Quick question: What was the first thing that came to mind when you learned that Joaquin Guzman, aka El Chapo, drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel was arrested last month?
If you answered that he should have gotten Gestalt therapy, you are thinking like a Mexican therapist.
For people who believe that art is life, El Chapo, that is, Shorty Guzman, should have done as Tony Soprano did and gotten therapy from his own Dr. Jennifer Melfi.
The Daily Beast has dug into his case Guzman and has discovered that the world’s leading drug trafficker underwent therapy during his last incarceration in 2001.
Then, a group of highly credentialed professional psychiatrists evaluated Shorty and prescribed Gestalt therapy. Shorty completed 63 therapy sessions before he escaped from prison.
Imagine how bad he would have been if he did not have the benefit of therapy.
Michael Daly of the Daily Beast has read through the case files and has reported on them fairly. Reading through his story one is struck by the fact that this highly scientific case report sounds like it was written by astrologers.
That is, it could apply to just about anyone. It tells us nothing. It explains nothing.
Apparently, the forensic team observed that Shorty has a lot of self-confidence. The team described him as:
“egocentric and narcissistic, with a grandiose feeling of his own importance, giving him expectations of special treatment….
During his time in prison Shorty developed adequate relationships with the ruling authorities. Do I need to tell you that imprisoned Mexican drug lords receive extra special treatment?
The most immediate authority figures in his life at that point were the prison guards, and he reportedly sought a more than adequate relationship with them via suitcases stuffed with cash. That facilitated food to equal what he could have enjoyed on the outside as well as regular trysts with a female inmate.
In fact, Shorty did not have such a bad time of it in prison. Daly offers what is sure to become a classical analysis:
The combination of noshing, nookie and normalcy seem to have made El Chapo content enough that he did not even attempt escape from prison for years.
Of course, the psychologists do not limit themselves to a superficial analysis of a known drug lord and, it is fair to say, criminal psychopath.
They probed deeper and discovered that Shorty’s bluster was: “a reactive formation, counter reacting to his true personality.”
In truth, Shorty was: “introverted and with a tendency to be needy.”
Needy and vulnerable… you could have fooled his victims.
If you had dared think that he was insensitive, you will be happy to learn that he was “sensitive to criticism.”
We also learn that he manifested:
… egodystonic aggression subject to the mechanism of denial, according to/depending on the surrounding conditions.
For our edification, Daly defines the terms:
Egodystonic in this context means that, along with being touchy, El Chapo had aggressive thoughts and urges that he realized are unreasonable and run contrary to his ideal image of himself, though in certain circumstances he was able to rationalize it all.
You see, he didn’t want to run all of those drugs and he certainly did not want to murder all of those people. He really had a much more saintly vision of himself and was suffering because his behavior did not correspond to his image.
The report suggests that in countering his fears and his desire to cloak his true self perhaps from even himself, El Chapo was driven by “feelings of ambition and the need to maintain an acceptable appearance in interpersonal relationships, being expansive in his manner of interacting and behaving as a leader.”
If you thought of him as a heartless psychopath, you need more training. The Mexican forensic psychiatrists decided that he didn’t really want to do it. To their minds, he was susceptible to therapy.
The report also says that Shorty suffered from certain well-defined fears. You may call them a phobia—I wouldn’t—but they were, the Daily Beast explains, entirely reasonable. After all, “at various times Shorty:
… had everybody from the DEA to the FBI to the CIA to the Mexican military after him, not to mention literally thousands of murderous enemies in rival cartels.
As the old saying goes, even paranoiacs have enemies.
The report concluded that Shorty was “anti-social” but that he might respond to Gestalt treatment with a “humanistic focus.”
I’m sure that’s just what you were thinking, too.
Some believed that Shorty had made some progress, but the report offered a more qualified appraisal:
Frequently/commonly he is interested in aspects related to power, success, and physical beauty, orienting his behavior toward their obtention....