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Ophidiophobia

Dreamed 1986/2/12 by Chris Wayan

A snake-man I'm supposed to psychoanalyze. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.


I'm a psychotherapist with a new client who was referred to me by an institution that diagnosed him as paranoid. But I don't quite trust them. Their staff is all-white and my client's black.

He does seem shy, cold and wary to me, but I'm black too, and I've seen snap judgments of black patients way too often...

So I check first for physical causes, and find the man has good reason to be a bit cold. He's part reptile! Part snake. Scaly skin, forked tongue, slit-pupil eyes...

He knows he's reptilian. Knows more than that: says "I know I'm evil, because I'm part snake." Naturally, he was raised among good Christians. Their culturally sanctioned ophidiophobia (gotta love that word!) has messed with his self-image!

Suddenly I see that paranoia is not a disease. Paranoia is a role--a social relationship. You can't be paranoid without people to mistrust! And he's not the paranoid here. They mistrusted him. His problem is just the opposite. He trusted them too much--bought their ophidiophobic judgments.

My patient isn't crazy. Just scaly. In a world of fundamentalist mammals who freak at the sight of him.




LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-racial dreams - dream beings - animal people - snakes - skin, fur, scales - dream jobs - therapy in dreams - racism, specism, etc - trust & paranoia - outcasts - Christianity - fundamentalists & religious nuts - a related dream of realistic alienation: Pod War - digital dream art

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