. . . and it's not their genes either. – Dr. C

Goth Girl ImageChemical Cocktail 6

I’ll call her Evie. That’s not her real name, but her real name was just as pretty.  It’s best to honor her privacy, as a professional and as a fellow human being.  After all, this is her story, not mine.

Evie was 14 when I met her. Six months earlier, she was involuntarily placed in an emergency mental health hospital (called a “5150” in California) for her “psychosis.”  She was given chemicals almost immediately and, after the legally required 72-hour hold, she was declared medically fit to go back home.

About two months later another “5150” occurred.  This time, they gave her a new batch of chemicals (see Evie’s Chemical Cocktail above) and upon release 72 hours later, she was placed, without her consent, in a residential mental health facility for teenagers.  About four months later, I was brought in by the same agency as a consultant.  I was there to train and supervise the therapeutic staff, and to train the child-care staff.  For reasons you will see, I became Evie’s therapist.  She was my only client.

Evie was “hearing voices,” according to the notes I read from her prior therapist.  As I found out later, it was one voice.  Evie had a friend who would talk to her once in awhile, especially when she was alone and when her emotions were in turmoil.  I’ll call him Vlad.  “Vlad is my friend, Dr. Cima,” she once told me.  She wasn’t frightened.  Vlad “spoke” to her at times, and she wrote to him.

Temperament:  Sphere

For those trained in Keirseyan temperament theory, Evie is a Sphere – a young Idealist.  That makes her rare (about one in twenty), and very hard to spot, especially in residential settings.  Young spheres tend to blend in and take on the characteristics of Stars (young Artisans) or Squares (young Guardians), though, for reasons I’ll talk about later, they rarely, if ever, take on the characteristics of Cubes (young Rationals).

However, when Spheres are alone with someone they trust, their vivid metaphorical imagery quickly exposes their identity to an observant adult.  We all use our imagination to some degree, now and again.  However, Spheres stand alone in their ability to express their life experiences with metaphorical language.  Little wonder why so many writers and poets are Spheres.  (A few famous adult Sphere/Idealists:  Emily Dickinson, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, Upton Sinclair, Oliver Stone, Paul Robeson, Joan Baez – and Plato.  You can see more famous Spheres/Idealists here.)


Evie was “Goth.”  Goth – from “gothic” – is one of those adolescent subcultures found in every generation. “Hippies,” “Hip-hops,” “Emos,” “Grunges” – and don’t forget the “beatniks” of the 1950’s” – are just a few adolescent subcultures.  The more shocking and defiant the subculture, the more it brings out the worst in adults intent on “dealing with it.”  Unwittingly, by “dealing with it” adults fortify one of the reasons kids join these subcultures – to gleefully irritate and annoy their supervisors.  Another reason?  Goth culture offers comforting refuge for some unhappy kids struggling to find their lost identity, especially true for Spheres.

Goth is often described as “somber, macabre, and glamorous.”  You can throw in a touch of romance too.  Black is the color of choice for the Goth crowd, and you could always find it in Evie’s lipstick, eye makeup, nail polish, and clothes – down to her black socks and black shoes.  Evie always wore something in her dyed black hair too, usually flowers, often a black flower.  Evie liked flowers.

She was introduced to Goth when she was twelve.  She told me she fit in almost immediately.  She started to read Gothic novels.  A combination of horror and romance, famous Gothic literature includes novels like the Headless Horseman, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.  Modern movie renditions include Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and even Batman. (You can read more about the Goth subculture here.) 

Something Else You Should Know

Evie was a “cutter.”  Cutting is a form of self-mutilation.  It occurs when a child takes sharp objects like razors, knives, or even pieces of glass and cut themselves, usually in secret.  It’s usually done on the underside of the forearm, on the tops of thighs, but anywhere on the body is possible.  When it occurs in residential settings, it can be “contagious.”  Children vying for the attention of adults notice that “cutters” get a lot of attention.  Like no other child at this 40-bed facility, Evie had the attention of everyone, and everyone was worried.  She was an “active cutter.”  (Nearly all long term “cutters,” in my experience, are Spheres.)

Also, as if there wasn’t enough turmoil in her life, for reasons unrelated to this story, her assigned therapist abruptly left the organization the Friday before I started, without a goodbye.  Evie lost her only confidant, and she was devastated.  When I arrived the following Monday morning, a number of staff members let me know Evie had an emotional, “cutting” weekend.  I decided to be her therapist.

