chapter  NINE
6 Pages

The seductive psychotherapist

ByNeville Symington

Joseph had a reputation for being a kind and empathic psychotherapist. Patrick went to see him because he was suffering from severe obsessional symptoms. He had a fear of going blind which frequently reached panic proportions. In the initial interview, Joseph learned that Patrick was a librarian and was happily married with three children. In fact, his family seemed to be the happiest aspect of his life. On the face of it, Joseph was being kind and sympathetic in his treatment of Patrick, but the author thinks one would have to say that he was not psychologically very shrewd. When Joseph listened to Patrick relating the incidents where his wife had been negligent towards him, he did not ask himself whether Patrick was really revealing the moody and controlling behaviour against which his wife was reacting—it is usually the case that, when someone is exceedingly guilty about something, he has great difficulty in revealing it.