Monday, July 11, 2005

Treatment, disregard, and factors

When the Lafargue staff conferred about Willie's case, as we had about so many similar others, we asked ourselves: How does one treat such a boy? How does one help him to emotional balance while emotional excitement is instilled in him in an unceasing stream by these comic books? Can one be satisfied with the explanation that he comes from a broken family and lives in an underpriviledged neighborhood? Can one scientifically disregard what occupied this boy's mind for hours every day? Can we say that this kind of literary and pictorial influence had no effect at all, disregarding our clinical experience in many similar cases? Or can we get anywhere by saying that he must have been disordered in the first place or he would not have been so fascinated by comic books?

That would have meant ignoring the countless other children equally fascinated whom we had seen. Evidently in Willie's case there was a constellation of many factors. Which was finally the operative one? What in the last analysis tipped the scales?