Virtual Conference
Mental Health 2022

Wilfried Ver Eecke

Georgetown University, United States

Title: How to help the severe mentally ill patients


The aim of the therapy of the severe mentally ill is to help them speak. Some severe mentally ill patients are mute. The task of the therapist is then to find a way to connect.  This challenge is made more difficult by the covid epidemic when one does not see patients in person but by zoom or face time.
I will discuss briefly the successful methods of Prouty, Karon and Villemoes.
I will point out that all three therapists start by connecting at the imaginary level with their patients. However unacceptable their fantasies are, they should not be contradicted. Agreeing with his patient Karon even said: “That bitch (his stepmother) deserves to be killed is she did that much harm to you.
Having agreed with the imaginary, whatever it is, the therapist then looks for a way to introduce the rule of life articulated in the linguistic expression: If you want this then you must accept and do that.
I will report on a patient who is only willing to talk if I invite him to describe the food he has eaten and sometimes prepared himself.
The next purpose is to let the patient talk about people as they relate to the objective things talked about like the food.  This patient reported that if he helps his mother with preparing the food, she smiles and he likes that.
The ultimate purpose is the let the patient describe more objects, like the school he went to, in order to help the patient create the story of his life.


Wilfried Ver Eecke has a PHD form Leuven, Belgium in 1966. In preparation for his doctoral thesis, he went for one year to Paris where he followed the weekly lecture given by Lacan. He was also allowed to attend the case presentations of Lacan.
He teaches at Georgetown university in the philosophy department since 1967
 He is an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department since 1996.
He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Washington, DC, August 2008 (PRCI14002)
He is a Lacanian psychoanalyst after passing the “Pass”. Admitted to the International School of the Lacanian Field (EPFCL) 2014.