THERAPIST: I want to welcome you to your first session. Listen, I know creating a relationship with someone you have never met can feel really overwhelming and sharing your feelings with a stranger is, on the surface, a bit odd. But I really am just here to listen, and if there are things I can do to support you on your journey, well that’s what I’m here to do. So to start, how would you capture in a sentence what brought you in today?

YOU: I get knocked down, but I get up again.

THERAPIST: Wow. That must be difficult. What goes through your head when you feel like you’re getting knocked down?

YOU: You are never gonna keep me down.

THERAPIST: Well, that’s a really healthy response. Expressions of resiliency can be a great coping mechanism. Heck, you might not even need me. [laughs] Do you have any other coping strategies?

YOU: I drink a whiskey drink.

THERAPIST: Okay, well we might want to talk about alcohol and the role it plays in your responses. Do you do anything else?

YOU: I drink a vodka drink.

THERAPIST: I hear you. I hear you. And I appreciate you being brave enough to share that. What I hear you describing are two different types of alcohol. Anything else?

YOU: I drink a lager drink.

THERAPIST: It sounds like these drinks can add up. Just because I feel like I have to ask so I have a complete picture: any others?

YOU: I drink a cider drink.

THERAPIST: Thank you. Thank you for being authentic in the way you’re being right this second. Now, does all of that alcohol affect you? What I mean by that is, what do you tend to do after you drink those four drinks?

YOU: I sing the songs that remind me of the good times. I sing the songs that remind me of the best times.

THERAPIST: Well, that’s good. That’s really good. People respond to adversity in myriad ways and it sounds like your way of responding has some happiness intertwined. We just want to figure out if there’s a way for you to sing those songs that bring you joy without the influence of alcohol. If you didn’t have alcohol, do you think you would sing different songs? What other songs might you sing without alcohol?

YOU: Oh Danny Boy. Danny Boy. Danny Boy.

THERAPIST: Yeah. That’s a sad one. That really is a sad one. Well, listen, I think there are definitely areas we can work on here. If you’re ready to dive in with me, I think talking through things could make a real difference. How does that sound?

YOU: I get knocked down, but I get up again.

THERAPIST: I hear you. I see you. I validate you. And thank you for surfacing that.

YOU: And you’re never gonna keep me down.

THERAPIST: Truly, that is the spirit. I want you to hold on to that tightly as we begin this work. Great start today.