Pygmalion For Profit
Letters To The Editor

Pygmalion For Profit

Regarding “A Shrink’s Abuse Of Power?” (July 5): Your story is a sad, complicated one. It is not a unique case. In my years of practice, I have seen similar examples. A complicated, sometimes “helpful,” but always exploitative, dynamic between a neurotic patient and a dominating, controlling psychiatrist — what I would label the syndrome of Pygmalion for profit.

Without competent training that allows the psychiatrist-to-be to know himself and resolve his/her own personal, often morally tainted conflicts, and without a system for collegial whistle-blowing, this tragic outcome will not be the last of its kind.

In cases like this one the patient cannot be expected to be the whistle-blower. He is a participant in a pathological, abusive relationship. Therein lies the danger and the message to all concerned.

Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Manhattan

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