Exclusive! Excerpt from 'On the Efficacy of the Pre-Emptive Intervention', from the New Journal for Modern Psychiatric Research
...of the ectoplasmic clean-up operation thus required.
Case study 2
R., 28, is an economic migrant who moved from South America to Europe in 2001. After a spell living in France, he took up a well-paid position with a Barcelona-based company in 2003. Here, he flourished: he excelled in his job, was very popular at work and quickly gained a wide circle of friends in his new home city. Colleagues speak of his can-do attitude and incredible ability to problem-solve, and the company's productivity, which had been at an all-time low just before his arrival, reached unprecedentedly high levels within three years. Friends and colleagues alike were charmed by his winsome smile and easy-going manner, and his array of party-tricks kept many a soiree entertained long into the night.
Quite suddenly, however, things changed. Friends date this alteration in R.'s mood from a holiday he took with some fellow countrymen in Germany in the summer of 2006. R. has never spoken to his friends about what exactly happened on that trip, but they believe that whatever transpired had a significant impact on his emotional well-being. Far from being the inspiring leader of old at work, he appeared to lose his enthusiasm for the job. He started to appear withdrawn and listless. He got into a series of rows with a senior colleague and his output slumped. He put on weight. Always something of a party animal, he would spend more and more time in nightclubs, where despite the almost constant presence of his famous grin, in the words of one friend, "the sparkle had gone out of his eyes".
Things got progressively worse. R. began to speak of his desire to leave Spain. Then in the spring of 2008, his boss suggested to R. that it would be best for him to leave the company, and that in light of the excellent work he had done in previous years, he would have the option of being discreetly transferred to another branch rather than simply having his contract terminated.
Around this time (R. is unable to recall whether it was before or after the meeting with his employer), he was approached by a man claiming to have the "answers to all my problems", firstly by means of a series of phone calls, and then by rendezvous at various Barcelona eateries. This mysterious figure represented what he called a "group devoted to the attainment of the ultimate transcendental journey to the most righteous centre of truth and love".
Investigation by our researchers has uncovered more about this group based in an affluent part of west London. It grew out of a small church founded in the early twentieth-century, one of many such communities which sprung up around Britain in the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras. They worshipped unassumingly in their temple for the better part of a century. In the early part of this decade, a new leader suddenly and still mysteriously to outsiders came to prominence. His provenance is uncertain, and few have seen him, but our researchers have come across anecdotal evidence seeming to prove that he hails from Russia. Former members of the group claim that the inside walls of the temple are adorned with large banners bearing images of the Leader's smiling face and the words "OURS IS THE WORLD". The group's central doctrine is that one day soon, the entire population of the world will be destroyed save for the members of the church, who will travel with the leader to Heaven, which will have descended from its celestial location to an area of the Russian republic of Chukotka in eastern Siberia.
R. recalls feeling especially vulnerable at this time and how the offer to join the church was consequently especially tempting, particularly given that the church were promising to offer him untold riches should he do so. As he planned to pack his bags and move to London, he was invited to what he believed to be a party by friends in Barcelona. On entering the premises of the 'party's' host, he was almost immediately informed by his friends that the gathering was, in fact, an intervention. They had heard about R.'s meeting with the church's envoy and were very alarmed at the prospect of his joining what they believed to be a dangerous cult. They confronted R. with their belief that he was thinking of joining the group, which he denied. They voiced their concern at his deteriorating mental state, something which R. attempted to refute. His friends then made him listen to music which contained subliminal messages urging him not to join the church.
Despite his efforts to sabotage this tactic, they persisted. R. proved quite resistant. He at first tried to reason with his friends, claiming that the church was entirely benevolent, and that their primary function was to stage free recitations of classic numbers from the musical theatre for the homeless. He then tried to bargain with them, saying that if they let him go he would move instead to Manchester. When this failed, he decided to threaten them, saying that he would call up his brothers and that they would bring 'goons' in order to forcibly break up the intervention.
Eventually, R. cracked. Through tears and mucus, he said that there was an offer on the table from a large Milanese multinational and that he would take it. He said that his friends were right about the London group, and asked for their forgiveness and understanding for how he had behaved over the previous two years and for causing them such deep concern by almost joining the church. The next day, he set off for Milan.
R. claims to be sincere about his forswearing of the Anglo-Russian death cult, and has agreed to ongoing counselling and monitoring of his psychiatric state for the foreseeable future.
The case of R. is a clear demonstration that despite the controversy of the practice, the pre-emptive intervention can be a very effective weapon in initiating the corrective process in one suffering from potentially devastating extreme mental trauma. However, if not carried out with due care and professional supervision, the effects can be unintentionally dire, as our next example shows.
Case study 3
C., 23, left his home on an island off the coast of Africa for a new life in the northwest of England...