Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hannibal Lecter's Treatment Plan

You can imagine the arguments of a psychiatrist. Sentences were always deconstructed with an eye to finding my Freudian slips. All issues would descend to a word choice. On the good side, my husband had a lot of low-key sensible advice.

1. Even if you’re running late, you have to fill the gas tank when it’s empty.
That probably tells you more than enough about the bad side of living with me.

2. He said the secret of treating adolescents with drug problems was never getting stuck on why they did it.

“People always ask this,” he said. “They never get the real answer back, and they wouldn’t want it anyway. The answer is, it feels good and it’s fun at the time, at least at first. I never ask that question. I already know what I’m up against. I go straight to the consequences they’re facing and how they’ll stop.”

So there you go. Some questions convey hurt, but they can’t be answered to relieve it.

3. He is working late during his psychiatric residency. I am watching the Silence of the Lambs, alone, which, considering how I am about horror movies, is a stupid idea.

He calls. I tell him about the part where Hannibal Lecter is forced to listen to a televangelist all night as a punishment.

“I wouldn’t waste any time on that,” he says. “The guy is twice as smart as most or all shrinks, and not going to change his behavior. He likes what he likes and that’s it.”

“Well, what would you do?” I ask him. “If you were Hannibal Lecter’s therapist and he did something wrong or insulted your dignity or whatever?”

“That’s highly unlikely, that I would get a patient like this,” he scoffed. “He’s a fictional character. Most patients aren’t like that.”

“Yes, I know, but what if???”

“I’d do therapy for the staff that has to take care of him,” he says. “I’d make sure they were doing okay at home, and had no conflicts at work that would distract them from protecting themselves or each other.”
He is absolute about this. “The staff comes first, always. It’s mostly important to make sure they’re okay, and not distracted. Then security procedures and patient care in that situation are more likely to happen the right way.”

1 comment:

Capt. Schmoe said...

That's refreshing, a common sense approach with the staff's needs deemed a part of the plan.

Probably wouldn't make for exciting cinema however.

Thanks for the post.