Father James Cannon has helped a Durham couple resolve their son’s behavioural problems centred on a troubling relationship with an imaginary friend.
‘At first we thought there was no harm in it’ says Maria Doyle. ‘Michael would set an extra place at the table and would say it was for ‘Dougal’, then we started finding rude words written on the walls and broken toys in his bedroom but each time we confronted him he just said “Dougal did it”.’
The 53-year old parish priest told Michael that he was too old for imaginary friends and if he needed help he could always talk to God. ‘He seemed impressed that I had a conversation with the Lord every day of my life like a normal person.
‘Michael doesn’t talk about Dougal anymore,’ said Maria. ‘Now he’s just riddled by guilt and paranoia with potential for borderline personality disorder in later life, so that’s all fine’.