Expensive therapist makes higher quality “mmmm” sounds - The Beaverton

Expensive therapist makes higher quality “mmmm” sounds

— Demand for professional counsellor Lorraine Novak has skyrocketed, thanks to her ability to make particularly empathetic “mmmm” sounds while her clients blab about their miserable lives.

“I’ve never felt so heard,” said client Paula Tanaka, after a session in which she described her feelings of loss over a recently ended relationship. “No matter how dark and personal I got, she’d say ‘mmmm’ in a way that sounded so understanding. Those fifty minutes were worth every penny of the $1750 she charged.”

“The technique is known as ‘following’” said Novak. “It’s something you learn in . A few years into my practice I experimented with ‘hmmmmm’ and ‘ahhhhhh,’ as my go-tos, and had a disastrous experience with ‘yyyyyyup.’ That’s what inspired me to go back to basics and up my game with ‘mmmmmm.’ Six months of mentor supervision and mouth exercises later, I’ve got wealthy nutcases tearing open their wallets for a session.”

“Following is more difficult than you might think,” said Angela Alvarez, program director at the Pacific Counseling Institute. “No matter how hard they try to refine their “mmmm” sounds, most counsellors sound like Yoda smelling a fresh lasagna.”

“You know what the best part is,” Novak asked. “I don’t even have a licence! I kept meaning to get one when I started out, but with all the emphasis on improving my mmmmmms, I never got around to it. When a rep from the [Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association] came asking about it, I used my mmmmmm-ing to lull her into revealing her most intimate issues, which led to a good cathartic cry. Now she does three sessions a week with me.”

The amenities of Novak’s practice don’t end with the sound she can make with her throat and lips. Her office couch has silk memory-foam cushions for clients to scream into, five-ply tissues guaranteed to hold together after any meltdown caused by retellings of childhood miseries, and rorschach images by Banksy, each of which seems to have been modelled on my father’s penis.