He Showed Me His Tiles, So I Showed Him Mine


Brian Rea

“I bet you’re good at Scrabble,” I said to my therapist.

For almost a decade I had watched him synthesize our group’s emotional themes, quote ancient Hebrew law and do complex math in his head. He had undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale. This guy could definitely play Scrabble.

He smiled, but the group conversation moved on before he could address it.

I had started playing Scrabble with my new husband, and, to my surprise, he was trouncing me by dozens of points. As an English major, I was appalled that the business-minded nonreader I had married could beat me in a language game.

In our next group session, I floated the subject again: “I want you to teach me how to play Scrabble.”

After all, wasn’t therapy about asking for help? Nine years earlier, when I first found my way to this office, I wasn’t thinking about triple-letter scores. In our initial session, I told him that if I had one more failed relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict, I was going to kill myself.

He promised he could help on two conditions: First, I had to join one of his therapy groups (rather than seeing him individually). And second, I had to turn over every aspect of my romantic and sexual life to him and the group.

Source: The New York Times