By Ari Mostow and Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writers
Hello, my name is Dr. Janice Yee, and I’ve been a licensed marriage and family therapist for 28 years. I might be able to help you overcome your fear of birds, or work through a difficult divorce. But one thing’s for certain: you will not leave my sessions on an empty stomach!
I have snacks!
Lots and lots of them. Everybody who comes to my office says, “Dr. Yee, you have it all!” Popcorn, pretzels, Cheez-Its, granola bars, you name it. If you go to another therapist, all you’ll get is a crummy old box of tissues. We don’t have tissues – we have napkins. And don’t worry if all those salty snacks dry out your mouth, because I’ll refer you to a colleague of mine, Dr. Pepper (I have sodas in the back, is what I’m trying to say).
I like to foster a relationship of trust with my clients. I promise not to judge your personal choices, no matter what snack you eat. Even if you ask me for plain saltines, I will not make fun of you for liking sad crackers. But what does your saltine preference say about your relationship with your father? Or, more importantly, what does your relationship with your father say about your saltine preferences? You are free to request extra-raisin trail mix, vegan nachos, or any other strange snacks, as much as I may personally disagree. However, I am a mandated reporter.
HUNGRY FOR CLOSURE?
I have a Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University, and a variety of academic distinctions. I also have a variety box of Lays potato chips, where you can choose between salt and vinegar, Jalepeño, sour cream & onion, or barbeque. As you sit on my couch, we’ll talk about your day, what’s causing you to feel depressed, and what flavor Starburst you want. I am all out of the yellow ones because one of my clients, David Rittman, takes all of them. It’s very selfish. He also has money problems.
The cost of therapy can be daunting, but my snacks are mostly covered by insurance with a minimal co-pay. You’re welcome to eat as much as you want in my office, though I ask you to not drink water. I have a very strict “no water” rule. Without water, my clients are much more likely to leave their comfort zone and try a new way of drinking, like Dr. Pepper, or orange Diet Sunkist. That’s what we call a “breakthrough.”
Now, don’t get mad at me if I eat some snacks during our session, too. They are my snacks, after all.
If you have a problem with that, we should talk about it. Communication and mutual respect is really important. If you want a snack that I don’t have, tell me. I can’t help you if you keep your snack requests bottled up inside. I’ll admit it: sometimes I zone out if my patients start talking to me while I’m eating Graham crackers. I also tend to read the nutrition label on the back of all the boxes, and I can’t read and listen at the same time. It’s something I’m working on with my own therapist, whose snacks aren’t as tasty. To be safe, you probably should repeat everything you say to me twice in case I’m crunching too loudly.
Every therapist had their own shtick. Freud had the “ego and the id”; Robin Williams in Goodwill Hunting had the famous line, “It’s not your fault!” My shtick is snacks. So if you’re sad (or hungry!), drop by my office! We’re located conveniently in the Akron, Ohio Trader Joe’s in the back. Ask for “Me,” Dr. Yee! ♦