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Welcome to My Country

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,142 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Lauren Slater, a brilliant writer who is a young therapist, takes us on a mesmerizing personal and professional journey in this remarkable memoir about her work with mental and emotional illness. The territory of the mind and of madness can seem a foreign, even frightening place-until you read Welcome to My Country.

Writing in a powerful and original voice, Lauren Slater cl
Paperback, 199 pages
Published July 14th 1997 by Anchor (first published January 30th 1996)
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This is a tough book for me to review.

I tend to be drawn to collections like these where psychologists recount stories of their work with various patients. I enjoyed Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy and Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy, and was anticipating something along those lines. Welcome to My Country was similar in some ways, but not the same.

In this book Lauren Slater remembers her work with both low-functioning group home patients with schizophren
Welcome to my Country is a great book that effectively shows what it means to be diagnosed with a mental illness. It is nothing to be treated lightly. To do so would be insensitive. I was quite surprised on the author's use of descriptive language.

I am so used to doctors writing being so frank and succient that Dr. Slater descriptions surprised me. The stories were all heartbreaking in their own right. I felt bad for the schizophrenic who was once a genius and, could sometimes sense, what exact
Gregory Levine
Couldn't put it down. Lauren Slater's prose is sensually, stunningly poetic. This book is charged with a joyful delight in foods and colors. At the same time, this is a tale of sadness and pain. Again, Lauren's words reveal the color and texture of terror, desperation, self-mutilation. But "Welcome to My Country" is much more than pretty words.

Dr. Lauren spins a web of self-revelation through her encounters with her psychology patients. It's spellbinding and endearing to watch her find, and rev
Oh Lauren Slater! ((face palm)) What have she done with this book? I loved Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir. I adored it. Her writing was delicious and whimsical and daring and it was a swirling dream-like experience to read. And Prozac Diary was a fascinating and well written chronicle of the early years of anti-depressants.

What happened here?

She has the same beautiful prose and yet it annoyed me. Why?! Maybe she came across as condescending about her patients. Maybe she overly romanticized the s
For those who are currently suffering from mental illness, and hope to heal and become a mental health professional, this book may inspire you.

Slater, a psychologist, used to suffer from mental illness. She implied through her story that we all have ghosts within us, even us therapists, and healing is a continual process. She was labelled as a patient that would continually be in and out of psychiatric treatment, but instead took her path of healing as a strength to help others who are deemed a
A young therapist, working with schizophrenic people, finds the standard, textbook methods do not achieve very much. So she tries something new: Find some way to reach the person inside. Not easy; most of her patients are lost in a world of vast confusion, and few -- if any -- of the people have connected with anyone for a very long time. If ever.

It was a difficult thing, but it worked, at least to a degree that made it worth doing. Connections with the patients were limited, at best, sort of li
Ellen Keim
The only reason I gave this book less than four stars is because it was too short. That may not be fair, and it doesn't mean that the book is not worth reading, but I kind of felt let down at the end. The material is so rich and the author's handling of it is well-done, it's a shame that she didn't make more of an effort to write a longer book.

Having written that, let me assure you that this book is well worth reading for many reasons, not the least of which is the author's honest revelations ab
Ray Zimmerman
An interesting account of mental illness and therapy. Her memoirs presented in this book describe six patients, with psuedonnyms and possibly composite characters in some cases. According to the introduction, the anonymity of the patients is protected.

Three of the six chapters focus on men in a residential facility, all of them schizophrenic. A main figure is portrayed in each of these, while others get brief descriptions. Their struggles and hopes are sympathetically yet professionally portraye
Elizabeth Gordon
Quick read, very well written. The author writes in a very poetic way, which can be great at times and at other times was over the top.
Jennifer Pack
i finished this book moments ago and am struggling with pinpointing my reaction. i am drawn to a book written by a psychologist with mental illness in her past. The surface scars of mental illness barely reveal the depth of the twisted pain endured. I am curious how to integrate one's personal experience with years of emotional and mental turmoil with a patient's experience. That is a question that lingers often in my mind.... Slater's book encompasses that question and she answered it in the co ...more
Well-written memoir of work in a home for schizophrenics. The author's experiences with these troubled people are fascinating and her frank and vivid prose is refreshing. The book is an excellent source of information about various mental illnesses. Until recently my hometown never saw unkempt homeless men wandering the streets muttering to themselves. Having read Slater's book, I feel like I understand these men better and can find some sympathy for their struggles.

