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Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities | [Richard Baer]

Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities

Switching Time is the first story centering on multiple personality disorder to be told by the treating physician. It is the incredible saga of a young woman stranded in unimaginable darkness who, in order to survive, created 17 different versions of herself. 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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

Switching Time is the first story centering on multiple personality disorder to be told by the treating physician. It is the incredible saga of a young woman stranded in unimaginable darkness who, in order to survive, created 17 different versions of herself.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (334 )
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4.2 (170 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Hudson, WI, United States 05-27-09
    Jennifer Hudson, WI, United States 05-27-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Facinating!!!!"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine New Mexico, United States 06-15-12
    Catherine New Mexico, United States 06-15-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Harsh and Disturbing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I'll not slam the author or the character in the story. However, I found the book too harsh and disturbing. I believe there is a way to tell the stories of those with DID without going into such graphic details about the abuse.

    Also, at times, I noticed inconsistencies in the doctor's therapy notes and a few things I found difficult to believe from the character. Again, that is my personal opinion and I developed that opinion from my own experiences.

    I do not recommend this book to anyone who is interested in truly learning about DID.

    I also strongly do not recommend anyone with DID listen to this book.



    What was most disappointing about Richard Baer’s story?

    The graphic nature in describing the abuse of the character


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-28-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-28-12 Member Since 2007

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "jaw droppingly amazing!!"

    AN ASTOUNDING true story that blew my mind!! If you have any interest in how the mind works this is a must read. This incredible story which was written by her doctor remains at the top of my list of 350 books in my coveted favorites category. This book shows the unbelievable capabilities of our minds, which is far beyond our wildest imaginings.If there ever was a must read- this is it. This is a sleeper blockbuster if there ever was one!!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tricia Elkridge, MD, United States 08-30-11
    Tricia Elkridge, MD, United States 08-30-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Fascinating listen!"

    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).

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shellie LACLEDE, MO, United States 10-19-14
    Shellie LACLEDE, MO, United States 10-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "eye - openingly genuine"
    Any additional comments?

    I purchased this book because it was on sale and the subject intrigued me. I was astonished by the brutality perpetuated on a child and in her coping mechanisms. This book has opened my eyes to child abuse in a way i never before imagined. Anyone who may have struggled with child abuse or would wish for it to never exist would benefit from this title. A STRONG recommendation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 01-13-14
    PERSONAL IRVINE, CA, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Harrowing and life affirming"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Switching Time to be better than the print version?

    I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I don't have much "down time" when I can do nothing but read. I found that I really missed reading and audio books have given that back to me. Lloyd James did a magnificent job! An incredible performance!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The encouragement of overcoming such devastation.
    This book is not for the faint of heart. A harrowing tale of a woman and her recovery from years of ritual sadistic abuse. I admit that as the understanding of her multiple personalities and the gravity of what she had endured, I thought to myself perhaps suicide was the answer for her. I was so wrong! Her journey to wholeness is such a beautiful and courageous experience. I'm so glad I didn't give up -- and that she didn't give up! I'm so touched by this book and encouraged to not give up on the issues in my own life.
    Thank you!


    Have you listened to any of Lloyd James’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will look for him in future purchases. He now feels like a friend.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This would be a great movie, but very intense. It would be important not to glorify the evil and give enough time to the recovery. It will be an artists job to find balance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-09-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Statanist that goes Multiple!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, but it isn't a bad book, just more of the same. I loved the Sybil book but I understand that book has been discredited somewhat.


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    Very easy to follow. Discovers missing time, thinks multiple and voila! she has 17 plus personalities. It's almost a formula.


    What three words best describe Lloyd James’s performance?

    Average, adequate and bland.


    Did Switching Time inspire you to do anything?

    Not get another of these kind of books...


    Any additional comments?

    I am very skeptical about Satanist cults and their tie in to multiple personality disorder. Has anyone ever been caught and tried for being in one of these cults?
    I have no doubt that children are abused every day, but from the stories in this book, why weren't there several children that had MPD in that area?
    Very hard to believe the entire premise.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yolanda S. Bean Chicago, IL 12-03-13
    Yolanda S. Bean Chicago, IL 12-03-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Not Really Sure What To Make Of This..."

    Since first reading Mary Higgins Clark’s All Around The Town, I have been fascinated by Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and have followed its transformation (through fiction) to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This audiobook marks my first audio experience with the topic, as well as my first non-fiction one... Well, other than Sybil, but since that has been revealed to be a hoax, I suppose that counts amongst the fiction now. But after finishing this listen, I must admit that I am not quite certain where to shelve it either...

    Chicagoan Karen Overhill’s story is certainly a grim one - abused by every single male in her life. From her father, grandfather, priest, local undertaker, police officer and work buddies of other family members, she undergoes a terrible childhood. With even just one of these abusers, it would be no surprise that her psyche crumbles. And with the variety of torment, it frankly seems a miracle that Karen has coped at all to function as an adult in any way. But, her survival lays at her own feet - within which seventeen different personalities can use.

    The details of her abuse are relayed here in nauseating detail. Even more frightening is not only the fact that every single male she encounters took part of this horrific abuse, but also at the knowledge and non-intervention of many of her female relatives as well. Even more alarming is the way Baer himself does not seek any sort of legal intervention when he witnesses the after-effects of abuse in Karen’s troubled marriage. His entire relationship with Karen has hints that it is not entirely above-board, with little details like her nonpayment for treatment, and later when the appointments take place within his home. He also allows Karen to romanticize her own death at length, which adds to the darkness of the tone.

    But the deeper into the story, the more unrealistic it seems. It somehow manages to drag on as each individual personality undergoes their own ceremony of transmutation and furthermore. It feels almost routine. And when after viewing the movie Primal Fear, Karen suddenly recounts her own experience with a priest - directly similar to the film. And with these hints about Baer’s own life, it seems like readers are missing the whole story - perhaps the graphic details of the abuse blindside many readers to consider this as anything other than true, but unfortunately this book has stretched my limits of credulity. It simply doesn’t seem plausible that one person underwent this much abuse, but still grows up to be married with two children and displays “textbook” DID...

    As for the narrator, the female voices blur together but otherwise, it is a fine performance.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 09-05-13
    Sarah 09-05-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting listen"
    Would you listen to Switching Time again? Why?

    I probably will listen to this book again. I think that there is a lot that could be missed in the first listen that I will probably try to catch next time around.


    What does Lloyd James bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator was amazing. He switch voices seamlessly and really made each of the personalities really come to life. You can really tell a difference and feel the emotions of each one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole story was very moving. It is a very sad story and does speak a lot about child abuse and sexual abuse in a very extreme manner. If you don't have the stomach for that kind of thing then do not listen to this book. If you are interested in psychology or the coping mechanisms of people who deal with extreme abuse then this is a very good book for you. I felt so sad for Karen throughout the whole story and honestly can't bear to think too hard about the fact that this is supposed to be a true story. It is just too sad that this kind of thing happens in the world.


    Any additional comments?

    It is amazing to me the pain that some people can live through. I just want to emphasize again that this book is not for those who have a weak stomach but it is very encouraging to hear about someone who lived and moved past such a hard life. This book was so interesting to me that I could not stop listening. I think I finished it in 3 days which is pretty good for a 15 hour book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 08-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    6
    4
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    "interesting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Switching Time to be better than the print version?

    With subject matter such as this it is helpful to cover it in audio to grasp the characters especially with a larger number.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I found it realistic to know what the professional was thinking and feeling about his patient
    as their therspitic relationship developed.


    Have you listened to any of Lloyd James’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I have.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I enjoyed it a bit everyday.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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