Casey Anthony will be released from jail this Sunday. Despite reported plans to change her appearance and whisk her away to an unknown location, she remains a psychologically fractured young woman whose choices may still be determined by the highly unusual way she views herself, others and the world around her.
Judging from Ms. Anthony’s life history and behavioral profile, there are a handful of things she will most likely be inclined to do on Monday:
1) Find a Sexual Partner
Ms. Anthony has a history of using sex as an anesthetic, distancing herself from traumatic memories, emotional suffering and a range of other feelings—including guilt. Upon her release, she may well put romance at the top of her list.
2) Drink Alcohol
Ms. Anthony may well seek refuge in alcohol. She has done so before. Faced with unwieldy, dramatic tides of emotion, she could certainly do so, again.
3) Shop Online
Even while incarcerated, Ms. Anthony thirsted for everything from jackets to shoes to an “As Seen on TV” device to remove unwanted body hair painlessly from her bikini line. Free, she’s likely to go shopping—less likely in a mall, than on the Web.
4) Strategize About Media Projects
I do not believe Ms. Anthony will hesitate to pursue financial gain for television interviews, a book she writes or a film with which she cooperates. (Please note that, contrary to rumor, Casey Anthony will not receive any compensation from the book about her which I am publishing.)
5) Work Out While Listening to Music
Ms. Anthony will be focused on becoming fit (sexually attractive) and indulging her passion for music. Again, note that both activities can distract her from her underlying thoughts and feelings.
6) Hire a P.R.Firm
This will would likely include a move to reassure the public that some portion of her earning will go to causes that work to find missing children.
Now here are a handful of things Casey Anthony should do on Monday:
1) Find a Truly Gifted Psychiatrist to Work With
Ms. Anthony is not well psychologically. The key to her becoming well is a trusting, therapeutic relationship with an insight-oriented psychiatrist. Given her contention that men have traumatized her in the past and that her mother has not protected her, I would suggest that the psychiatrist be male—hence bringing to the surface more quickly and dramatically issues with which she struggles. This psychiatrist can be available to Ms. Anthony should her ability to deny her emotions (including grief) fail her, leaving her vulnerable to severe depression.
2) Find a Spiritual Counselor to Work with and to Pray With
Ms. Anthony professes a deep connection to her religion and to God. She should use those inclinations to identify a member of the clergy who can be supportive to her and who can help optimize those parts of her character that are not destructive.
3) Serve Her Father George Anthony with a $50 Million Civil Suit for Sexual Assault
Ms. Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, alleged (with his client’s permission, of course) that Ms. Anthony was sexually assaulted from a young age by her father (and, somewhat later, by her brother). Since these memories have presumably—according to Ms. Anthony—revisited her only relatively recently, the statute of limitations on these alleged crimes has not necessarily expired. If she believes what Attorney Baez claimed in court, she should seek damages from her father and, possibly, from her mother (for not protecting her from the abuse).
4) Get Security
Despite a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all charges related to violence being returned by the jury in this case (in 10-and-a-half hours), many people in the United States—who apparently think our courts are not to be trusted, and our system of justice should not be honored—believe Ms. Anthony should be killed.
5) Go on the Pill
Ms. Anthony will be tempted to replace her deceased daughter with another child. She has expressed that desire, repeatedly. She should rein in that inclination, allowing her to focus instead on the very daunting task of rebuilding her own psyche.
I have followed this case for the past three years. As a forensic psychiatrist who has interviewed murderers, sexual offenders and organized crime figures around the country (to name some of those whose minds I have explored), here is the single thing I wish Casey Anthony would do: Find a quiet place. Make sure you are alone--completely. Sit down without a single distraction, preferably in a relatively barren room. And think back, maybe even for hours, to the first moment in your life you can remember wishing you were somewhere else, maybe even imagining it, dreaming about it, or praying for it. Because that is the first moment when you began to lose your capacity to feel your own pain and that of others. And that could save you and maybe allow you to live more on the side of life than death.
Keith Ablow, M.D. is a member of the Fox News Medical A Team and a New York Times bestselling true crime author. He is currently at work on "Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony," the first book to be announced about the case, which will be published by St. Martin’s Press during 2011. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.