The Point of View Gun

Posted on September 13, 2012


On the list of the funniest things I have ever read are the books in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.  I am enough of a devotee that my daughter bought me a framed poster with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in “large friendly letters.”  (If you have read the books at all, that makes perfect sense.)  The poster hangs in my den at home.  I would have it at the office for its therapeutic value, but I have three offices and I share them with other therapists.  But I digress.

In the movie version of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide…,” the main characters (Zaphod, Ford, Trillian, and Arthur) are sent to retrieve a very unique item, The Point of View gun.  This is a gun that when fired at someone “immediately makes them see things from your point of view.”  Because I do couples therapy, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities if couples were issued one of these upon saying their marital vows.   I sometimes hear from a partner (usually the husband) that during a fight his partner will keep going over the same information.  “Once we have both said everything we need to say, why are we still arguing and still repeating.”  My supposition would be that your partner did not feel that you understood her point of view (i.e. her emotional experience, why this was important).  So imagine the potential with the point of view gun.  Any time your mate didn’t get why something was important to you, you could just pull out your POVG.  Zap.  Instant understanding.  Understanding beyond words.  Imagine how healing it could be to have someone who perfectly understands your experience.  “You’re not trying to be angry and critical; you are feeling sad and lonely.  You aren’t trying to drive me away; you want me to come close.  You’re not trying to attack; you want comfort.”  The husband gets one too.  Zap.  “You feel like you are walking on eggshells.  You want things to be good between us, but you feel like I am always mad at you.  It is painful to feel like I am disappointed in you.  You get so afraid that you will never be able to get it right with me.  You don’t mean to run away from me, but you are trying to do it to protect the relationship when things get heated between us.”

If I had one of those in session, it could be the perfect tool for understanding the client’s perspective.  As I have observed in previous posts, human beings are emotional but not irrational.  Imagine the therapeutic benefit of immediately and perfectly understanding a client’s point of view.  I picture an excerpt from a first session.

Therapist: As we begin, I want to be able to understand the problem that brought you in today.  To do that I want you to take this and shoot me with it.

Client:  You want me to do what?

Therapist: Take this and shoot me with it.

Client:  What is it?

Therapist:  It’s a point of view gun.  It immediately enables someone to see things from your point of view.

Client: Is it safe?

Therapist:  Well, it won’t physically hurt me, but I will understand your pain.

Client: And you’re sure you want me to shoot you with it?

Therapist:  Oh, yes.  It will be quite helpful.

Client: If you’re sure…here goes.

Client shoots therapist with point of view gun.

Therapist: You’ve been really sad because of the conflict with your husband.  You try to express that sadness and he hears it as criticism and defends himself.  Then you get angry and he leaves the room.  You get so afraid that you will never be close again that it feels overwhelming.  And the more you try to get close the more isolated and lonely it feels.

Both start to cry.

Client:  Can I borrow this and take it home?

Therapist: I have another client after this so I need to keep this one, but you can order one from Amazon (or maybe Ronco).

Okay.  So maybe we need to work out how best to use the POV gun in therapy, but you get the point.  Marriage could be revolutionized.  The practice of therapy could all but be replaced by POVG rentals.

Just for entertainment value.  Here’s an excerpt from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy script.  It ends with one of my favorite lines from the film.

TRILLIAN:  A gun that makes people suddenly see things from your point of view.  Useful tool for the deranged evangelist trying to convert the masses, eh?

She starts walking.

TRILLIAN (CONT’D): We should get back. Arthur’s waiting.

ZAPHOD: Who cares?

TRILLIAN (spinning on him; pointed): I do — especially since we’re both somewhat of an endangered species now.

ZAPHOD: Why so edgy?

She can’t believe he’s asking this. She aims the gun,


ZAPHOD (CONT’D):  Of course you’re edgy, your planet’s been blown up and you’ve been tooling around the Galaxy with the guy who signed the order.

CLICK. She shoots him again.

ZAPHOD (CONT’D): You actually wanted to know the Question because you always thought there was more to life, and now you’re crushed because you find out there really isn’t.

She’s getting angrier and more hurt. CLICK.

ZAPHOD (CONT’D): You’ve got no home, no family, no one to be with — and you’re stuck with me, another in a long line of men who doesn’t appreciate you because he’s too busy appreciating himself.

Hearing this puts a lump in her throat, causes her eyes to well with tears. She lowers the gun.

Zaphod shakes his head — the effect wearing off. But he realizes what he said and doesn’t like it.

ZAPHOD (CONT’D): Give me that thing. He grabs the gun, points it at her.

TRILLIAN: Won’t affect me. I’m already a woman.

“I work with individuals, couples, and families to help develop secure connections
and craft manageable solutions.”

More information is available on my website  I am also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats

Scott Wood is a registered marriage and family therapist intern (IMF67385) and is supervised by Dr. Melinda Reinicke, Psychologist (Psy11011).