Ted Clark – Mental Health

“It would be like going to Yellowstone.”

After I talked with my wife [about my sexuality], then we decided to do some counseling. We started basically with me. I did, oh, probably, three to four months of counseling. Then the two of us went together with the counselor. It was, I think, maybe a little bit unusual that we both went to the same [counselor], but we thought it only made sense, “because he knows both sides of the story.”

There wasn’t any real, major breakthrough, I guess, from the counseling. More than anything, what it did was give us confidence that we were doing okay. The end summation, [from the counselor] to me as an individual, he said, “Well, you seem to be comfortable dealing with the gay issue, the homosexuality of your life. And you have a pretty good balance of personality with your wife.” That was true. I said, “You know, I do.” He was a hypnotherapist counselor, and I felt he was very confident. He said, “We could try to change the affectional reactions that you have. But I’ll be very honest with you . . . You’ve been to Yellowstone Park?” I said, “Yes, I have.” He said, “You’ve seen the mud pits bubbling and burping out there?” I said, “Yes, I have.” He said, “It would be like going to Yellowstone. We’re going to plug one of those geysers or mud pits. We successfully, probably, close off that steam vent. But the steam’s still down there. If you plug it here, it’s going to come up someplace else. You don’t know where. If you’re comfortable with where you are, I wouldn’t recommend messing with it. Because if we close it off, we might, over a couple of years, change that behavior successfully to kind of close that off. But somewhere in your psyche, something new is going to develop. And we don’t know what it is.” So I thought, “Great answer,” you know? “Why mess with something that I’m comfortable dealing with?” And [my wife] was comfortable dealing with.

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Sources: Interview with Susan Williams on 3 December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture; Interviews with Laura S. Hodgman on 30 November 2012 and on 27 February 2014.