Turns out he has been in Germany the past two months doing counseling at a US military base. He is also in a brand new office (which is actually an old house) - and I was his very first patient in the new office and since returning back to the US. So, things were a bit disorganized which he kept apologizing about throughout the session.
Most of the session was spent with him asking me a lot of questions getting background information. He told me that, generally, his first two sessions with a person are this way and that next time he'll be asking me a lot of questions related to my family history. After that, the sessions become more 'process oriented' - although, I'm not really sure I understand what that means.
During the questioning, I explained how I ended years of denial and admitted to myself that I am gay in the Fall of 2006 and then told my wife a couple of months later; but, I was not interested in pursuing a same sex relationship and that I wanted to remain in my marriage and active in my church. He asked me about the Mormon church's view regarding homosexuality. I explained that the church separates attraction and behavior - that there is no sin in being attracted to your same gender, there is only sin in acting on those attractions. Although, later in the session I explained my fears of coming out and not be accepted by other members of the church even though I haven't done anything.
At the end of the session, he said that it is a difficult paradox I am faced with; but, that he feels strongly that it is something I can learn to live with and accept. He then gave me 6 things to consider doing this week. He emphasized that they were not assignments, just things to consider doing, but that I didn't have to do any of them.
- Create a timeline of significant events in my life (both positive and negative) and rate their significance
- Track and chart negative thoughts
- Read "Feeling Good" by David Burns
- Check out the web site for Toastmasters
- Read "Iron John" by Robert Bly
- Do a "Day in the Life" exercise
- The timeline is a tool to promote discussions on significant events in my life and how they might have affected how I am today
- Tracking and charting negative thoughts is to promote discussion on what sort of self deprecating thoughts I have, if they are rational, etc.
- "Feeling Good" is a book on cognitive therapy
- Toastmasters resulted from me telling him that I felt I had difficulty relating with other people. He thought that might be something to consider
- The book "Iron John" analyzes a Grimm's fairy tale by the same name to find lessons especially meaningful to men. It is, evidently, the book which spurred the mens movement. (according to wikipedia)
- The "Day in the Life" exercise is where I'm supposed to imagine that a miracle occurred and I woke up tomorrow morning and everything about my life was just the way I wanted it; then, I'm supposed to describe how my day goes.