Rebel Without a Cause – a Psychopath!

In his 1944 book, Rebel Without A Cause, Dr. Robert M. Lindner reports about his pioneering use of hypnoanalysis to study someone he believed was a psychopath. He describes the typical psychopath as one who “ … is a rebel, a religious disobeyer of prevailing codes and standards. Moreover, clinical experience with such individuals makes it appear that the psychopath is a rebel without a cause, an agitator without a slogan, a revolutionary without a program: in other words, his rebelliousness is aimed to achieve goals satisfactory to himself alone; he is incapable of exertions for the sake of others. All his efforts, hidden under no matter what guise, represent investments designed to satisfy his immediate wishes and desires.” (Rebel Without a Cause, New York, 1944, page 2).Lindner’s focus on egocentricity and the anti-social component of psychopathic personality built on the early work of psychologist Hervey Cleckley. Lindner hoped that hypnoanalysis would be a useful tool to help better understand psychopathic personality.