On an Inappropriate Relationship

Ralph had done pioneering work as a psychiatrist in California in the years immediately after World War II. He was among the first psychiatrists to address post-traumatic stress disorder and label it as such. Before men like Ralph, PTSD was dismissed as battle fatigue, also known as being shellshocked. But Ralph realized the deeper implications and long-term effects that war could have on people. As his reputation in the psychiatric community grew, Ralph and his wife became well known figures in California because of this groundbreaking work.

Soon, Ralph began taking on other clients; some Hollywood types started visiting his office for sessions. Among the procession of actors and actresses that came through his practice, Ralph found the whole gamut of psychological disorders, and this new clientele fascinated him.

In many ways, Ralph became as enamored with Hollywood as Hollywood did with him. By the late 50s, Ralph was able to be much more selective on which clients he chose. In fact, he narrowed his clientele down to, effectively, one woman.

Now we’ve all seen TV shows and films that depict personal relationships between mental health professionals and their clients and patients. Sadly, this happened with Ralph and his patient. This particular woman somehow entranced Ralph to the point that he became obsessed with her. Whether consciously or not, Ralph began manipulating the woman’s emotions. He began controlling her life to his advantage, telling her whom she could see and whom she could not, basically controlling her entire social calendar. He even often allowed the woman to stay at his house overnight. To help him gain ever more control over the inappropriate relationship, Ralph prescribed a cocktail of medications that kept the woman docile and highly susceptible to his suggestions.

The woman was very needy and very damaged, and she was looking for a father type figure to give her life some direction. Ralph gladly assumed that role and justified it in his own mind that he was helping her. But things begin to change in the warped relationship. The woman, despite the emotional and medicinal manipulation, began to realize that Ralph was doing what he was doing for purely selfish reasons and not in her best interest. So, in 1962, she told Ralph that she wanted to end their professional and personal relationship. You can imagine the panic and devastation that Ralph must have felt when she broke the news to him. We can only guess about that because the woman died under suspicious circumstances soon after she told Ralph about her decision.

In fact, it was Dr. Ralph Greenson who first discovered the body of Marilyn Monroe.

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