From the Journals of Dr. James Walter Richter, Licensed Marriage Counsellor

Dr. J.W. Richter, Licensed Marriage Counsellor

Dr. J.W. Richter, Licensed Marriage Counsellor

August 7, 2008, 1:00PM PST: Held first private session with subject Shriver, M. [wife]. Subject claimed marriage has been strained for some time. Blames poor communication with subject Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. While subject Shriver, M. conceded that lack of open dialogue in marriage may be a result of husband’s work as action hero, strongest man in the world and 38th governor of this, the great state of California, she claims problems run much deeper. Major breakthrough.

August 8, 2008, 3:00PM PST: Conducted first private session with subject Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. Bigger than I anticipated. Eagerly greeted me with a firm handshake. Asked me how the “party” was. Despite subject’s confident swagger and air of refined machismo that preceded him, he seemed comfortable in therapy environment. Commented that he believed “head shrinking” was for “fancy lads,” a remark I took to be in jest. Subject denied any rift in marriage with subject Shriver, S. being result of poor communication on his part. Claimed wife had “more issues than Reader’s Digest.” Asked me if I knew what a psychiatrist’s favourite fast food restaurant chain was. Before I could offer response, he emphatically interjected: “Kentucky Freud Chicken!” No progress made.

August 10, 2008, 1:30 PM PST: Conducted first group session with subjects Shriver, M. [wife] and Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. Subject Shriver, M. seemed flustered upon entering session, whereas subject Schwarzenegger, A. seemed typically gregarious, greeting me with another firm handshake. As soon as subject Shriver positioned herself on the chaise lounge, husband quickly snapped “See Doc, I told you she was a great lay!” Found it difficult not to be amused by subject’s effortless wordplay. [Wife] again spoke at length regarding lack of communication in their marriage, and her frustration with husband’s inability to speak honestly with her. Suggested that subject Schwarzenegger, A. used puns as a defense mechanism. Also suggested that considering his decades-long naturalization in the United States, his thick Austrian accent constitutes an affectation. Subject Schwarzenegger, A. responded with “Honey, maybe you should act like a pair of curtains and pull yourself together.” No progress made.

August 16, 2008. 4:00PM PST: Conducted second group session with subjects Shriver, M. [wife] and Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. Suggested that the couple engage in a role-playing exercise where [husband] would assume role of [wife] and vice-versa, in order to place themselves in the other’s loafers, metaphorically and so-to-speak. Subject Schwarzenegger, A. responded “I don’t do requests.” [Wife] stormed out in what could best be described in medical health terms as a disgruntled huff. No progress made.

August 20, 2008. 2:15PM PST: Conducted third group session with subjects Shriver, M. [wife] and Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. Subject Shriver, M. appeared visibly distressed, chain-smoking cigarettes throughout entire session. Subject Schwarzenegger, A.  again seemed entirely unruffled, greeting me with a friendly “high five” and smiling throughout the duration of session. [Wife] relayed a story wherein subject Schwarzenegger, A. became violently angry as a result of a subpar dinner preparation. When prodded on subject of supper in question, [husband] reacted defensively, saying “Are you crazy?! I am not going to eat dry chicken! If I see a stupid chicken like that again I punch my hand through its stomach and break its spine!!!” Subject Schwarzenegger, A. then proceeded to snatch client registry off my desk and tear it in half. Impressive. No progress made.

August 27, 2008. 5:00PM PST: Conducted what would turn out to be final group session with subjects Shriver, M. [wife] and Schwarzenegger, A. [husband]. Subject Shriver, M. seemed at her wits end. Subject Schwarzenegger, A., unusually attentive to [wife]’s aggravation. Was uncharacteristically forthcoming in telling her/me that he is “like a genie” in that his emotions “are all bottled up.” Subject Shriver, M. was unmoved by what I considered a major breakthrough. [Wife] turned to [husband] and said “Consider this a divorce” in a mawkish Teutonic accent that I took to be a jibe at subject Schwarzenegger, A.’s inelegant handling of American English. Schwarzenegger, A. assertively shouted back “Hasta la vista, baby!” After subject Shriver, M. had left office, subject Schwarzenegger, A. sat sullen on edge of upholstered sofa in silence for a few minutes. Swore I saw single tear bead down his mighty cheek. May have been problem with contact lenses of subject Richter, Dr. J.W. [self]. After prolonged silence, subject Schwarzenegger, A. expressed emotional openness unbecoming of Styrian Oak, muttering to himself, “She’ll be back.” Major breakthrough. NOTE: Payment for counselling services rendered not yet received.

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