Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

PSYCHOTHERAPY Out of Bounds, continued
By chance, he found it. By chance also, he found someone there who looked about as lost as he was, asked this person (probably a patient) if he could borrow the interaction-recording device and, receiving the person’s permission to take anything he wanted, he scooped up the equipment and ran back to his office. Once there, he locked the door, dusted off his wonderful new stolen property, and hid it under his desk. The days passed and he was unable to discern any posse out to catch the miscreant. So, looking as though he was doing something completely normal, he secreted his ill-gotten gains under his arm and ran it up to his nurse’s room. He abandoned it there so it would look as though she had stolen it if anybody came looking for it. The next day, he purloined his family’s metronome on the way to work and added it to the pile to complete the equipment that would be needed for Tracy’s treatment.
The nurse was a much nicer person than Felicity had any right to expect. She accepted the new imposition on her time with amazing grace. Felicity asked her to sit with Tracy for two half- hour periods each day, morning and afternoon, to help Tracy with the task he wanted her to do. At first, the metronome was to be set at a very slow rate. It was to be speeded up slowly at each new session only if Tracy was able to keep time with it fairly accurately. Tracy’s task was to push on just one of the buttons in time with the metronome and, as if it might be a reward, to watch the deflections of the associated pair of pens on the pen-recorder. She would be able to see how evenly she timed the pushing of the key, and both the nurse and Felicity would be able to evaluate later how she was doing by looking at the lengths of the lines between pen deflections on the recorder’s paper tape.
The treatment began, and Felicity kept track of how Tracy was doing by looking over the paper tape after each session. He could see both the regularity of Tracy’s button pushing, its accuracy (from the pens which deflected – showing which button had been pressed), and the speed of the tapping she was doing (from the distance between pen deflections). As soon as she was doing as well as he thought she should, he asked the nurse to get her to push two side-by-side buttons, alternating back-and-forth between them, starting again at a slow beat from the metronome.

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