Dreamed 1986/2/12 by Chris Wayan
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.
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