BOSTON, MA—Henry Valentino, the well-known state prosecutor, has sued his family therapist for ruining his career as a district attorney.
Before undergoing therapy, Valentino was known as one of the toughest DAs in the state, earning the nickname “The Hammer” for his relentless persecution and occasional courtroom beatings of accused criminals, their family and supporters.
That all changed earlier this year when, due to family tensions, Valentino agreed to couples therapy with a family therapist in Boston, whose name has been suppressed.
A “rather chuffed” Mrs. Valentino reported to friends afterward that therapy sessions had gone well. “Henry became much more understanding and less likely to fly into an unmitigated rage and punch the fridge whenever he thought I or [daughter] Bronwyn had committed a misdemeanor,” she told The Confounding Variable. “He’s a good man, you know, but crime gets to him,” she explained.
Valentino is alleged to have locked his wife in the family garage for two days with a non-parole period of 36 hours after she had forgotten to pay a utility bill on time. On a separate occasion he is said to have subjected his teenaged son Victor to 12 straight hours of The Bold and the Beautiful for turning up at a restaurant for a family dinner wearing black Converse shoes with his Canali suit.
“He’s a different man now,” says Mrs. Valentino. “He’s understanding, empathetic – he can see that mistakes happen, that we can take a philosophical approach to them, learn from them. Family therapy has transformed him into the husband and father I always hoped he would be.”
While Mr. Valentino agrees that therapy has given him empathic attunement and significantly reduced the need for punitive measures at home, he claims it has destroyed his career.
“I look at accused now and I can’t avoid feeling what they’re feeling. It’s like I’m going insane. I catch myself wanting to hug them and tell them it’s OK.
“Before I can stop myself I’m thinking, ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’ It’s a disaster, a total disaster. I have to psych myself just to intimidate the family in the corridor,” he said angrily in a brief interview, before adding, “But anyway, how was your day?”
Mr. Valentino is suing the family therapist for $30 million for reputational damage and estimated loss of income from his disabling attainment of empathy. Mr. Valentino declined to represent himself in the case, citing involuntary twangs of guilt and remorse for dragging the therapist to court who had done so much to repair his marriage and family.