Today, I welcome Dr. Jeffrey Von Glahn to Fiora Books as part of his book tour promoting his fascinating psychological study of Jessica.
Background To: JESSICA: The Autobiography of an Infant
Jessica had always been haunted by the fear that the unthinkable had happened when she had been “made-up.” For as far back as she could remember, she had no sense of a Self. Her mother thought of her as the “perfect infant” because “she never wanted anything and she never needed anything.” As a child, just thinking of saying “I need” or “I want” left her feeling like an empty shell and that her mind was about to spin out of control. Terrified of who––or what––she was, she lived in constant dread over being found guilty of impersonating a human being.
Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., an experienced therapist with an unshakable belief in the healing powers of the human spirit, and Jessica blaze a trail into this unexplored territory. As if she has, in fact, become an infant again, Jessica remembers in extraordinary detail events from the earliest days of her life––events that threatened to twist her embryonic humanness from its natural course of development. Her recollections are like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.
When Dr. Von Glahn met Jessica, she was 23. Everyone regarded her as a responsible, caring person – except that she never drove and she stayed at her mother’s when her husband worked nights.
For many months, Jessica’s therapy was stuck in an impasse. Dr. Von Glahn had absolutely no idea that she was so terrified over simply talking about herself. In hopes of breakthrough, she boldly asked for four hours of therapy a day, for three days a week, for six weeks. The mystery that was Jessica cracked open in dramatic fashion, and in a way that Dr. Von Glahn could never have imagined. Then she asked for four days a week – and for however long it took. In the following months, her electrifying journey into her mystifying past brought her ever closer to a final confrontation with the events that had threatened to forever strip her of her basic humanness.
Twitter Handle: @JeffreyVonGlahn
Purchase Link for book: www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B00IUCKOD8
This excerpt describes Jessica’s characteristic way of interacting, especially with adults. Here she is at age 13 with the woman therapist that Dorothy, her mother, wanted her to see because she seemed fearful of seeing their long-time family physician, Dr. Frank, a male.
Dorothy’s last words had set off emergency alarms in Jessica’s mind. She knew her mother must be very worried, as she’d even called other people for help. She also knew that whatever she was doing had to stop—immediately. In some buried corner of her mind, it felt like her life depended on it.
Even as she nodded her head to agree with her mother about seeing Ms. Haskill, Jessica was already deciding on her reason for doing so. It was not a reason that Dorothy, Dr. Frank, or Ms. Haskill would have approved of. In fact, if they had known what it was, they would surely have seen it as confirmation that Jessica did need counseling.
One thought only consumed Jessica’s mind: she had to be good. If her mother was upset, the reason must be that she wasn’t trying hard enough. She would have to try harder. She was very sorry she was causing a problem for her mother and making her worry. She didn’t mean to….
Jessica smoothed out her blue, school-regulation skirt as she sat down and smartly folded her hands in her lap. She kept her feet and knees close together, looked directly into Ms. Haskill’s eyes, and waited.
Ms. Haskill was fully prepared to discharge her professional responsibility, to assess her client’s problem and help her feel better. She was unaware that the young teenager sitting alongside her desk was secretly poised to do exactly that for her….
Ms. Haskill proceeded to ask about Jessica’s present life, purposely skipping in this first session any questions based on information she had learned from Dorothy. Jessica readily responded, not with a simple yes or no, but with answers as complete as she thought was expected. On the other hand, she didn’t volunteer any information Ms. Haskill didn’t ask for. She spoke calmly, as if she were having a pleasant conversation.
At the end of the session, Ms. Haskill said, “I’d like to have another chance to talk with you. Would you like to come back?”
Jessica smiled and said, “Yes.” Whatever Ms. Haskill wanted was fine with her….