Books by Barbara Noël

YOU MUST BE DREAMING by Barbara Noël
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 11, 1992

A disturbing account of psychiatric malpractice and rape, written by the victim, who sued, won, and saw her therapist lose his license. Noâl was a young singer who first sought treatment with Chicago's eminent psychoanalyst Jules Masserman for headaches, panic attacks, and performance anxiety. She remained with him, except for brief periods with other therapists, for 18 years, becoming addicted to Sodium Amytal (a barbiturate he administered intravenously) and, in a related dependency, to alcohol. Their relationship ended when Noâl awoke early from an Amytal session and found Masserman raping her; she suspected it wasn't the first time. Here, Noâl describes her long-term treatment, unorthodox in many other details, in an easy-to-follow narrative before moving to the complex sequence of events following her charges of rape. Although she was unable to pursue those charges because there was no physical evidence to support her claims, Noâl was able successfully to challenge Masserman's medical judgment (Amytal is a discredited mode of treatment), to get more than her money back, and to see Masserman lose not just his medical license but the opportunity to practice any therapy whatsoever. Moreover, publicity about Noâl's case encouraged two other women to come forward, make claims, and collect, and ten others to call Noâl's lawyer with their own stories. Masserman was suspended from the American Psychiatric Association but, according to Noâl, organization bigwigs protected him from expulsion and from notification to the membership, a decision she clearly resents. Noâl's story is shocking and convincing, and her presentation, full of significant details, is appropriately focused. She includes subsequent therapeutic findings of childhood incest—an experience that, she says, left her vulnerable to Masserman's exploitation—and she refers to an ongoing process of adjustment. A sadly compelling addition to the growing literature on sexual abuse. Read full book review >