TALK OF THE TOWN
By Neal Cruz
Everybody’s talking about it: drivers, office clerks, janitors and security guards, doctors and nurses, executives, government employees, vendors; in buses and jeepneys, in coffee shops, in offices, in hospitals, at parties, in schools, in marketplaces. It is in the newspapers, the television show-biz gossip talk shows and the radio programs.
I mean everybody’s talking about the sex video of Katrina Halili and Dr. Hayden Kho. They are the talk of the town. Suddenlyand Doña Dionisia (no longer Aling Dionisia) are passé. Panis na sila! Overtaken by the Kat-Kho duo. If somebody wants to make a lot of money in the movies, he should produce a movie with Katrina Halili cast as a sexy woman exploited by her lover. In fact, if a PR practitioner had thought of the present sex video scandal as a gimmick to promote a movie, he could not have found a better one. That sex video is two years old. Why the scandal only now? Because Kat has a movie coming up?
Why would anyone want to have a video of such an intimate and private matter as lovemaking? And having almost the whole world see it on the Internet?
I chanced upon a family friend at a party who happened to be a psychiatrist and I grabbed the opportunity to ask her questions. I asked if anyone who did that was normal.
“No, that is not normal behavior,” she replied. “Anybody who does that needs counseling.”
“What’s wrong with a person like that?” I asked.
“No psychiatrist who has not examined the person will make a judgment,” she said.
“Based on what is already publicly known, can’t you make a guess?” I persisted.
“We are just making conversation,” she said, “but since you are pestering me, the easiest guess is that a person has a feeling of inferiority.”
“Of his sex, sexuality?”
“Yes, sexuality. Many people have feelings of inferiority. You meet them all the time. They are the boastful type, those who brag about themselves or their accomplishments; those who insist on being called congressman or attorney; those who pester lifestyle editors to put pictures of their homes in their newspapers; those who throw parties often and invite celebrities and public officials and have their photographs taken to be published in the newspapers; those who flaunt garish jewelry; those who tell stories of the places they have been to; those who boast of their conquests, etcetera, etcetera. All of them have feelings of inferiority in varying degrees.”
“Why do they do that?”
“To get over their feelings of inferiority. I am richer than they are, I have a bigger house than they have, I have more prestigious friends than they … things like that.”
“What does a sex video do to their feelings of importance?”
“Proof of their sexual conquests. I bedded this or that beautiful woman. There’s the proof.”
“Isn’t that also exhibitionism?” I asked.
“Yes, that too. A person who would have himself filmed in action, or even just photographed naked, is something of an exhibitionist. Excepting of course the professional models. Showing their bodies is their bread and butter.”
“Do the exhibitionists need counseling?”
“Yes of course.”
“Why don’t they get counseling?”
“Because they do not admit to themselves that there is something wrong with them. First, you have to recognize that there is something very wrong with you before you would even agree to visit a psychiatrist or psychologist.” [They are two different practitioners. A psychiatrist is a doctor of medicine with psychiatry as his specialization; a psychologist is a degree holder in B.S. Psychology.—NHC]
“What do you tell your patients?”
“Ah, that is very complex,” she scratched her head. “Each case is different; each personality is unique. There are no generic solutions to their problems. There are many different kinds of mental ailments. It is sometimes difficult just to differentiate one ailment from another. And each ailment has a different therapy.”
“How do you know what’s wrong with him?”
“By talking to him. By coaxing him to talk about his problems, let him spill his heart out. The psychiatrist has to get his trust so he would tell him his innermost feelings. That is how the psychiatrist knows what is causing the problem. That is the difficult part, tracing the root cause. It is only then that you can map out a therapy for him and tell him and the members of his family what to do. Sometimes just talking to a priest or a friend helps, but in most cases, they need professional help. Some need to be confined.”
“Why are a lot of crazy people roaming around in the Philippines? Why don’t they go to psychiatrists?”
“Because there is a stigma attached to going to a shrink. So Filipinos do not want to admit that they need a shrink or that a family member needs to. There are also many crazy people in America but they readily go for counseling at the first hint of trouble. In fact, it is something of a status symbol there to go to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist, after all, is a doctor of medicine who specializes in mental illnesses. Going to one is the same as going to a pulmonologist for a cold or to a cardiologist for high blood pressure.”
“They say psychiatrists charge by the hour …”
“Most do. It’s because psychiatrists spend a lot of time listening to their patients. Unlike cardiologists who spend an average of 15 minutes for each consulting patient, psychiatrists spend hours with their patients.”
“That’s one more reason why Filipinos don’t go to psychiatrists—the steep professional fees,” I said.
“True. But that’s because there are few mental patients who go to psychiatrists and even fewer psychiatrists. If all the crazy people would go to their doctors, the fees would go down!”