I know I said I have seen many troubled patients through my work in the criminal justice system, but I have to admit that I have never dealt with such a difficult patient or set of circumstances in my entire professional career. Especially with a person who is not currently incarcerated! True, I may have frustrated him by posting online, but sharing patients’ stories (without names) is common practice in psychology, especially when it’s with the intent of finding new treatments to help people. I don’t know how he even found this site! But I think I won’t be trying this again anytime soon.
He did return for his appointment today, but he refused to listen to my advice and kept talking about “refictionalizing” himself into the story of Sweeney Todd. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I plan to give things one more go with him before remanding him to the care of the Boston PD. He does seem to be more stable now that he believes his wife is alive – I’m not sure how you convinced him, but I do think it has helped him focus on getting better instead of on acting out his violent fantasies. He said that he has decided to try to help those he can, regardless of the consequences. I agreed that his obsession with revenge was only likely to further hurt those around him.
Because of his current fixation on the Sweeney Todd narrative, my last proposal is as follows: if some of you could write something – a poem, a short story – that includes key aspects of this Sweeney character, I think reading them or hearing them might be helpful for my patient. Perhaps by rewriting this character’s future, we can show him he has friends to help him and make a difference in a real person’s life.
I intend to discontinue my posts here shortly, but if you wish to respond, post your work in the comments or share a link to a google document and I will sift through them and go through them with my patient. I shall post one final time to let you know the results.