YEARS AGO, for the premier issue of a magazine, I was asked to write an article about how career conflicts were breaking up some rather famous marriages. Never mind that the magazine never went anywhere and never mind that most of the couples wouldn't talk to me. What matters is that I wound up interviewing a psychiatrist on the general subject of career conflicts. It was she who told me why one of my couples had spilt. Nothing to do with career conflicts, she said. It was sex, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and felt instantly sick.

Now it may change matters a bit to tell you that the psychiatrist I was talking with was not the psychiatrist who was treating the couple she had been talking about. No, a colleague of hers was the shrink in question. It was he who told her. I still got sick.

I get this way, actually, whenever someone tells me something I don't think I should know. I feel it when I watch the television program when people come out and tell experts like Soupy Sales what their sex problems are, and I get it when I'm at a dinner party and someone tells me something about themselves that I think they should keep private. It is like chalk on a blackboard - I get chills.

This, then, brings me to the story in yesterday's Washington Post in which a psychiatrist named Jack Baruch tells us more than we might want to know about a former patient of his, a retired CIA official named John A. Paisley who was either murdered or committed suicide on the Chesapeake Bay. About all you could say for sure about this bizarra case is that Paisley's body was found Oct. 1, with a bullet wound in the head. Now, thanks to Baruch, you can say a lot more.

You can say that Paisley might have felt a feeling of "loss and abandonment" because his "dear friend," a certain woman, "left to go to Cumberland." This 'could have triggered futility, hopelessness and perhaps despair," although how this jives with Paisley's "unwillingness or inability to make a commitment" is beyond me.

I am not, however, taking into consideration Paisley's "feelings of loss and abandonment" that resulted from childhood experience. His father, the loquacious shrink tells us, left Paisley and his mother when Paisley was just 2 1/2 and then his mother wnet to work as a practical nurse. I knew you wanted to know.

There is more of this sort of stuff, all of it making some of us feel a bit uneasy. It smacks of tattling about the dead - talking about those unable to talk back, the sort of thing we've been getting a heavy dose of lately.