After thirty years as a psychiatrist, I have come to a certain detente with my field. Experts smarter-than-I gladly inform me, in press or in person, of what constitutes adequate “evidence” for the identification of maladies, the efficacy of treatments, the title of “best practices.”
Oh, so lucky am I.
I always look forward to the day when a combat veteran first encounters “Brainspotting,” a trauma recovery technique so unworthy of notice by the scientifically rigorous. How can a patient’s gaze at a pointer, stalled at a particular point in the visual field, lead to anything but a feel-good parlor trick, after all?
“What was that Houdini s*** she just did with me?” my patient asks, a mere hour after his session with my colleague. “How can just looking at a particular spot cause my mind, finally, to stop racing down godforsaken alleys?”
Just yesterday he sobbed before me, despairing that Life could get better. Now he flashes a smile that seems both to fear and to dare Fate’s vengeance for his hopeful hubris.
“So many meds, so much therapy, all these years—and after two hours, I feel a calm I’ve not felt in years. Seriously?”
Nothing up my sleeve, I only reply, also smiling, “Seriously.”