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In The Sixth Sense, several months(?) after an "incident", child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) takes up a new case: 8-year old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment).

Sixth Sense [Source]

But how did Crowe learn of Cole's issues? Given the "state" Crowe is in, it seems unlikely that it was Cole's mother who reached out for his help and hired him.

Who hired Malcolm Crowe to look after Cole Sear?

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No one hired Malcolm it's just a huge plothole. It took him the entire film to notice that he was dead. No one other than Cole could see or communicate with him. Is his life really that empty. Did he never realise that he never needed to use the toilet or have any other urges? The biggest part of the plothole is that he and every other dead person never saw their own dead body. He never even woke up and wondered why he is in a coffin with his long lost 'twin'. I used to love that film... –  user5685 Aug 6 '13 at 5:52
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This seems overly harsh. When you're dreaming, do you realize it at the time? Do you notice that your dream has no beginning or history? Do you notice things that seem out of place? It doesn't seem unreasonable to suppose that Crowe's dead state is similar, but even more so. –  Kyralessa Aug 7 '13 at 3:31

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No one hired Malcolm Crowe to look after Cole. Over the course of the movie it is established that Cole can see dead people and that reason the dead haven't moved on is because they have something they still need to see accomplished on earth (for example, the little girl who's mother had poisoned her wanted her father to know the truth).

In all the pictures of Cole there is always a white streak around his head to signify that dead people that were always around him. Though it is never specifically spelled out, it is suggested that both Cole and Vincent (the patient that shot Malcolm) are inundated with the spirits of the dead. I don't think the dead even understand that they are drawn to the people with this gift, it just happens - like steel to a magnet.

Thus, Malcolm was drawn to Cole (instinctively) and as he (Malcolm) did not realize he was dead, he automatically fell into the roles and rites of his job - thus assuming that he was there to help Cole as a therapist. What was really happening though is that he was dead and had not moved on because of his guilt about not helping Vincent etc.

If you watch carefully, after Malcolm is shot nobody speaks to him other than Cole for the rest of the movie.

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I think the OP was more asking how Malcolm came to end up being at Cole's place. There are millions of places he could have gone just as easily. He did not know Cole, how did he end up stumbling onto someone who was able to see and interact with him? –  Stefan Aug 29 '12 at 8:51
    
In all the pictures of Cole there is always a white streak around his head to signify that dead people that were always around him. I think that that the dead were drawn to him (like a moth to the light) since he could communicate/see them. I think that Malcolm was drawn to Cole (instinctively) and as he (Malcolm) did not realize he was dead, he automatically fell into the roles and rites of his job - thus assuming that he was there to help Cole as a therapist. –  djmadscribbler Aug 29 '12 at 17:45
    
The idea of a subconscious draw is the only one that makes sense to me too, although it is never mentioned in the film that I can remember. Malcolm would then rationalise it as the dead 'only see what they want to see' –  Stefan Aug 29 '12 at 17:58
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Looking at some quotes from the movie it does seem possible that Malcolm's sense of reality is "distorted". It would explain how he doesn't notice that no one talks to him, or even acknowledges him. So in his distorted reality it might be possible that he believes Cole's mother has hired him. (I don't think he would treat a child without parental consent) –  Oliver_C Aug 30 '12 at 20:55
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Remember that the dea only see what they want to see and, presumably, generate memories they want to generate. If asked Malcolm would probably remember whatever he needed to remember to make his story make sense. At one point he is on the bus with Cole - did he remember paying the driver? The interesting part of the question is how did he find out about Cole in the first place? Did he simply appear next to him? Did he roam around until he saw him? –  Stefan Aug 31 '12 at 12:40

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