Ghost Stories

by Barry Brody, PhD, LMFT

Do you believe in ghosts?


It was her second appointment, having been referred by her primary care physician for depression in the aftermath of the break-up of a chotic romance.

She entered the consulting room and somehow I found her seated in a chair. But I didn’t see her walk or move. It was as if she just magically transported herself from the waiting room to the chair. She began to talk about her childhhood, her recent failed relationship, other failed relatioships, her work…. What was remarkable as I listened to her was how unremarkable her story was. No feelings, no history of abuse, trauma or neglect. No meaning to any of it. Just nothing. As the minutes continued to move, I became aware of a fantasy that if I were to reach out and touch her, my hand would go right through her and she would disappear–vanish.

And vanish she did. She never returned for another appointment, and sometimes I wonder if she was ever there or did I hallucinate her?

Since then I have become more aware of other “ghosts” in people I meet with. Things, presences, somethings that haunt, possess and torment. The people who I am attempting to describe talk about being haunted or possessed by something they cannot put into words. Something they desperately want to escape from and get rid of. Something that may recede at times, but never really dies or goes away. Something ghostly that remains alive or still-born inside them waiting for ….

I imagine now that we all may have “ghosts” like these. Some more than others. Dead spots that remain with us awaiting to be re-born so that they may have some rest. Of course this is what most of fear. To give life back to what haunts us.

But how else do you kill a ghost?

Barry Brody, PhD, LMFT is a psychotherapist in Florida offering telehealth services. Dr. Brody has provided marriage and family therapy for over 35 years. He works with individuals, couples, families and children, and is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.