If everyone healed it would be the end
And even in today’s society, aren’t meticulous and scrupulous obsessives needed to work as bankers, accountants and flight controllers or neurosurgeons? And histrionics to animate the world of entertainment?
These reflections start from a confrontation with a colleague when supervising how deep it should be or, we could say, not to use a terminology more characteristic of psychoanalysis, its intervention extensive and exhaustive. We started from the feeling that he had that, despite the remission of the symptoms that caused the request, there was still much to do, that is, that there were still unresolved problems even if not perceived by the patient and that a truly resolutive intervention should have revealed and resolved before leave the patient free to exit. I felt that declaring myself satisfied and cured of the patient left my colleague with a bitter taste in the mouth of the unfinished masterpiece, of the perfection that had just been missed.
At the same time, for a sort of recursive mirror, I thought that the supervision work with the colleague and ex-pupil of which he declared himself satisfied and nearing completion, still had a long way to go. Precisely because he thought he had not finished his work with the patient I was sure I had not finished mine with him.
Attention, these are not quisquiglie and pinzillacchere, the topic is very serious and concerns the role of the psychotherapist and more generally that of psychiatry in society. It concerns the concept of health and disease and that of healing that unites them. It comes to touch the relationship between the individual and society and touch that between it and the species in the game of evolution. In short, not ‘pizza and figs’.
But let’s go in order starting with remembering the teaching of my teacher Cesare De Silvestri who said that the therapist is a humble tool in the patient’s hands and that only the minimum necessary to permanently eliminate his way of working and being in the world the symptom for which he requested the intervention and that any unsolicited enlargement beyond these borders is disrespectful of the uniqueness of the patient and resembles an abuse that is in the same line as attempts to make left-handed people right or treat homosexuality. Road that continues up to the normalization of all the deviations and leads to locking up the dissidents in the gulags if you have the good taste not to exterminate them precisely because they do not pollute the ‘healthy’. Whether it is by race, by faith or by sexual orientation, it matters little. The underlying idea is that there is only one healthy and just way of being men and that everyone must adapt to it, for good or for bad, first of all for their good and to save the soul and then for the good. of all avoiding the terrible contagion of the ‘rotten apples’. In doing so, and without even realizing it, you end up wanting to change all those behaviors and ways of being in the world that do not coincide with the cultural niche of the therapist who today identifies roughly with the culture of the middle-class middle class of the capitalist western countries to which practically all psychological research refer, pointing to the values and the way of being in the world of a very narrow range of humanity characterized by being: ‘white, western, economically guaranteed, of average culture, heterosexual and with stable emotional-sexual ties’. Fortunately for us, the world does not end in this sample and is extremely more varied and this enormous variety of values and lifestyles while it was once geographically separated between east and west and between north and south of the world, today thanks to the ease of movement of people and even faster if not instantaneous of ideas on the web, it is present in every community.
The elimination of deviations from the average is not only morally regrettable (even the morality that judges it as such is relative to a certain culture) the fact is that precisely from deviation from the norm and even from genetic errors (mutations) that variability is generated that it is a prerequisite for the evolution of the species and its adaptability to the most diverse environments. It is not improbable that the various personality disorders and perhaps also other pathologies have remained as potential in the human genetic heritage because in some environment of the past they have proved useful, a bit like microcythemia in malarial areas. Should they be protected as the much vaunted biodiversity? And even in today’s society, you don’t need meticulous and scrupulous obsessives to do banking, accountants and flight controllers or neurosurgeons? And histrionics to animate the world of entertainment? But even more seriously, a society in which everyone was satisfied with themselves, firm in self-determination and oriented towards the pursuit of their goals, would be devoid of heroes and saints and most likely would not work. In fact, we must not forget that evolution is attentive to the species and not to individuals so that often what appears to be an advantage for the species in terms of greater prolificity and diffusion is not at all an improvement in the quality of life and individual satisfaction. individual. The most striking example is the same death that rather opposed by the individual frees resources for younger individuals by eliminating those no longer able to reproduce.