ABSTRACT

“Gary” slouches into the consulting room, falling into the chair and staring at “Kate”, his therapist, with utter contempt. He is dressed in jeans, a denim jacket, and a tight white t-shirt. He takes off his jacket and throws it across the couch, revealing arms crowded with tattoos. Small patches of skin nestle between large, garish tattoos proclaiming “Hate”, “Murder”, and “Die”. His hair is shaved close to his skull, and his earlobes are weighed down by crosses and skulls that glint against the overhead light. Kate swallows hard, aware of feelings of fear and anxiety tightening inside her. She has read his file before, is aware of his history of sexual abuse as well as the litany of burglaries and violent assaults he has perpetrated over the years. He has been referred to her to assess whether he can make use of once-weekly psychotherapy. The referral has been driven by his probation officer who is aware of Kate’s expertise in working with sexual abuse and her track record in engaging with men who others have failed to reach. She introduces herself and, as she does so, Gary takes out a cigarette and goes to light it.