Truth

Psychiatrist Paul Lucas, the protagonist of Roderick Anscombe’s The Interview Room, said: “I believe in telling the truth. In my opinion, it is an enduring force that cannot be stopped. With time, it will penetrate into every lie, every self-deception, any attempt at repression. It manages to seep through somehow.”

Truth is one of the most powerful tools the therapist has. If she manages to maintain a policy of telling the truth without deviating from it, it can lead to release in the patient. This is not simple. Countless times during therapy there is a temptation not to say everything, to hide, diminish importance, paint a pink picture. But in the long run, the policy of telling the truth is the best one, for the patient.

Wilfred Bion quoted a letter by Samuel Johnson, which, to him, expresses the essence of “the psychoanalyst’s view”:

Whether to see life as it is will give us much consolation, I know not; but the consolation which is drawn from truth, if any there be, is solid and durable; that which may be derived from errour must be, like its original, fallacious and fugitive.

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