For most bridge players the desire to win is of paramount importance, even in the less heated social arenas of the game. This desire can become so acute that any repeated experience of failures immediately triggers stronger and more negative feelings. Sadly, these manifest themselves into all sorts of personality and psychological disorders. So with a certain type of client, I often resort to one of the following two therapies:
Reality Adjustment :
In bridge it is widely accepted that the winners are those with the highest overall scores. But this is a perception that can be changed. It becomes imperative to " re-condition " their minds to accept and believe that they are always the true winners.....even if they are in the bottom half of the field ! This reality adjustment can only be done by convincing them that all those pairs who came higher are cheats. Therefore, every therapy session defines the world of bridge as a world full of cheating, deceiving, lying, unethical, unscrupulous, pathological, malevolent, evil bastards.......leaving them as the only honest ones left in the field. Once that message has been rammed home, it matters not a jot where they now come on the results list since they will always come top of the true and honest pairs who competed. The fact they may have beaten a few of the cheaters in the process is an added bonus. Nevertheless, the therapy only works best if they can avoid coming last. The problem, of course, with coming in last is that another reality adjustment suddenly dawns on them : they can't possibly call themselves winners, if they are the only competitors in a one-horse race.
For Pity's Sake Get A Grip On Yourself :
Some clients have it within themselves to " change ". This therapy requires them to overcome their problems by applying a right good dollop of will power and self-determination. In order for them to take a grip of themselves, they need to do this in a symbolic way to get the process underway. All clients therefore are given ( or should I say have to pay for ) extremely over-priced replica dolls of themselves. Then, the moment any of the symptoms linked to their disorder or affliction first surface, clients must immediately take hold of the dolls and grip them......and continue to grip as hard as they can.......until those symptoms subside. In practice a " transference " has taken place : the doll has become the client, and the client takes on the role of an exorcist. By squeezing the living daylights out of the doll, they are in fact performing a gripping act of " de-possession ", and in doing so strive to remove all the demons belonging to that disorder . Indeed, at my local club over 50% of the members carry their dolls around with them, often seen running from the tables to find quiet spots where they then get a real grip on themselves in private. Then having quickly cast aside all those symptoms which were starting to show, the doll-handlers are now in a stable condition to return to their tables as normal, considerate, peace-loving players .