My favorite part of the book
Slater's accounts of many of the chronically mentally ill people she's treated--both on a locked ward for schizophrenics and in a clinic. What's unique about her writing is that she reflects on what she recognizes in herself during her process of treating patients. At one point in her life, she was diagnosed as a borderline personality. She has suffered from anorexia and attempted suicide. She talks about how her experiences with pain influence her engagement with patients. She's an interesting ...more
I have to read this book for my Sociology In Deviance course, literally for a book review. We had to pick a book that was mentioned at the back of one of the chapters in our text book, and after the chapter in Mental Health, I picked this one. So far, it's intriguing, simply being let into a world of schizophrenics, what they truly see, and not what popular culture has defined it as, opens up my eyes to something I have never seen before. I see the world through their eyes, because it is in the ...more
Lauren Slater has the most beautiful, poetic prose... Her descriptions and figurative language permeated right through my pores, and for the rest of the day after reading this book, I felt nothing but mindful awareness of my connection to life around me. Her words are revitalizing in that way. She also serves not only as a poet and brilliant therapist, as evidenced by the accounts in her book, but also as an objective anthropologist and sociologist, daring to look at her own field through a crit ...more
Natalie Logue
A fantastic memoir about a psychologist and her experiences working in the dredges of the psychology world with long forgotten in-house patients, troubled out-house patients, and her own shaded past catching up with her. Lauren Slater takes the analysis of the unstable mind to the next level and really gets you to see her patients as real people, inviting you to take a look at the world through her eyes. The best aspect about this book is probably Slater's honesty in her own reactions and the co ...more
Chris Cranston
This book isn't bad, it isn't great, but it isn't bad. Allow Slater to take on journeys into the minds of her schizophrenic, or depressed, and generally abused patients. She raises excellent points about how psychiatrists should treat their patients as people instead of subjects and is a good enough story teller to keep the book interesting. A relatively quick and easy read that I recommend to those looking into psychology or psychiatry.
Alisa Wilhelm
A poetic memoir more about how the author's biases and perspective of mental health clients has changed through her practice than about the patients themselves.

