Psychiatrist Dr. Martin Donadio to a patient, July 17, 1974

I hope it doesn't give you a complex that you weren't one of the patients I slept with.

Dear Hank,

I am afraid that I have some bad news. I must regretfully inform you that as of Friday, my private practice as a psychiatrist is over. Because we won’t have any more sessions together, I thought I might clear up some of the issues in your life that we haven’t gotten to yet:

1) You should definitely give up your dream of being a circus major and become a dentist. It’s nearly impossible to make a living in the circus, and because of your subconscious desire to have a stable life rather than an exciting one, dentist is the obvious choice.

2) Marla is cheating on you. The signs are incredibly obvious. I recommend trying to work it out, because you probably won’t find anyone better.

3) You should just forgive your father already for missing your fourth grade play. Your father worked incredibly hard to provide for his family, and if he wasn’t always around, that’s just the result of being a generous family-oriented man who wanted the best for you. So get over it.

4) Your brother is smarter than you and therefore does deserve more of your parents’ affection.

5) You are not in love with your mother. I know I’ve been sort of teasing you and trying to get you to think about whether you might be, but I’ve known all along that you’re not. I was just fucking with you, and for this, I apologize.

If you’d like a recommendation for another physician, I would more than happy to refer you to my trusted colleague. But seriously, you’re better off using the money to take a vacation with your wife to the Bahamas.

Sincerely,

Dr. Martin Donadio

Analysis

Dr. Martin Donadio later became famous for developing and practicing the field of “blunt psychiatry,” whereby the therapist, rather than playing the traditional listening role pioneered by Freud, took a much more active approach in helping their patients. Although it began with the letter above, it soon extended into practice as well, as psychiatrists began rolling their eyes, muttering under their breath, and saying things like “oh, really? That’s what you think?” Although jarring for many patients, it worked pretty well for people who just, according to Dr. Donadio, “just need a kick in the pants.”

Although initially controversial, the practice became accepted in the free-wheeling Reagan 80s, where popular culture dictated that no, you probably weren’t important, and yes, everything interesting was happening to other people, but you should really just get over it. Unfortunately, Dr. Donadio was mostly unable to capitalize on the boon industry he had created. He was caught in bed with an underage prostitute in early 1981 and fled the country. The prostitute looked remarkably like a younger version of his mother.

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