A Conversation with Joe Nocera on 'The Shrink Next Door'


On this episode of ZUCKER, ‘The Shrink Next Door’ host Joe Nocera joins Andrew Zucker to talk about how he first met Marty Markowitz, the reporting process, and the latest updates in the case.

On how Ike Herschkopf began to exert control over Marty Markowitz: Marty would later describe the experience as like being in a cult. And I think that’s kind of right in a way. So what Ike did was Marty came to him thirty years earlier in a state of extreme vulnerability for a variety of reasons. But the most important one of which was his father had died, he’d been put in charge of the company, he wound up in a lawsuit with his own uncle who thought he should be in charge of the company, and then, you know, he’s a very passive guy. He’s not aggressive at all. So customers kind of sensed weakness, and they were trying to bully him into giving him lower prices and so on and so on. And so he goes to Ike and instead of saying, ‘Let’s talk about your problems here in the therapy room,’ Ike says, ‘I’ll take care of you. I’ll take care of this.’

On Ike Herschkopf’s defense: First of all, the relationship didn’t end until 2010. So even if he had been right about what was true in 1980, it certainly wasn’t true in 2010. That’s number one. Number two, many of the things he did were transparently wrong even in 1980. Like starting a foundation with a patient — who does that? And then the patient put most of the money in and the doctor takes most of the money out.

On why listeners love ‘The Shrink Next Door’: I think there are a couple of reasons. One reason, which has nothing to do with psychiatry or Marty or Ike or anything, is that it’s a compelling story in the true crime category where nobody gets murdered. And you’d be surprsied at how many commments said, ‘I’m so relieved to have a story about something that really happened that’s not a grisly murder.’