Summing up

Evie was emotionally turbulent.  Her family had deteriorated, and so had Evie.  She drifted into the Goth subculture a few years earlier.  She was talking to a voice in her head, and she was cutting on herself almost daily.  Four months earlier, she was removed from home and placed in a facility that was, as she would say over and over – “a place for crazy kids” – and she just lost her therapist, the one person she could trust.

The worst of this?  The medical profession declared Evie “mentally ill” and gave her chemicals because she was “psychotic” and she was depressed.  Good thing I’ve seen this hundreds of times in my career or I would have been depressed too – and maybe a little “psychotic.”

NEXT TIME:  The Story


Comments on: "GOTH GIRL – A tale from the Lone Arranger" (26)

  1. Frustrated by Dr. Keirsey’s procrastination on his magnum opus, The Dark Escape, I take great interest in this new series of blog posts. Please keep up the good work.

    By the way, do you have a professional opinion on the “affect” school established by Silvan Tomkins? It has something very important in common with Keirsey: It identifies shame as the trigger of senseless behavior. Personally, I appear to have been strengthened by reading Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson. By explaining what happens whenever I’m hit by “shame affect”—which, strictly defined, happens far more frequently than the subjective experience of “being ashamed”!—that book may prove to be a powerful autotherapeutic tool. The next few months will tell.

    Brian, Composer Artisan ISFP (and amateur psychologist)

  2. Yes, I am a Healer. I know this. The self mutilation can be very creative.

  3. The drugs are destructive.

  4. I don’t understand why you disregard Keirsey temperament identifications, (Healer, Rational, Guardian + Artisan) for sphere, star, square + cube though? What is your purpose, seemingly adds to confusion for newer temperament visitors?

  5. “Pretty” “demure”. Would you write this about a male healer? I take issue with describing a case on looks and being perceived as “demure”. This could be a big old fat hairy male healer. Ridiculous and unprofessional. I also take issue with being described as a “sphere”. The correct terminology by Professor David West Keirsey is Reconciler Idealist. The key word being ‘Reconciler’. There is a purpose to that word. Concrete examples are fine, but stop writing them as an all knowing privileged white straight male.

    • Wow. When did “pretty” and “demure” become insults? You remind me of the many Americans who waste their time by taking offense at either “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” depending on which side they take in the sanctimonious battle over public religious expression. They can lighten up, and so can you.

      Also, I happen to like Dr. Cima’s analogy between temperaments and geometric shapes. The more I think about it, the more I admire its clever poetry. For one thing, it echoes colloquial English in using “star” and “square” to describe personality types. For another, it seems symbolically apt that concrete and abstract temperaments are respectively assigned two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. By definition, every point on the surface of a sphere is the same distance from its center. Doesn’t that symbolize rather well the Idealists’ need for integrity, for agreement between inner essence and outer appearance? Admit it: You Idealists can metaphorically be called spheres (or aspiring spheres).

    • Anon (female) said:

      And I take issue with the fact that people have to tailor their words to suit you. I am assuming you are a feminist. I hope I don’t cause ‘offense’, but you don’t speak for all women darling

      • Yes, we need to silence the hysterical feminists, what to do, oh wait, let’s drug them.

      • ‘nutha feminist here. darling. no o’fence. I think goody speaks for many of us. we are after all talking over the world, beginning with temperament blogs.

      • Wait a moment, there is JUST cause to point out a professional not refer to ex clients/patients by their attractiveness (pretty) and demureness, (even as case examples) AND because it is NOT used in regard to males, NOW becomes a “chastising of feminists”? Fair to say Goodrumo speaks for me, thanks G for courage of speaking up about this, it’s damn right creepy a doctor of anything calling young female patients pretty and demure. Get real Anon, Brian. I have young daughters and I would be very concerned about any doctor speaking about my daughters like this. (Or my sons if the case).

  6. ^Look at the dude mansplaining sexism to women. I worked in healthcare, including mental health and it is indeed unprofessional to rate, describe a person by appearance + including demure, when relating past cases as examples, there is a simple formula, words used to equally describe both gender. The shapes sound just plain silly.

    • “Mansplaining sexism to women”? Somehow, I’m the sexist even though you’re the one playing the gender card. I like to think that facts and logic belong to everyone, regardless of sex or race.

  7. This blog came through my feed yesterday, while I am a student of Keirsey Temperament only a year now, I would still like to add my comment on this.

