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Levin, E. (2009). The Littlest Therapist. Psychoanal. Perspect., 6(1):81-82.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 6(1):81-82

The Littlest Therapist

Emily Levin, LCSW

When I was a little girl, around six or seven, we had a neighbor who was a therapist and saw patients in her home. I was fascinated. I would race home from school, park my stool in front of the kitchen window, and stare at the patients walking in and out of her house. I wanted to know everything about what happened inside. I would observe the patients with wonder. What was wrong? What were they talking about? How did they get to my neighbor's house? Where did they work? Did they have a little girl? Did they like ice cream? I had a million questions. I would make up stories about the patients, but somehow the stories did not seem to help me figure out what happened inside my neighbor's home. I was dying to figure this out. So, I decided I would become a therapist, and then I would know what happened.

My room became my office. I set up my desk with my pink plastic phone on top and my bills and notepads inside. I dressed in my mother's heels. Overalls and heels made for an interesting therapist uniform. I would put my dolls on my bed, and they'd talk about their feelings. They would ask questions, and I would give them answers. I spent hours in my office. One day my father arrived home from work and knocked on my office door. “What's going on in there?” he wanted to know. “Your mother says you have been up here for hours.” I walked to the door in my heels and overalls and announced, “Dad, I am a therapist. If you want to talk, schedule an appointment.”

My phone began to ring off the hook. My father, my grandfather, my aunt—they all wanted to come in for some shrinking. My father set up an appointment with me and arrived the next day. He came right after work and did not even stop to take off his suit and tie—he was eager to get started. I instructed him to lie on my bed. There he was in his suit and tie lying on my bed with my dolls and blankie. He was my patient on my analytic couch. I was soooo excited. My dad started, “Well, Dr. Levin, I have come to see you because I have this issue that has been on my mind, and I was hoping you could provide me with some answers.”

“Okay,” I replied. He continued: “So I have this issue, Dr. Levin, and I don't know what to do. I have this little girl who sometimes does not like to clean her room, and I am not sure how to get her to clean it.” “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!” I screeched.

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