COUPLES THERAPY (Short Story)

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Doctor Stephanie J. Dawkins and I am writing this letter to publicly express my concerns for the new consciousness swapping technology developed by Anderson Industries, known commonly as K14. I was once a believer in the technology and it’s potential to treat a wide range of different psychosis’s and body dysmorphia issues, however after seeing the results of my own beta test with the K14 I can not in good conscience recommend that the technology be released publicly and it is my personal belief that the development of all consciousness altering tech be halted immediately. With the express consent of my test patients I will transcribe the results of the beta test I conducted, it is my hope that upon learning of the results of the K14 that all reading will see that while well intentioned the technology should be abandoned.

As I can assume that many of you do not know who I am I will begin with a brief background of my credentials, I have a master’s in Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Law and have served as a therapist for over twenty eight years. I have worked in a variety of fields but for the past few years my focus has been on couple’s therapy.

I heard about the development of the K14 a little over four years ago from an old friend from my University days and immediately became interested in the potential therapeutic uses for the technology. With help from my friend who shall remain nameless to protect his anonymity I got in contact with some of the higher ups at Anderson Industries and began a correspondence. I conversed at length about my interest in the tech and how it could be utilised in a therapeutic sense. This correspondence paid off and around a year ago I was given a prototype of the K14 and told I had been specially selected to beta test the device. My excitement got the better of me and I agreed and proceeded with the tests without my usual restraint and forethought.

At the time I had a regular couple who I had been seeing for about two years, for the purposes of this letter I will refer to them as John and Alice Smith. The couple had been married for around five years at the time and had yet to start a family despite both wanting one. It became clear to me rather quickly that the issues holding them back from starting their family mostly stemmed from their inability to sympathise with each other and see things from their spouse’s perspectives. Two years of treatment and little to no progress had been made with John and Alice, so low on ideas and with this new technology in my possession I proposed to the couple that they try it out.

Now for anyone not familiar with the K14 I will explain in basic terms how it works, quite simply the device allows brainwaves to be removed and swapped between brains. This means that so long as you have a healthy brain to put them into you can take someone’s consciousness and place it into a new body. The goal of my beta test was therefore quite simple, essentially have John and Alice swap bodies for a brief period of three months (the minimum amount of time consciousness had to remain in a body before it could be returned to it’s original) before being swapped back to their old bodies. Hopefully this would give the two a new perspective on how it felt to be the other person and allow them to sympathise with one another once everything was returned to normal.

My proposal to John and Alice was meet with initial scepticism and dismissal but over the course of a few weeks I managed to convince them that this was something that could be immensely beneficial, and they soon agreed to be apart of the test.

Almost exactly ten months ago to the day I performed the swap, to say the initial response was uncomfortable would be a drastic understatement. John and Alice initially had trouble performing basic functions, John who was now in Alice’s body took nearly an hour trying to figure out how to walk and Alice now in John’s body had trouble speaking and slurred most of her words for the next few days. Alice was terrified seeing her body from the outside and begun having a panic attack, I had to place each of them in a separate room and gradually bring them back together, this took up most of the day.

I kept them under observation for the first week and after a lot of work they managed to figure out how to use their new bodies and became somewhat comfortable with one and other, even managing to chat and joke around without my assistance. After the week in observation I sent them home, I had to see how they would interact when they had to go about daily life. Sadly this would end in disaster.

Only two days after sending the couple home John arrived at my house unannounced one evening as I was preparing dinner. I invited him inside to see what was going on, upon entering my home John began begging for me to reverse the consciousness swap and return them to their proper bodies.

“I no longer have any sort of grasp on reality,” He confessed to me, “I’m not relating to my wife any better, in fact I’m struggling to even recognise her. I look across our dining room table and I don’t see my wife I just see me… But then I look in the mirror and even though it is her body standing there I just see myself. I feel as though I am trapped in a house with two versions of myself. I’m losing my mind.”

