Case 7 was treated for her sex difficulties under the constant care of a vigorous mother, who first, naturally, had to gain an understanding of the case. With her bettered physical and mental conditions, the girl was able steadily to hold a position for which earlier she had no capacity.
Betterment in Case 14 came about mainly as the result of an understanding of the child's mental conflicts and somewhat through partially bettered environmental conditions. We learned lately that the severe visual defect had been neglected.
In Case 15 the false accusations were made upon the basis of mental conflict. Investigation of the case, followed by the personal services of a probation officer and by the legal proceedings, served to clear up conditions, including those of the family in general, so that the girl was given a greater chance for success.
Case 19 seems to have been largely cured through the girl herself being able to work out her mental conflicts. Adolescence was a factor and she was tided over this period in a good environment and with friends who understood her type of case and who were willing to put up with her aberrancies for this time. Although we would not minimize the efforts of stalwart friends, we may say that there were more evidences of cure by self-help in this case than in any other we have seen.
Lest we should seem to be placing too much emphasis upon adolescence, with the idea that the mere passing of that period will lead to change in behavior, we cite Cases 3, 5, and 6, where the addition of years has brought no betterment. In neither of these was the essential nature of the difficulty explored during earlier troublous periods.
An interesting consideration for treatment is embodied in the rational idea of utilizing the special powers, so that there may be ample gratification in self-expression, and in use of the imagination. Through this new satisfaction there may be a mental swerving from the previous paths strewn with pitfalls. The inclination to verbal composition, already spoken of as existing in so many cases, may be utilized, and imagination be given full sway in harmless directions. It seems likely that just this deliberate practice may serve to more clearly demarcate truth from falsehood in the individual's mind. Unfortunately we have had too little actual proof of the value of this method, some cases being worked on now are too recent for report, but there is plenty of indication of the possibilities. Had we been able to control environment better, much more of this type of work would have been carried out.
A favorable outcome through this constructive treatment based upon utilizing the characteristic linguistic powers of the pathological liar, is witnessed to by Stemmermann in her story of Delbruck's G. N. In the history of this case a delightful note of comedy is struck. G. N. was found to be a man of considerable literary ability. He had been observed over the period of 13 years. After he was first studied he twice managed to go 3 years without succumbing to his falsifying tendencies, and then found his chance for leading a blameless life by becoming a newspaper man. In fact, he reached an honored place as an editor. Stemmermann suggests, naively, that perhaps this calling is especially calculated to give the talents correlated with pseudologia phantastica space for free play, so that the individual's special abilities may not come in conflict with the law, or with social customs, and, on the other hand, may be utilized in fruitful pursuits.
All together, one would certainly advise every effort being made towards specifically stabilizing the pathological liar in the matter of truth-telling--by checking the springs of misconduct, and by diverting energies and talents into their most suitable channels. The problem must ever be one for individual therapy. Failures of treatment there may be, but from our study we are much inclined to believe that well-calculated, constructive efforts will achieve goodly success among those who are mentally normal.