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)
This book is a bit like a car wreck that you can't help straining to see as you drive by. Morbid curiosity keeps you hooked into this tale, but it's not for the faint-hearted. The details of this woman's abuse are graphic even if not everything is revealed. (To be honest, I'd hate to hear worse.) I was riveted by the story nonetheless.
I listened to this book TWICE. I was fascinated with the story, both from the point of view of the psychiatrist's thinking and from the woman's experiences in re-integrating herself. I had a hard time listening to the horrendous aspects of her childhood abuse (I turned the volume down low for those parts), but was comforted (and gratifyingly) amazed at the love and wisdom that was in the woman all along -- despite her incredibly cruel abuse -- in the guise of some of her alternate personalities. That the human brain can protect itself this way is really marvelous! It made me think about how we all have that inner wisdom inside us (how to access it is another matter). I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned from her story, and how she is just an extreme case of what all of us manifest from time to time in a lesser form. I wish that I could thank her for letting her story be told.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
I purchased this title with a bit of hesitation because I feared it might be a Sybil knock-off. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, although there are some inherent similarities of the symptoms and histories of people with multiple personality disorder, this story is truly unique and full of new insights. The mix of clinical documentary and storytelling really impressed me - just enough clinical text-book information mixed in with the story to both inform and entertain the reader. Of course, the story itself is tragic and horrifying in many ways - but I didn't find it to be over-done or terribly vulgar. If you are curious and find the subject matter intriguing, this book might be just what you're looking for.
Wow- to be brief, if you're interested in the mind, psychology, multiple personalities, depression or people in general, you will probably find this hard to put down.
Having said that, if you don't like to hear about terrible things happening to people in a truly sadistic and disgusting manner (although compared to the violence we see on the news, TV and movies in general, it's probably not that shocking), then I might consider passing.
I can't stand violence, and to hear some of the things that happened to this poor woman made me sick to imagine, but it also made me truly understand her, and perhaps some other people out there who just don't seem to be with it. The reading was excellent. And the questions the book raised about the mind, at least to me, makes me wonder much more about what our minds are capable of, in both positive and negative aspects.
Highly recommended, but beware the more empathetic- it will hurt.
I grew up with Three Faces of Eve and as a child I never really understood what multiple personality disorder meant. This book was one I could not stop listening to. The most amazing patient-doctor journey that takes this woman to the light at the end of the tunnel. The reader was so good that I actually felt I knew each personality and as Karen became more 'whole' I cried when each of the alters had to be integrated into this woman in order for her to become who she was meant to be. Amazing simply amazing a must listen. A++
I appreciate the courage & perseverance shown by patient & therapist in this book. While I understand the pitfalls in seeing a patient in your own home, I also see how Dr. Baer felt that was his best choice. While nowadays one can rent an office for an hour a week, in the 90's that was an unheard of option. As a mental health professional myself, I must say that this is the most complete and detailed account of DiD that I have read. I look forward to reading the follow up book on Karen's continued progress and life as an integrated whole.
I found this book to be fascinating. One reviewer discredits this story with the fact that to them it is unbelievable. I found the descriptions of the different personalities surprising, and the narrator did and excellent job differentiating. I could not put it down.
Karen of Northern Michigan
When I first started listening to this book, I started questioning some of the information. So much of it is hard to believe, or maybe, I just didn't want to believe people could be so horrible. But the more I listened to it, the more I was pulled in, understanding what this poor woman had been through as a child and how it affected her entire life.. The doctor who wrote this book does a very good job of explaining why Karen, the person the book is about, split apart, what she did to handle things, why she looked the way she did and how she coped with so many periods of her life unaccounted for.. It really is fascinating, and sad, all at the same time.. Such unbelievable abuse at the hands of her father, her grandfather, her mother, priest and a police man, all the people she should have turned to for trust... Fascinating what the mind is capable of doing in order to protect itself... Simply fascinating...
It's a very intense listen, very vivid descriptions of violent acts that took place in the life of the patient to bring her to the point she was. Fascinating all the same the way the human mind seeks to protect its self. It's a triumphant story for both dr and patient. Defiantly worth reading.
54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.
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!!
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