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Dixie Neyer, 34-year-old housewife, mother, and student, kept a diary record of the upheavals and plateaus in her psychotherapy, begun after what used to be called a ""nervous breakdown."" The stress had been considerable: she had had a difficult labor with her fourth child, who suffered from a dangerous respiratory infection; her second marriage, to a pilot returned from Vietnam, was shaky; her father was dying of cancer; she was haunted by her brother's schizophrenia; and she was doggedly attempting to ""prove herself"" by taking college courses and trying for ""all A's"" in school and life. After a serious crack-up, she began therapy with handsome, compassionate psychiatrist Rinaldi, and most of this confession concerns Neyer's wrestling with a monumental transference. ""I'll always think he was the next best thing to God. . . whose office is the door to paradise."" The leave-taking is devastating, with all the earmarks of an adolescent love affair--waiting for letters, screwing up courage to make a phone call. Finally she reaches out to her husband; after all, ""he was there."" Neyer is a self-indulgent but occasionally intuitive writer who can articulate some basic angsts; but some may wonder about the value of, first, the use of the anti-depressant Elavil (""I floated through my life like a stoned specter""), and then the umbilical-cord therapy which, severed, offers others' love as only second-best. For those considering therapy, much to ponder, much to question.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1977
Publisher: Prentice-Hall