#SundayScaries: ‘The Shrink Next Door’ is a real-life horror story of power and manipulation under the guise of therapy
We’re kicking off our #SundayScaries series with weekly true crime podcast recommendations for y’all every Sunday. While the #SundayScaries refer to any trepidation felt in the weekend’s fleeting moments, perhaps throw on a podcast for some distracting true crime stories. This week’s feature is a horrific tale of power abuse, control, and manipulation for fans of “Dr. Death” and “Was I In a Cult.“
Host and journalist Joe Nocera lived with his family in Southhampton, New York, a stone’s throw away from NYC. At the time, Joe worked for The New York Times and learned his neighbor was Ike Herschkopf, a therapist who claimed to work with a high-profile clientele. Ike hosted lavish summer parties, some of which Joe attended. When Ike disappeared from his neighborhood, Joe sought to uncover the truth and untangled the mess he left in his wake.
In Wondery’s “The Shrink Next Door,” Joe investigates the disturbing stories behind Ike’s practice, and what happened when patients thought they were seeking professional help for their problems. But their interactions with Ike created more problems and ensnared patients, as listeners will hear in this series. Since the podcast aired in 2019, more of Ike’s patients have come forward with similar stories.
In the first episode, listeners met one of Ike’s patients, Marty Markowitz, who felt overwhelmed in his late 30s and sought therapy. He appeared throughout the series to tell the story firsthand. After his father’s death, he inherited his family’s business and reached out to Ike. Marty had also recently lost his mother and his fiancée broke up with him, so his stress levels were through the roof.
Over years of thrice-weekly sessions, Marty told Ike everything. Hear the hair-raising tale of manipulation, where Ike hijacked Marty’s life and dictated his every move. During his involvement with Ike, Marty cut off his family, friends, and was instructed to re-write his will, among other alarming details. Marty was strong-armed into creating a “foundation” that actually lined Ike’s pockets. Marty said he was forced to do personal work for Marty and more, likening his experience to a cult.
Episodes explore who else attended Ike’s summer parties, including Ike’s patients, and Ike can be heard on episodes when Bloomberg was first investigating this story.
We learn that it took Marty over 30 years to completely cut ties with Ike and report him to the New York Department of Health. The last few episodes unpack the case’s details, the decision made, and where Ike is now.
Currently, Joe is a Bloomberg opinion journalist, among other projects. Apple TV+ adapted this storyline into a series starring Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, Kathryn Hahn, and more. The podcast’s eleventh episode interviews Paul and Will on what it was like to play Ike and Marty on screen.
All episodes of “The Shrink Next Door” podcast are streaming now, wherever you listen to your podcasts.