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Covington, C. (2013). The Imposter in the Land of Illusion. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(2):245-253.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(2):245-253

Personal View

The Imposter in the Land of Illusion

Coline Covington

This is the story of Fred, a city banker who came for psychotherapy when he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Fred styled himself as an alchemist who could turn dross metal into gold and had achieved remarkable success until global recession hit. Fred's psychopathology had driven him to believe that he had supernatural powers - and this made him special. He instinctively gravitated to a world in which his magical powers would be admired and rewarded - the world of derivatives. Here Fred excelled. Every deal turned into a river of gold that, seemingly, had no end. But just as Fred's success had been meteoric, his downfall was catastrophic. The false self he had created crumbled and he catapulted into the void without bearings, surrounded by the flotsam of dead objects. With this terrible loss, his journey towards life had only just begun. Fred's story is a modern day allegory for the psychopathology that has infected the major financial institutions over the last twenty years, creating a precarious world based on illusion. Fred's trajectory illustrates not only the powerful lure of illusion but also how a perverse system is structured with the implicit aim of attacking mind and reality.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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