I was not able to reverse the procedure, not yet at least. Moving and altering brainwaves is a dangerous thing and it had been explained to me that the three months must pass before attempting to move the patient’s consciousness again. I had explained this to John and Alice before the swap and I explained it to John once again, he broke down in tears. At that moment I was unsure if he would last the three months, I was worried about what he might do and so I made the only suggestion I could think of at the time.

“Intimacy,” I told him, “Intimacy is the problem here, you’re not acting like a married couple anymore, you need to regain your intimacy and then everything will fall into place.”

I spent the next hour or so talking to John before driving him home. I went inside the house and spoke to both John and Alice, there I suggested that they regain some intimacy by having sexual relations. At the time I sincerely believed this would help. I told the pair that from now on we would be having daily appointments and reassured them by reminding them that this was only temporary.

The next afternoon I met with John and Alice and was surprised to find them both in better spirits, apparently my suggestion of regaining intimacy had worked. They explained that while initially very strange, after some time they began to feel comfortable and accepted by their partner, they said that after the night together they felt closer to each other than they could ever remember. Naturally I was over joyed to hear this, the technology had seemingly had all the positive effects I had hypothesised it would. The next three months flew by and John and Alice seemed happier than ever.

At the end of the month I called them in to prepare for the reversal of the consciousness swap. Everything was set up exactly as it should be but when I flipped the switch nothing happened, I made some adjustments and checked that everything was set up properly and tried again but once more nothing happened. John and Alice began to freak out a little, I kept trying to make the swap happen, but nothing seemed to work. The rest of the day and most of the next was devoted to finding out why the swap back would not work. Anderson Industries employees were called in as well as all sorts of specialists to determine what was wrong. The problem was soon discovered, John who was still in Alice’s body was pregnant. Apparently in all the previous testing no one had thought to see if pregnancy had any effect on the device and as it would turn out it had disastrous consequences. I could not begin to understand the science behind it, but it was explained to me that essentially the brainwaves of the child were making it impossible to switch John and Alice’s consciousness back to their original states.

I had the heart breaking duty of explaining to John and Alice what was going on, I told them that John was pregnant and that the reversal could not occur until after the baby was born. Alice broke down, she had wanted a child for as long as I had known the couple and now she was finding out that she would not get to be the one to carry the child, to her she felt like she was being cheated out of motherhood. There were lots of tears, lots of yelling, lots of anger and sadness. I began seeing the couple even more regularly, twice a day to be exact. I felt responsible for what was happening to them and wanted to make sure they were the happiest they could be given the situation.

Weeks passed and gradually things got better and the two began to feel less resentment and anger over what had happened and instead focused on the fact that they were finally getting the happy marriage and family they had always hoped for. A month after the failed swap back John and Alice stopped showing up for appointments, when I called to see if everything was alright they told me they no longer felt as though they needed therapy. Alice said they didn’t want to be constantly stuck in an office and just wanted to enjoy their new-found happiness, I respected their wishes and backed off for a while.

A few days ago, I was reading the newspaper when I noticed in the announcements section that John and Alice had given birth to their baby, a little boy. I immediately went around to their house to congratulate them and arrange a time to swap them back to their original bodies, but to my shock when I approached the subject with them they seemed to have no recollection of the swap ever occurring. They were happy, and their minds seemingly rejected the memories of the swap, I tried to plead my case and convince them, but they refused to listen and insisted that I leave the house.

As I sat in their driveway preparing to leave I looked inside to see John and Alice embracing with their new-born in their arms, things weren’t right, but they were happy.

In conclusion the point of this story has been to demonstrate that this technology, while new and exciting is extremely unpredictable and in my professional opinion should not be used or developed further. John and Alice may have gotten their family but they are no longer themselves. The mind is a delicate and powerful thing and I do not believe we should be playing around with it in the way that the K14 is capable. Please heed my warnings and stop this madness now.

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie J. Dawkins

By Taylor Thompson.

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