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Therapeutic Justice for Lindsay Lohan

Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel is doing for Lindsay Lohan a little of “what the doctor ordered.” The judge’s ruling that Lohan spend 90 days in jail is one step toward helping her understand that driving under the influence and then blowing off court-ordered alcohol education classes is reprehensible. It is a sign—albeit a rare one—that not everyone, everywhere, at every moment in Lohan’s life will bow to her rare beauty and talent and celebrity. Now, one person, at least, on one occasion, has held Lohan to an objective standard of character and behavior and found her lacking.

An outside judgment, even from the bench, doesn’t necessarily translate into insight for an addict, but it has that chance. It at least provides Lohan with further evidence that her decisions and actions place her outside the norm and are dangerous enough to warrant being locked up behind bars.

The producers waiting for Lohan to act in their movies won’t tell her how far she has fallen. The manufacturers of her new clothing line won’t. But with clarity and honesty and justice and no hatred, Judge Revel did.

It may be in jail, believe or not, that Lindsay Lohan has the peace and quiet to reflect on her existence. Her tears in the courtroom struck me as genuine and almost childlike. She appeared to be shocked that anyone was holding her to account. Maybe with cinderblock walls to shut out the paparazzi and a concrete floor to ground her, she can spend the time necessary to think about why she has wanted to walk through life anesthetized and why she has used her fame to avoid taking personal responsibility for her well-being and that of others. Maybe this is a bit of the “bottom” at which she can get to the bottom of why her creative gifts seem to be linked with an impulse toward self-destruction. Maybe she can wonder, in quiet moments during dark nights alone, whether she was ever purely loved enough to love herself.

It is often the case in society that the judicial system and the penal system and the mental health care system could work in concert to reduce the potential for criminals to ruin their own lives or those of others. But it is rare when the systems actually do work that way. In this case, there is a real chance it can happen. Here, the threat of incarceration has been made real and that can really impact whether Lohan decides to again drink and drive, whether to face her pain or run from it.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for Fox News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His book, “Living the Truth: Transform Your Life Through the Power of Insight and Honesty” has launched a new self-help movement including www.livingthetruth.com. Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com.