- This article is for Michael Kaufmann as seen in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. For his role in the original game and Silent Hill: Origins, see Michael Kaufmann.
|“|| I want you to know this will be different. We take this at your pace. No notes. No drugs. No theories. We go back to the start — understand what happened.
Dr. Michael Kaufmann, otherwise known as Dr. K, is a character from Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. He is a somewhat controversial psychoanalyst who is blunt and has a dry sense of humor.
Kaufmann's role is radically different from his incarnation in the original games, as he engages Cheryl Heather Mason in a psychiatric evaluation in an attempt to help her overcome the death of her father 18 years prior. In a way, he can be considered the main antagonist of the game, as he tries to help Cheryl accept her father's death, while she wants to remain in her fantasy.
Cheryl's identity is anonymous to begin with, leading to the false illusion that the player is controlling Harry Mason during these sessions. The purpose of these tests, aside from progressing the story, are to engage in personality shaping exercises which alter the way the game progresses. Choices made in therapy and the different exercises also affect the Psych Profile.
Dr. Kaufmann's office is located at the Toluca Lake Lighthouse. It is very neat and professional-looking, albeit with a dark atmosphere and the presence of alcohol, which the psychologist is observed drinking directly before the arrival of his client. He has a receptionist, though she is not physically seen.
Dr. K graduated from medical school in the early 70s and went straight into training as a psychoanalyst, eager to test out theories "in the wild".
After working for a New York psychoanalyst for several years, Dr. K branched out and opened his own practice. His bravado and self-perpetuated reputation for innovation saw him taken on by several high-profile clients and, at the same time, attracted some ire from the more conservative or orthodox members of his profession.
In the 80s, there were rumors of an affair with one of his patient, specifically an aspiring young actress. The minor controversies only added to the doctor's rock and roll reputation among the rich set. At one point, Kaufmann implies to Cheryl that he's divorced. It's possible that this affair may have contributed to his divorce, although this is never touched upon.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories begins with Dr. Kaufmann preparing for Cheryl. He pours himself a drink while his receptionist tells him via intercom that Cheryl has arrived. Dr. Kaufmann acknowledges that this is fine and that they can start early.
Dr. Kaufmann begins the appointment slowly and casually, displaying both sincerity and empathy for Cheryl. He speaks in simple terms and appears as if he completely agrees with the perspective of Cheryl. This, for the most, part is real; he has a genuine concern and desire to help Cheryl. His technique, mental exercises and questions are relentless, however, and the pace and his temperament drastically change, as does the course of his analysis. While he starts off warm and caring, he gradually grows more intense in his verbal discourse, edging his way into more uncomfortable topics such as sexual desires and personal growth. On occasion he seems to enjoy getting under Cheryl's skin and hearing about the bad parts, as he is seen asking Cheryl about the bad things that happened with her at high school.
Eventually, in the midst of a loud rant, he violently throws his whiskey glass against a wall, smashing it in a bout of frustration at Cheryl's unwillingness to come to terms with the death of her father. These reactions are, however, all merely attempts to get Cheryl to snap out of the false realization that her father never died, and ultimately are for her own good. The analysis may or may not be successful, depending on the player's actions in the game. If the analysis works, Cheryl will come to terms with who her father really was, and either reject him or simply treasure the real memories. If the analysis does not work, Cheryl continues to believe that her father was a hero, keeping her false memories and persisting in her denial of reality. Dr. Kaufmann does not acknowledge Harry Mason's presence when Harry enters the room at the end of the seminar, though whether or not he is aware of Harry is unknown.
- "People can choose their friends, but not their family."
- "I want you to let out your inner child and color in the picture. It's titled 'Happy Family'."
- "But if you really want to screw someone up, I say send them to high school."
- "Come on, let's talk more about the bad stuff that happened at school."
- "Everyone is going to die, even if we like to pretend otherwise. You could die tonight, in your sleep. Why doesn't that terrify you?"
- "Get to my age, you'll have seen plenty of people die. There one minute, then... gone."
- "You feel guilty about everything. When we all lived in huts and wore furs, we worried over the simple things: food, water, whether animals would come and eat us in the night. Now we have supermarkets, bottled water and .38 caliber home security. So what keeps us awake at night? More often than not, guilt. If only I had acted differently... If only I hadn't said THAT... If only I had said SOMETHING... You beat yourself up with your past. Don't blame yourself, blame the WORLD. Blame GOD. Blame ME."
- "I find the best cure for guilt, is to never get caught in the first place."
- "You think I'm being cynical? Divorce does that to you."
- "Marriage worked a lot better when we didn't live so long."
- "I'm joking. You know I'm just trying to provoke you, right?"
- "Aren't all psychiatrists supposed to be obsessed with sex?"
- "The term is 'complicated grief'. But it's simple, isn't it? A young girl... Her parents don't get along. She blames herself, as all children do. Then Daddy dies. What's a girl to do? Deny that Daddy died. Deny who Daddy was. What seven-year-old actually knows who their parents are anyway? So she obsesses and obsesses over this fantasy dad, propping up her make-believe with scraps... scraps of a happy life that never was. Scraps of a father who never existed... Wake up!"
- "Your dad wasn't a hero. Wasn't your knight in shining armor. He was a human being. You never knew him, and you never will. The dad walking around in your head isn't even a ghost. He never existed. A Frankenstein's monster, a child's fantasy... But you're alive. Your mother is alive. She's not the monster you make her out to be. You need to live your life, Cheryl..."
- "This... this is it? After all we've said, all we've discussed... You honestly believe... that your father was abducted by aliens? It made more sense when you were talking about cults and demons!" (UFO ending only)
- "See you tomorrow, James!"
- "Go on, I'm listening."
- Kaufmann's full name is never mentioned in the game, but is shown as "M. Kaufmann" on a sign at the entrance to the clinic.