Psychotherapists figured out a long time ago that a roundabout approach is necessary if you want to tease out the origins of any serious psychological problem. You won’t get there by any direct approach, since the defensive maneuvers the patient uses to keep from thinking about the real source of his problems will keep you from getting there either. That’s why dreams, slips of the tongue, and the like played so large a role in psychotherapy, back before the medical profession stopped helping people understand their problems and settled for the more lucrative option of drugging them into numbness instead. That strategy is also a viable option when the craziness we need to understand belongs to a society—ours, for example—rather than an individual.
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