Full review on Papercuttts.
Jerry Zehr
I found this book Intriguing. Lauren Slater a young therapist tells of her stuggles to relate to her patients.She begins working with a group of schizophrenics finding the traditional forms of therapy fruitless.She begins exploring some new ways of relating to her clients that bring remarkable results. This was not an easy read for me because of the honest emoitions she revealed of herself and her patients. The book did reinforce the idea that we need to continue to look for new ways of connecti ...more
Darker, but interesting, intriguing perspectives given about the mentally ill. I learned from this book and enjoyed it.
While occasionally overwrought, Slater's memoir of her experiences as a therapist is mostly beautiful and moving-- a poetic exploration of severe mental illness. Rather than a technical manual, Welcome to my Country is rather a collection of short remembrances of patients whose struggles moved Slater on a level much deeper than doctor/patient. The ,most powerful in the final, in which Slater weaves in her own experience of mental illness. This memoir, and particularly in this chapter, is an emot ...more
Slater’s stories about her work with schizophrenics and others with sever mental problems. I started the book thinking “Sacks-wanna-be,” but her endearing writing and her tender treatment of her patients won me over. She’s a psychologist who spent time in a mental institution herself – as a patient. The last chapter about her returning to the same institution to see a patient is quite moving. I was curious to see if she makes any reference to her childhood epilepsy (the subject of her other book ...more
Really beautifully written insightful therapy stories of people with severe mental illnesses, including schzopherenia, depression, and conduct disorder. I love stories by therapists who connect with their clients on a very human level breaking down the fasade of doctor/patient and seeing the continuum of pain and beauty in everyone. The writer herself had prior hospitalizations for her own mental health before becoming a psychiatrist. She shares this openly and shows how it helps her to connect ...more
Kiki Unhinged
A sincerely poignant memoir of a psychologist who writes each chapter about a different mental condition and the "characters" in the early stages of her career. Not only is she perhaps one of the most gifted writers I've read, but she gets inside the very souls of her patients and expresses their pain in ways that only one who's been to those depths can. Slater is deeply compassionate in relating to her clients and opening our minds to the inner worlds of people with psychological disorders and ...more
A sincerely poignant memoir of a psychologist who writes each chapter about a different mental condition and the "characters" in the early stages of her career. Not only is she perhaps one of the most gifted writers I've read, but she gets inside the very souls of her patients and expresses their pain in ways that only one who's been to those depths can. Slater is deeply compassionate in relating to her clients and opening our minds to the inner worlds of people with psychological disorders and ...more
Kimberly Hetherington
I absolutely loved this book. I recently graduated with my BA in psychology and have always wanted to know what it would be like to be a psychologist since it is a career choice I am considering. It was fascinating to read her story and learn about all the different cases of people she dealt with throughout her career. It wasn't even all technical writing, it was beautifully written like a novel. I love the way she explained things and I loved how she exposed herself so honestly . Truly excellen ...more
Mar 01, 2008 rytr_1 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: books-i-love
A brilliant mix of psychology, memoir, and highly poetic prose. Slater's compassion radiates off every page to the point that it is difficult to imagine a reader not being touched by her words. Especially poignant are the chapters about Joseph, who steadfastly attempts to defeat his schizophrenia by returning to college, and Linda, whose situation is a direct reflection of the author's own past struggles. Hopeful as well as heartbreaking; an incredible book.
A fascinating look at mental illness. I did find Slater's style a little odd - she uses a very florid and poetic style at times, which feels at odds with the subject matter, even as she writes some beautiful phrases.

Most poignant were her own recollections of mental illness, especially in the last section, where she goes to begin work with a patient suffering from bulimia, who happens to be in the same ward in the same hospital where Slater herself was treated.
Anne Attanas
This is an amazing book for anyone who is thinking about or who is already in the mental health field. Burn-out is a huge concern among mental health practioners, and the author's prose demonstrates the love and kindness she has for her patients which is the ultimate source of healing. Lauren Slater's compassion and empathy shine through her words, which are that of a poet. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs to reconnect with him or herself.
This is a fascinating and often moving account of a therapist's work with her clients, particularly the schizophrenic residents of a group home. The most moving chapter deals with her work with a woman who has borderline personality disorder and is also bulimic; treating her entails going back to the hospital where Slater herself was hospitalized multiple times for the same disorders, and the encounter is gripping and ultimately gorgeous.
Really liked this a lot. It is a tough read sometimes because of the difficult subject matter. I loved Slater's respect, compassion, and willingness to see things from her patients' unconventional point of view. Poetic. And no false hope or easy fixes, but little improvements where sometimes none are looked for at all. I liked how she brought her own experience with mental struggles / hospitalization in in the last chapter.
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Lauren Slater is a psychologist and writer. She is the author of numerous books, including Welcome To My Country, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, Opening Skinner’s Box, and Blue Beyond Blue, a collection of short stories. Slater’s most recent book is The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals.

Slater has been the recipient of numerous awards, amongst them a 2004 National Endowments for the Arts Award, and
More about Lauren Slater...
Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir Prozac Diary The Best American Essays 2006 Love Works Like This: Moving from One Kind of Life to Another

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“And I have the same heart in the same socket of chest, and it hammers the way it used to, and I find myself thinking the same words, safe again, trapped again. My palms sweat on the steering wheel. I remind myself: I am not that girl. I am not that girl. I've changed. I've grown. It's a long time ago.” 4 likes
“Wounds, I think, are never confined to a single skin but reach out to rasp us all.” 1 likes
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