Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Caroline drags me to marital therapy

The trees on Fulham Broadway had a sprinkle of white blossom, but it was with little hope that I climbed the stairs behind Caroline up to the first floor office of the Marital Solutions Counselling and Therapy Clinic. The place had been recommended to Caroline by her friend Xena, and Caroline had dragged me there for what she described as my last chance.

We were met by a receptionist in a white coat and directed towards a waiting room, the walls decorated with posters about erectile dysfunction. Clinic literature showing naked couples having air-brushsed sex was scattered on occasional tables beside the pale green chairs. Thankfully we were the only couple in the waiting room, but I still felt I had to talk in a whisper.

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Caroline? In my experience talking about things makes things worse, not better.”
“According to Xena, it’s not just about talking. They have male and female therapists who help you overcome problems with a physical or emotional cause. They say they can get you started again.”
“Couldn’t we go to an expensive hotel for the weekend? Wouldn’t a couple of days in bed with room service do the trick?”
“And what happened when we tried to find a weekend in between my business trips? You said you were going to a football match.”
“It wasn’t any football match. It’s the one that will decide the season.”
“You don’t have any insight, do you? We have to do something now or there’s no point in living together any longer.”
“I don’t know how you can say…” The sense of injustice that surged in me every time Caroline spoke was thankfully stemmed by the appearance of a woman with a mass of frizzy hair held up with a colourful headband.
“Good morning,” she announced, like she really believed it. “My name is Sheila Mavistock and I will be your counselor for the initial diagnostic sessions. You must be Caroline and Robert? I’ve so been looking forward to meeting you. You sound like wonderful people from your profiles.” Profiles? I didn’t recall completing a profile. Caroline gave me the look which said, Don’t say anything.
Sheila gave me a warm smile. “It’s unusual for a man to be so honest. That’s a good sign. I’m sure we’ll be able to help. Come this way.”  She led us to a room which was a cross between a lounge and a library. Shelves with psychology books lined the walls, heavy curtains framed the windows, and musty old sofas completed the look of Carl Jung’s study. She pointed us to a deep red damask three-seater sofa. We sat at either end.
“Time is precious so I’m going to assume you’ve read about our programme. It’s designed for busy, successful people and is proven to work by our own dedicated research team. The references are in the brochure at the back. Do you have any questions before we start?”

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.

email fanshawrobert@gmail.com