Don't be put off by the lurid title, the occasionally sensationalistic material, or Myers's clunky prose. Behind them is an often fascinating group of firsthand case studies of ``countertransference''—the problems that develop when a therapist allows his or her own hang-ups (and unconscious agendas) to interfere with a patient's treatment. Myers, who supervises psychiatrists and other therapists at leading New York hospitals, offers nine accounts of misguided shrinks whom he counseled—plus an affecting story of his own personal triumph over countertransference. Two of the cases are too melodramatic to yield serious insight: the young psychiatrist, himself sexually confused, who encouraged a male patient to have a sex-change operation, then moved in with him/her; a middle-aged female doctor who treated a young woman without revealing her own long-ago affair with the patient's father. But the others are convincingly detailed and clearly told: Gabriel, whose unconscious fantasy of rescuing his mother (a concentration-camp survivor) was projected onto a female patient. Stan, whose own sexual inhibitions prevented him from responding appropriately to a patient's promiscuity. Black therapist Joyce, whose feelings about white families (and her own past) interfered with her treatment of a young white woman trying to become independent of a coddling family. (Myers has made interracial therapy something of a specialty.) Plus: sadistic Edie, trouble-maker Henry, greedy and corrupt Leonard, vengeful Alicia—and Myers himself, who succeeded in treating an older man's impotence only after realizing that he was unconsciously using the patient as a father-substitute. Uneven, then, but generally solid, shrewd, short on jargon, and long on common sense—with a powerful message: all therapists, even drug-dispensing psychiatrists, need to have as much therapy as possible before practicing on the rest of us.
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