THE PATIENT WHO CURED HIS THERAPIST by Stanley Siegel

THE PATIENT WHO CURED HIS THERAPIST

and Other Tales of Therapy
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Revisionist forays into family therapy, by therapist Siegel and Newsday columnist Lowe. The main message in the dozen-or-so cases presented here is that the patient is always right and that the therapist (or the person urging the patient into therapy) creates resistance by hoping to impose change and by refusing to acknowledge the positive values in what seems a negative situation. Many of the cases become resolved as patients see the wisdom of their illnesses: If they wish to change, that's up to them. One woman's shoplifting lands her in weekend detention for a month and threatens much worse. Her father, it happens, is in and out of psychiatric institutions. She supports the family, has three children (one with Down's syndrome), and is burdened with boundless hardship. Siegel points out to her that only her father has found a way out of the family bind, by vacationing in asylums, and that her shoplifting, which helps to support the family, is a positive act--despite the bad spin put on it by other therapists. The author restores her by not trying to change her. In another case, a richly loving couple has not had sex in six years of marriage. Siegel reflects that this is absolutely marvelous for them and, given their family backgrounds, assures their perfect marriage, with the wife as the perfect mother the husband has never known and he as the perfect, adoring son. Sex for them would be incestuous (although they later have a child). In the title story, a patient reverses roles with his therapist, who finds out that she's as bad as he is. And in another case, an AIDS patient cannot die until he relieves his lover of guilt about not having attended his mother's funeral. Much to chew on as conventional therapy is stood on its head, though no doubt many therapists will sneer nervously at Siegel's ``dizzy'' ideas.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-93410-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1992