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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Tiersian Therapy  
  A therapeutic discipline in which the patient chooses a character from a book and then attempts to be that character.  

This is the fictional name for a real discipline, 'projective psychotherapy'.

"THE TIERSIAN THERAPY patients form a small and elite volunteer group," Doctor Porsena said. "Usually, they start out with volume one, The Maker of Universes, and read the rest in proper sequence. They choose a character in the books and try to BE that character. They adopt all the mental and emotional characteristics of the role model whether they're good or bad. As therapy progresses, they come to a point where they start getting rid of the bad qualities of the character they've chosen. But they keep the good features.

"It's rather like a snake shedding its skin. The patient's uncontrolled delusions, the undesirable emotional factors which brought him or her here, are gradually replaced by controlled delusions. The controlled delusions are those which the patient adopts when he or she becomes, in a sense, the character in the series.

"There's much more to the treatment than this, but you'll understand that as therapy proceeds. You follow me?"

"So far," Jim said. "This really works, right?"

"The failure rate is phenomenally low. In your case, even though you've read the series, you will have to reread it. The World of Tiers will be your Bible, your key to health if you work with it and at it."

Jim was silent for a while. He was considering the series and also wondering which character -- some of them were really vicious -- he would like to adopt. To become, as the doctor said.

From Red Orc's Revenge, by Philip Jose Farmer.
Published by Signet in 1991
Additional resources -

A real-life psychiatrist, A. James Giannini, M.D., used Philip Jose Farmer's books as aids to self-analysis. The technique, projective psychotherapy, involves immersing patients in a fictional world the entire contents of which is known to the therapist.

The novel Red Orc's Rage was written by Farmer in consultation with Dr. Giannini. The novel used is Farmer's earlier series, the "World of Tiers" novels.

Thanks to Blue Monkey for the tip on this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Red Orc's Revenge
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip Jose Farmer
  Tech news articles related to Red Orc's Revenge
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip Jose Farmer

Tiersian Therapy-related news articles:
  - How To 'Level Up' In Psychotherapy

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