Therapist discusses patients' problems in Gawker article

Last Wednesday, when "Anonymous Therapist" began his Gawking career with the confessional article "The Patient Who 'Tried to Insert His Penis Into His Dog,' and Other Confessions of a Therapist," peoples' notions of confidentiality were called into question, as the American public collectively scanned their mental Rolodexes to remember just how many people they'd decided to tell their wackiest personal bestiality story to. (I'll beat "Anonymous Therapist" to the punch by stating right here and right now that Sniffles and I have a form of communication that transcends language and consent.)

Oh, how we'll stoop to coax a grimace out of a numbed twentysomething blog reader. Nothing, not even the notion of inviolable privacy, is as important as the notion that somewhere, there's a liberal-arts student taking a break from reading Regarding the Pain of Others to chuckle at the pain of others. Some shock-value highlights from the article include:

I had one male patient who sliced his wrists to the bone and survived, and a female patient who intentionally wrapped herself around a telephone pole and survived, but suffered significant physical deformities and brain damage. On the flip side, I have also seen patients fresh from an inpatient stay who then made a full recovery. One girl I saw took fifty Ambiens at one time as a teen and is now one of the heads of a large marketing firm.

I had a post-adolescent male tell me the other day that he tried to insert his penis into his dog's ass. That took me back a little.

One of the most frightening sessions I had was with a rapist who walked me through the process, both cognitive and behavioral, of stalking and performing the act of the rape of his victim. He also said that if he ever had the opportunity to strike again he would do so without giving it a second thought.

For those of us that are unsettled because all of a sudden we have to worry about people guessing that the Gawker article about the blogger-guy who tried to stick a hedgehog up his urethra was about us, we can rest assured knowing that our secret isn't being revealed by a young hipster-therapist/Gawker-blogger, but by a loving father who just cares about the mental health of adolescents like his own. At some point in the article, "Anonymous Therapist" attempts to humanize himself by assuring us that his role as a father has given him a deep understanding of the typical troubles of youth.

So there you have it — he's not airing his patients' dirty laundry on a site notorious for judgmental, bitchy airing of dirty laundry, he's "reflecting" and "understanding." Remember, kids, you can get away with murder on the internet so long as you tack a clichéd bit of introspection on at the end. 

Commentarium (7 Comments)

Feb 06 12 - 2:09pm
nope

What this man did was deplorable, but to a much lesser extent that last sentence could be seen as terribly ironic on Nerve.

Feb 06 12 - 3:47pm
meh

Why is it deplorable, these same types of case studies appear in professional publications all the time.

The names are changed to protect the innocent.

Feb 06 12 - 5:36pm
Doug

Those patients always sign a release form, though.

Feb 06 12 - 7:43pm
double ormtsel

Sorry, that is not true.

Feb 07 12 - 5:46pm
nope

There is a pretty significant difference between publishing something for the purpose of academic scholarship and publishing something for the purpose of giving bored internet surfers a little shock and awe from the suffering of your patients.

Feb 06 12 - 8:49pm
js

the therapist is anonymous, and the patient information is kept general and is anonymous. There's no ethical breach here.

Feb 06 12 - 10:48pm
Find sighpa

There is a moral breach. If you're the patient, you're going to know it's you being talked about (if you come across it). Since you're not in the best of mental health to begin with, then any paranoia harboured is fed into re thought processes along the lines of "who out there guesses this is me?" Any unusual behaviour from others towards said person might be interpreted, via the lens of paranoia, as "THIS person has guessed it!", leading to furthering the paranoia and creating further stress. Patients are most likely not going to come across 'in-house' publications, but general publications? That's another matter.