    1. I appreciate the blogs, the temperament examples, the dark escape blogs, particularly Dr Keirsey’s earlier dark escape work, words and tools, misuse of words and tools. While I do think it useful to give examples of this, I was surprised by Dr Cima falling back on male gaze and judging, commenting about young patient on her ‘prettiness’, writing about it. (I see it has been deleted now, as it should). I don’t know of any professional that assumes in this day and age to be making comments about a patient’s attractiveness is in any way, shape or form in best interest of their own professionalism, nor in best interest of young women concerned. There are other descriptive means to make a point without using the words Dr Cima chose.

    2. In regard to Keirsey temperament, we have the resources of Please Understand Me 2 and Personology, the Montgomery series of Pygmalion project and also Dr Montgomery’s People Patterns. Excellent resources and although Personology is more complicated, in depth and perhaps not for everyone what the resources have in common is consistency of descriptions of temperament with powerful and exact words.

    I’m at loss to understand why now symbols have been chosen, they are but just symbols, I feel like I am being dumbed down and the consistency of a theory that has obviously and painstakingly evolved to this point been discarded. If I wanted colour theory, or symbol theory I could read horoscopes.

    3. I also think it important to recognise madness (to use society word), ‘dark escape’ in larger context of how it has and does, relate to women. Misogyny in relation to women and madness. You either contribute to a patriarchal system and misogyny or not. ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’

  8. Reblogged this on auguries14 and commented:
    Dark Escape, Temperament.

  9. georgie said:

    The psychology game isn’t just about peddling drugs,(big pharma) it’s been one of the big players of misogyny bed from get go. Remember before pharma they had ECT and all kinds of abuse (re-labelled as treatment) to inflict upon women. “Women are significantly more likely than men to be prescribed psychotropic medication known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, given electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or hospitalised for psychiatric illness.

    …But this doesn’t mean that women are more mad than men. They are simply more likely to be labelled as such when they express discontent or distress with everyday life. Or when they fail to live up to the unrealistic ideals of the perfect wife and mother.

    These ideals change over time. In the 19th century, women were committed to mental asylums for using foul language, having sex outside of marriage, or wanting to leave their husbands. Today, we don’t lock women up for unfeminine behaviour or marital discontent. Instead, we put them in a chemical straitjacket and prescribe psychotropic medication.”[The Conversation DSM+Women] Look what happens just here when someone brings notice to sexist description of a young girl, it is 2013 isn’t it? Well said Wooster, well said Goodrumo. Big Pharma is no friend to women (or children), nor is Big Misogyny. One is a tool of the other, I will leave it for the darlings + mansplainers to engage their brains and figure which. Here is a hint, to live in a hostile, sexist and oppressive environment will increase your likelihood for dark escape.

    • What about the oppressive environment created by politically correct guilt trips over innocuous words? Could it lead to madness? More importantly, might it be an example of madness in itself? Since you want to talk about the political big picture, let’s talk about freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Of course, women don’t deserve to be bullied into self-censorship, but neither does Dr. Cima.

      • Look at indignant brian, really are out of your depth here aren’t you with freedom of speech, male gaze and sexism. just who + what are you defending buddy? let me guess, a self serving artisan right? all talk, no substance. If dr cima is going to choose to write about *pretty* young girl patients he really ought to accept responsibility and consequences for unprofessional actions. vast difference between responsibility, professionalism and misogyny. I give you credence + experience in but just one of those areas.

      • Well, didn’t this just get interesting. Mr Sorgatz here, so concerned about defending a doctor’s ‘right’ to sexism + making accusations of bullying is the guy off Keirsey brains + careers forum. For a considerable while stalked Goody around the forum dishing out lectures, mansplaining + all kinds of obvious and subtle abuse, covering many facets of life, but also included teaching her, “how to think”. Through his own actions + consequences he got booted off that place + took up residence on facebook on what was an affiliated page to Keirsey temperament discussion group, promptly began posting personal abusive threads there, predominantly about Goody but not exclusive. Pot-kettle-Black.

  10. Evan, what are you saying, don’t you know The Menz is always right.

  11. And who are you, “benno”? Since you’re giving a biased version of my history, it would be sporting and courageous to identify yourself. No? OK, never mind.

  12. […] reminded me of a 4 part series of articles entitled "Goth Girl" which I read recently – GOTH GIRL – A tale from the Lone Arranger | Your Kids Aren't Sick GOTH GIRL – Part II: A tale from the Lone Arranger | Your Kids Aren't Sick GOTH GIRL – […]

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