On the island where I grew up,
psychotherapy begins with a battery of tests to assess the patients ability to assimilate different aspects of the psyche. Most exams begin with the traditional psycho-gram that produces a digital image of the patient’s soul, which in healthy patients looks like an apartment building with a million glowing rooms, each a lit box connected by squiggly lines. Island therapists explain that each box and line represents one of the many apartments in the mind and the connections between them, which are sort of like staircases or elevators you take from time to time. Usually you reside in one apartment or another, depending on your job, your type or spouse or state of mind. There are different names for the apartments as well as varying interpretations of their contents. Folks usually assume that the apartments on the top floor with the expensive views belong to the higher self, the feminine soul, and the muse. Far below is the lower self, though it isn’t as low as you might think. Not as long as you can peer into its windows and see a few folks or scenes you wish to forget but never do. There are apartments for the past self below you as well, and the future self who often passes you on the stairway but never says hello. The fantasy self and the dream self are always trying to pick the locks of every apartment you use. And in the basement is the tragic self who is only in love with bad news. The therapist’s goal is not to control the rooms you enter, but rather to be sure you move easily from floor to floor, that the doors swing open, that no calcification has occurred, thus locking you forever in a dream or a basement or a high school classroom. Song and seduction are the favored therapies for increasing the inner-flow, as is the practice of introducing the child you were to the Madonna on the 21st floor.
Nin Andrews is the author of several book including The Book of Orgasms, Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, and Dear Professor, Do You Live in a Vacuum? She also edited a book of translations of the French poet, Henri Michaux, entitled Someone Want to Steal My Name. Her most recent book, Southern Comfort, was published by CavanKerry Press in 2010.