After thirty-five years in practice, prominent New York psychotherapist and author Robert Akeret found himself in the thrall of a single question: Did therapy make a real difference in his patients' lives? So on a sunny morning in April Dr. Akeret got into his van and set off to visit his most memorable former patients - a journey "in search of story endings." And what remarkable stories they are:. Naomi, an abused young Jewish girl from the Bronx who transforms herself into a Spanish flamenco dancer named ...
After thirty-five years in practice, prominent New York psychotherapist and author Robert Akeret found himself in the thrall of a single question: Did therapy make a real difference in his patients' lives? So on a sunny morning in April Dr. Akeret got into his van and set off to visit his most memorable former patients - a journey "in search of story endings." And what remarkable stories they are:. Naomi, an abused young Jewish girl from the Bronx who transforms herself into a Spanish flamenco dancer named Isabella. Was this a symptom of multiple personality disorder? Or was Naomi's "new self" a lifesaving personality adaptation? "Who" was she now, in her mid-fifties? What about Charles, the animal trainer who fell madly in love with a circus polar bear? Had he been able to resist his fatal psychosexual attraction? What became of Seth, a man obsessed with sadomasochistic fantasies yet drawn to the love-in culture of the sixties? Which side of him had won? What of Sasha, the dashing prize-winning French novelist with writer's block and a penchant for exploiting women? In the end did his art prevail, or his life? And what became of Mary? Did she ever "murder" again? Like a brilliant psychological detective novel, this book tells these stories in fascinating detail while raising fundamental questions about psychotherapy. Does it work? Does it last? Are these questions even answerable? Returning home with his "story endings," Dr. Akeret finds that his journey has reshaped his ideas of what it means to have a rich and satisfying life.
True stories of former patients of the author and their current lives as a result of therapy.
Uncertain whether psychotherapy brings fundamental, long-lasting change, New York City psychoanalyst Akeret recently tracked down five patients whom he had treated 20-35 years earlier. One of them, Naomi Goldberg, a self-hating Bronx college student abused and rejected by her parents in the late 1950s, had, during therapy, adopted the persona of a Spanish flamenco dancer, calling herself Isabella Cortez. Another patient, Seth Waterson, had been a newly married, impotent young filmmaker given to sadomasochistic fantasies, having been raised by a sexually abusive stepfather and a mother who strapped him in a constricting harness like a dog on a leash. We also meet nurse/midwife Mary McGinely, who believed she could murder people by wishing them dead; French novelist Sasha Alexandrovich, a narcissist with writer's block; and circus performer Charles Embree, who had a psychosexual obsession with a polar bear. Although none of these people had achieved a ``perfect cure,'' three went on to lead productive, happy lives, whereas therapy had mixed results with the other two. Akeret's compulsively readable profiles are compelling existential dramas, and, with this deeply insightful book, he joins the front rank of psychotherapists who write about their practices. (June)
Akeret did something psychoanalysts aren't supposed to do-he went back years later to see whether therapy had made a difference in his patients' lives. Apparently, he had a few surprises.
A New York psychotherapist asked himself one day whether his 35 years of practice had made a real difference in people's lives. To find out, he got in his van and drove off to visit his most memorable former patients in search of the "endings" to their stories. These he tells, in a thoroughly readable way, while also raising fundamental questions about the promises and payoffs of psychotherapy and what it means to have a satisfying life. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)