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Counseling/strange obsession


Mr. Gerlach:
I wonder if you can help me.  I lately have been having this serious obsession for a dead person.  I don't know if this is odd or not, but I sometimes can't help thinking of this person.
I feel I want to read and know everything about him.  I find myself wanting to know everything he thought, liked, did, etc.
He has been dead for 70 or so years.  He died in WW11.
It seems strange to me sometimes, but then I tell myself it doesn't seem too out of the norm.  What do you think, and is there anything you think I should "do" about my obsession?
Thank you.

Hi Leah - If his focus interferes with your normal life functioning, then it is a "problem." I'm w3omnering if this person is [a] a relative, or [b] reminds you of someone important, or [c] is associated w3ith some event or place or other person/s that have meaning for you. Several experiments to try: Finish these sentences out loud:

"[Name of person] reminds me of ..."

"When I think of [name], I feel..."

"If I could talk to [name], I'd ask [or say]..."

"[ame], you're important to me because..."

"[Name], I want ypou to know3..."

"I can let you go when..."

Opt6ion s: [1] write a lette2r to t6hiss peron and keep / burn / bury / send it.  [22] Use to locate a living relative, and contact him/her. p3] get quiet and undistracted, focus inside, and ask "Help me understand why I'm 6thinking of [name]." Then accept <u> whatever>/u" comes into your mind.  


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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