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Therapy on the High Seas:
A Search for Self
Copyright 2009 by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D.    All Rights reserved    E-Mail: ragrossman@voicelessness.com
 
his life had proceeded, I knew he was telling the truth about his family. They had never heard a word he said; not from his earliest days on. And because of his sensitivity to their deafness, his life was tortured. He wanted so much for someone to hear and yet no one would or could. I told him I knew this was true, and that he did not need to convince me any further. The other thing I told him was that because no one had heard him for all of these years, I was certain he had thousands of stories to tell about his life, his disappointments, his wishes, his successes, and I wanted to hear them all. I knew that this would be like a long ocean voyage; that my office was our boat; he was going to tell me everything.

And so he did. He told me about his family, his friends, his ex-wife, his working in some of the fancy restaurants around town as a chef's helper, his drinking, his theories about the world. He gave me books by the Nobel physicist, Richard Feynman, video tapes on chaos theory, anthropology books, scientific papers he had written; I listened, thought, read. Week after week, month after month, he talked and talked and talked. One year into therapy he stopped drinking. He merely said that he didn't feel the need any more. We hardly spent any time talking about it: there were more important things to talk about.

Like his heart. He spent much time in the university libraries research medical journals. He liked to say that he knew as much about his condition, cardiomyopathy, as the leading experts in the field. When he met with his doctor, one of the premier cardiologists in the country, he would discuss all of the latest research. He enjoyed this. Still, the results of his tests were never good. His "ejection fraction" (essentially a measure of the heart's pumping effectiveness) continued to slip. His only hope was a heart transplant.

Two and a half years into therapy, he knew that he was not going to be able to tolerate another Boston winter. As his heart progressively failed he had become fatigued and much more sensitive to the cold. Besides there was a hospital in Florida that
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Voicelessness and Emotional Survival

Therapy on the High Seas:
A Search for Self
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