Almost twenty-five years ago, a middle aged man came to see me and told me a tale of woe and victimization that, after five sessions, began to seem a bit extravagant, almost as if the man was drunk, not on alcohol, but on something subtler and deeper. I must have tipped my doubts because he did not come to the next session.

He did not come and did not call. When I tried to reach him, the telephone was not a working number. I called the employer he had named. I was told that there was no such employee. I tried the number of the person he had named as a contact. That telephone number did not work either.

The man came to see me, then disappeared, as if he had been made up in the first place. I still think of him, still wonder about him, illustrating the power of the incomplete. The problem about deceiving your psychiatrist is that it is too easy, since the psychiatrist knows only what you tell him, so may actually know only a figment of your imagination.

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