dealing with it. As the years went by and I gained more experience , I’d hear many more stories equally as tragic.
Billie Jean had been to many therapists before me and later told me she’d decided in advance I was to be her last. If this didn’t work, she’d never be back.
But it did work. Billie Jean and I clicked. In mental health we call it rapport. I would eventually diagnose her with five mental illnesses and two personality disorders. Over the course of the next five years in therapy, she would make a full recovery.**
Ten years later I was in private practice and Billie Jean was constantly referring her friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers to me. She would tell them, “You’ve just got to go see my Jackie.” I guess Billie Jean created more buzz for me than any marketing tool.
“MyJackie” is dedicated to Billie Jean and all the Billie Jean’s I’ve seen since the original Billie Jean and all the Billie Jean’s yet to come. Please know that we have mutually enriched each others’ lives and that I salute your courage, determination and desire to get and stay healthy.
* Please see disclaimer at the bottom of my homepage. All client names, dates, locations and other identifiying information have been changed to protect confidentiality.
**You can read Billie Jean’s full story in my book, The Diary of a Therapist which I hope will be published in the near future. (Hint, hint: looking for an agent.) The chapter is titled, “The Transformation of Billie Jean.”