Cuthbert’s Taxidermy Museum

Category: Illustration

Name: Cuthbert Harrington
D.O.B: 08/05/1958
Gender: Male
Reason for referral: To clarify unclear diagnosis.

Procedures:
Clinical Interview
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – III (WAIS-III)
Bender-Gestalt Test
Rorschach Inkblot Method
Lifestyle Inventory

Background Information:

Cuthbert had a very socially isolated upbringing; his parents dying in a car accident when he was 10 years old. He found consolation in a childhood pet Twiggy, the three-legged pug. He was to Cuthbert a form of stability, and Cuthbert states that ‘we made each other whole’. The bond between Cuthbert and Twiggy seems to have been exacerbated by the loss of his family, and Cuthbert anthropomorphised his pet, training him to act as human as a pug could. One day, whilst sailing to celebrate Twiggy’s tenth birthday, Twiggy jumped in the water to catch a fish but due to his severe respiratory problems and weak heart he just stopped swimming. Cuthbert pulled the deceased pug from the water, partially mauled fish held in its jaws, and his heart broke. Cuthbert had lost part of himself, as had the fish that Twiggy the three-legged dog had mauled. Cuthbert thought that the only way to make this right was to use the two halves of Twiggy and the fish, and make another whole. After excessive amounts of unsuccessful psychological treatments, Cuthbert made it his life’s mission to find animals with something missing and create hybrids to alleviate their loneliness forever. Unfortunately Cuthbert lacks in biological prowess and the only way he can achieve this is to stuff them and put them on his wall.

He has the current occupation of a self-employed ‘artistic’ Taxidermist with an exhibition and live-working space.

References from his previous therapists state that they felt any form of treatment only inspired and encourage him to ‘help’ the world’s creatures because they, too, needed help. A clear love of these animals manifesting in a way that he doesn’t deem as unjust illustrates his severe disillusionment problem. Duration of treatment has been sporadic over 46 years, progress minimal. No known substance abuse.

Very academic background, a very promising student though ever obsessed by detail and neatness, perhaps a reflection of his need for order stemming from his chaotic childhood. He finds it difficult to leave things incomplete. Biological interest stemming from travel and excessive reading in childhood.

Behavioural Observations:

During testing, his mental status appears unstable. His eyes are darting around and he is tidying and squaring the objects around him. Incessant rambling about Twiggy, and stating trivia about various species. Immaculately dressed and groomed. He’s unable to sit still, fast often inaudible speech, though apparent good mood. Naturally curious. Tries to cooperate, though quickly distracted.

Based on Mr. Harrington’s behaviour, and his apparent effort and cooperation, test results are likely to be inconclusive in relation to his functioning at this time.

Cognitive Functioning:

Mr. Harrington’s performance on the WAIS-III places him within the superior range of intellectual functioning. His Full Scale IQ of 184 is higher than that of 99% of individuals his age. Verbal Comprehension score was in the top 90%, though verbal communication skills are low. Comprehension and processing speed are high, being in the top 2% of the population. Perceptual organisation was another area in which he excelled, placing within the top 1%.

The strength in his information processing and arranging possibly limits his daily verbal communications in terms of his speed of thought is superior to the methods with which he aims to communicate. His lack of social elements in his daily life also limits his verbal communication as it is rarely practiced. However the information processing leads to a strength of empathy, though this possibly feeds his obsession with ‘helping’ animals through taxidermy.

Social emotional Functioning:

His capacity for appreciating reality is low, as he is self-contained in his living situation and seems to have created his own form of reality. Empathetic ability is high, though not rooted in rationality or reality.

A clear form of OCD is present, manifesting in obsessive neatness. Possible schizophrenic behaviour leading to a lack of understanding of reality, though not in an obtrusive or damaging way to other humans.

Interpersonal relations practically non-existent, though seems to be efficient at presenting information which would explain his ability to present his findings to an audience. The only love he remembers is to Twiggy, and seems unable to relate the idea of love to anyone other than his animals. He is not self-aware, but is focused entirely on his mission within his occupation. No form of clear religion, his mission of creating whole animals is his spiritual goal.

Positive psychological traits appear in the form of motivation,  focus, problem solving, creativity and empathy.

Summary: High overall intelligence though without direct application to reality. No clear grasp of reality, with a firm belief in his created reality of saving animals from loneliness. Clear positive hopes with no threat to other humans, as he believes that what he’s doing is helping. Lack of any social relations or functioning, though a great ability to empathise even if perhaps too strongly. Strengths lie in creativity, focus, motivation and empathy; though weaknesses fall in a lack of understanding of reality, social norms, communication and mindfulness.

Recommendations:

A still unclear analysis of Mr Harrington, without any form of hope to analyse after further tests. No recommendations for further treatments or tests, as he doesn’t fit within the boundaries for many tests due to his lack of communication skills and unconventional lifestyle and beliefs. Psychological interventions needed – perhaps some arranged social interventions to increase social interactions though his lifestyle may help him to avoid this.

Posted on November 3, 2015 | Illustration