On House

Playing House

By Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D., Elaine Shpungin, Ph.D.

Inside an outpatient psychological clinic . . .

Mikhail: [Entering Elaine’s office, with a college student in tow] Hey . . . got your message about needing a consult. This is Jordan, a McNair1 student I’m supervising this summer that I invited to sit in, if you don’t mind. We went over confidentiality2 on the way over, so we can get started immediately. What have you got?

Elaine: [to Jordan] I don’t mind. Hope you find it interesting. [to Mikhail] Thanks for coming by on such short notice. You don’t have to worry about confidentiality. This is an unusual situation. I got a call today from the editor of BenBella–you know, they put out those Smart Pop books you like. Apparently, they’re doing an anthology and one of their expected contributors backed out at the last minute. They need a report with a psychological diagnosis and treatment recommendations for House by tomorrow afternoon. They sent over a chart.

Mikhail: A psychological diagnosis for a house?

Elaine: Not for a house, for Greg House. He’s the main character of a television show called House M.D., a kind of medical Sherlock Holmes specializing in infectious disease and . . . [looks at notes] nephrology who solves medical cases that no one else can figure out.

Mikhail: Yeah, sounds vaguely familiar, but isn’t this whole thing a bit problematic? How are we supposed to diagnose a TV character we can’t even interview, much less formally assess, not to mention that I haven’t  …

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