Obsession: The Bizarre Relationship Between a Prominent Harvard Psychiatrist and Her Suicid Al Patient

Gary S. Chafetz, Author
Gary S. Chafetz, Author Crown Publishers $25 (365p) ISBN 978-0-517-59558-9
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Hardcover - 978-0-517-15636-0
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This heavily documented but not always convincing probe of a celebrated case attempts to exonerate psychiatrist Margaret Bean-Bayog of charges that her unorthodox treatment of Harvard Medical School student Paul Lozano led to his death by cocaine overdose in 1991. Lozano's family accused Bean-Bayog of luring her depressive patient into sadomasochistic sex that pushed him into suicide. But here, writing in the first person about the case and his coverage of it, Boston Globe reporter Gary Chafetz, drawing on counsel from his psychiatrist father as well as on exclusive interviews with Bean-Bayog, maintains that the psychiatrist's therapy-session notes apparently recording her violent sexual fantasies about Lozano were actually an expression of her counter-transference (her private feelings for her patient). The Chafetzes reject the Lozano family's claim that Bean-Bayog had sex with her patient or provided him with intense erotic stimulation. They portray Bean-Bayog, who in the aftermath of Lozano's death surrendered her medical license and settled a million-dollar lawsuit brought by his family, as a deeply caring, perhaps overzealous therapist who employed unusual techniques with a suicidal patient and who was subsequently victimized by the media and by the Massachusetts medical board under pressure to find her guilty. (For a less exculpatory version of the case, see Breakdown , reviewed below.) (Apr.)
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