Depressed, suicidal, complaining of strange pains and loss of time, "Karen" is referred to psychiatrist Richard Baer. During her treatment Baer determines that Karen has multiple personality disorder (MPD). Lloyd James's narration is mesmerizing. His narration never crosses the line into prurience. He states details matter-of-factly, including horrific tales of exploitation, cruelty, violence, torture, and ritual sexual abuse in Satanic cults. After years of therapy sessions and hypnosis, 17 separate personalities emerge. This perspective is unique because it is told from the point of view of the therapist. James's sensitive narration allows listeners to share Baer's initial skepticism, his eventual acceptance, and his thought processes as he tries to help. Fascinating listening.
In 1989, Karen Overhill walked into the office of psychiatrist Richard Baer complaining of depression. She poured out a litany of complaints, but in the disengaged way of someone who has experienced a terrible trauma. Slowly, Baer began to peel back the layers, eventually learning that Karen had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse. As time passed, though, his patient worsened and began to talk continually of suicide. Details of her abuse accumulated until he saw, via hypnosis, the true dimension of what Karen had suffered.
Baer was at a loss to explain Karen's sanity, precarious though it was, until he received a letter from a little girl, Claire. One by one, Karen's "alters" began showing themselves: men, women, young boys, a toddler, black, white, vicious, nurturing, prim, licentious. And their "stepping out" confronted Baer with the challenge of a lifetime. Somehow, to save Karen, he would have to gain the trust of her alters in order to destroy them.
©2007 Richard Baer, M.D.; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"An important and insightful look into the world of a multiple." (Cameron West, author of First Person Plural)
"Vivid...loaded with fascinating details... richly rewarding." (Colin Ross, author of Multiple Personality Order and The Osiris Complex)
Switching Time is a mesmerizing story and I could hardly turn it off!! Dr. Baer did a wonderful job giving enough detail of why someone would develop 17 personalities without making the story about the abuse. It is a wonderful story of survival and recovery that I highly recommend.
This book was amazing. Although, yikes the descriptions of her childhood are very graphic and very disturbing. However, here's a note, most of the really graphic stuff occurs in Chapter 3, I belive, titled "childhood horrors" or something. You can easily skip that chapter and still know what she went through without as much detail through descriptions at other times. I thought I was pretty thick skinned growing up in the horror movie and action flick era that we're in now, but I couldn't take that chapter. It made me ill. The rest of the book though, Fabulous. So interesting and informative about the life of someone with MPD. I was addicted to this book. Listening at every chance I got.
Very interesting listen. I normally listed to comtemporary fiction, but am glad I downloaded this audiobook.
Beware: some of the content is tough to stomach (physical, verbal, mental, and sexual child abuse).
I thought this audiobook was simply horrible on every level. I've listened to dozens of audiobooks over the years, and I can honestly tell you that this is the first one I just couldn't bear finishing. I thought "Sybil" (both the book and the movie) was compelling, interesting, fascinating, saddening, and horrifying (as well as believable). But I can't believe I wasted a credit on this completely ridiculous piece of nonsense. By "non-sense" I mean: it doesn't make sense. Are we supposed to believe that just about every single adult in the MPD woman's childhood sexually abused her, including devil-worshiping neighbors, father, grandfather, uncle, etc.? I mean, I'm assuming this is supposed to be factual, right? The MD who wrote the book is the same MD narrating the series of events in the book, correct? There are parts in this book that are just laughably unbelievable -- like the Christmas card all 17 personalities signed for the doctor, each with his or her own little message (boy, that must have been one of those novelty over-sized holiday cards!). I can't even begin to debate how far-fetched and transparently false the events in this book must be. Even now I am spending too much time thinking about this James Frey-worthy monstrosity while I write this review. I just want to erase it from my mind as quickly as possible.
Very good acting of the different personalities. Very well written, but not enough details. Mesmerizing.
I understand that dissociative identity disorder is a very controversial diagnosis. I recently had someone in my social circle claim they have been diagnoses with it. I have a degree in psychology, and have read many, many books on neurology, brain disorders and mental illness. I wanted to learn more about DID and the people who suffer from it. I went into this book wanting to see the personal story of someone in the hopes that it would give me insight into the identification and diagnosis of DID.
I've also spent a lot of time reading personal biographies and case studies from psychologists dealing with a wide range of interesting brain disorders and mental illnesses. There are consistencies among all of them that make them very believable. I've also spent a lot of time looking at the Satanic Panic and evidence of a vast conspiracy of satanic ritual abuse. There's a complete lack of evidence to back up any of the claims put forth by people that organized Satanism, as a perversion presented by 'godly' people, even exists.
This book was not the book to encourage my research. As soon as we started getting to the parts about satanic ritual abuse, I shut down. I have no doubt that Karen experienced significant childhood abuse, much of it probably sexual and physical. I am sure that no matter what, this woman has been severely damaged by her past, and needs help in recovering from her experiences. I do doubt that there was a conspiracy amongst the church priest, head of police, and her father (the town undertaker), amongst other prominent members of the community, to ritually abuse via satanism, this little girl.
Beyond that, even if Karen is heavily fantasy prone, and conflated much of the pop culture multiple personality disorder and satanic cult nonsense of the 80s with her own memory, the accounts of her absorbing the other personalities just seems soooo...not how the brain works in dealing with dissociation. This reads as bad fiction based on a true story in the same way the Amityville Horror reads.
If you are interested in learning more about DID, this is not the book to start with. I couldn't even finish it. I feel horrible for the things that Karen probably went through as a child, but this book is entirely exploitative sensationalism.
I have to agree, this book is a bit like watching a train wreck, ghastly and riveting all at the same time.
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