The Case
of Mary Lou

• Part One:
An Introduction
• Part Two:
Interview With Mary Lou
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A Case History of Love Therapy

Professionals do not broadcast the fact, but the hard truth is that there will never be enough trained therapists to help all the millions of people with emotional problems. So where is hope? That was one of the major motivations for writing this book, to reveal the only hope – love. Love heals! That is the hope. Everyone has the capacity to love. Professionals do not have a corner on the market on that capability.

But the idea of average citizens, volunteers, non-professionals attempting to heal severely disturbed people is a radical idea for many. Yet, following is a case of love therapy at its best, and it was administered by a woman with very little education, a woman who wouldn’t know an Oedipus complex from an apartment complex, but a woman with a heart as big as the ocean.

The Case of Mary Lou

A fourteen-year-old girl had grown-up in an isolated shack in a southeastern Kentucky "holler." Mary Lou was a victim of brutal physical abuse and incest. She ran away from home, hitchhiking, and made it to the outskirts of a city, to a field. There she had lived for four months like a little animal in the shell of a wrecked car. Junk food and blankets had been provided to her by the boys who lined up to have sex with her. When brought to a youth shelter by police, she was filthy, lice-laden, syphilitic, and combative, a feral child 2 who literally snarled. After finally obtaining a social and medical history and psychologicals, a multidisciplinary team had diagnosed the girl as both Borderline and Anti-social Personality, and established her prognosis for ever leading a normal life as "near-zero." After eighteen months, two experienced therapists had failed to faze her and the prognosis, if possible, was even poorer. Then she was sent to a second group home. There, the "group home mother," a barely literate woman in her fifties, Mamie, somehow reached and began to utterly transform the girl within three months. After another year, to everyone’s amazement, Mary Lou began to emerge as a happy, bright, well-mannered young lady. Six months later, both previous diagnoses of emotional disorders were removed, and her prognosis changed to "Excellent" -- but not before some debate among the professionals who had tried to treat her. They simply could not believe that the change in the girl was real. They suspected Mary Lou's good behavior was a "con." Nor could Mamie explain her "treatment methods"; she just knew the girl was "better." I was asked to evaluate Mary Lou.

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