Become a fly on the wall of a psychologist's and her patients' inner sanctum and end up learning about yourself! Did you ever wonder what goes on in a psychologist's office? How does she keep secrets? Is she ever bored, unsure, afraid, angry, or impatient? Does she confuse one person's story with another or get too emotionally involved? What does she actually do to facilitate change besides saying, What do you mean by that?
Conversations with Perfect Strangers: Memoirs of a Psychologist is a fictionalized journey through one psychologist's practice and into the hearts and minds of the "perfect" strangers who, by sharing their secrets, enrich and inform her life. This audiobook is for those who wonder what their therapists are really thinking, for healthcare professionals, and for anyone interested in the troubled side of human nature or who desire a unique opportunity for personal growth. Due to confidentiality considerations, Phyliss Shanken intertwined her skills as psychologist and fiction writer: The patients are imaginary characters, but her own reactions are true to her personal and professional experience.
©2013 Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC. (P)2013 Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC.
I wasn't sure how to rate the performance, because it isn't a flawless, highly professional reading. But it really works! Ms. Shanken sets out to do exactly as she says...to create an atmosphere as if she and the reader are sitting together in a room, with Ms. Shanken sharing her experiences and thought/feeling process in approaching her work and the people with whom she works. Once she laid out the "characters," it was fun to see them woven back into her memoir, providing perhaps, even greater insight into the inner workings of Ms. Shanken than her patients. I really felt like I knew her by the end, and appreciated her sincerity, integrity and love that seem to be the foundation of her work. Thanks for the opportunity to get a glimpse into the mysteries of talk therapy, and the chance to feel like I had a private audience with the author!
I abandoned this book roughly 2/3 of the way through. For one thing, I wasn't thrilled with the author's reading her own book; she's awkward when starting a scene, catches traction, and then with the next patient it's like she's reading from a script again. As far as the content goes, she rotates continuously through many (largely fictitious) cases, my inability to keep the (characters) straight finally made me decide to stop listening. She also seems to me to have trouble drawing boundaries at times.
I do want to bring up one point that may be a "spoiler" (if a nonfiction book can have those), as it truly bothered me. There's a session with a couple where the wife passes out, the husband asserts "Oh she always does that!" and the two carry on talking; Shanken even remarks how much she learned before the wife eventually came around, as the woman was prone to monopolizing. I'm assuming this was completely made up, but it says a lot about the author that we're expected to buy into the idea that she thinks leaving a patient passed out is fine ... just wait it out. If it were a single patient, would she simply do paperwork instead of calling for help?
That having been said, perhaps the print version might work better, if you're truly interested. Not particularly recommended.
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