The Case of Alexander

Variations on the Vertical Split—Psychotherapy of a Delinquent

When Alexander began treatment with me, he was 42 years old, unmarried, and living alone. He was employed by a large computer consulting firm, his third job in as many years. An innovative designer of specialized data bases, he had developed a technology that was to later garner him much success in his field. He had recently relocated from the southeast, where he had been raised by Mexican-Irish parents in a midsize urban community. He dressed expensively, a dandy whose razor-cut hair, manicured nails, spotlessly shined shoes, and biracially exotic looks made him stand out in a crowd.

At our first meeting, he greeted me with a long, cool stare, ...

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