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The Impossibility of Sex: Stories of the Intimate Relationship between Therapist and Patient
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The Impossibility of Sex: Stories of the Intimate Relationship between Therapist and Patient

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The conventional view of a patient in therapy has been that of someone who forms a powerful, erotic bond with the therapist. On the other hand, the view of the therapist has been that of a neutral listener, emotionally unaffected by the patient. But what really does go on within the sacrosanct space of the therapist's office?
Distinguished psychotherapist Susie Orbach pro
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Touchstone (first published May 27th 1999)
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Kl Baudelaire
Aug 02, 2015 Kl Baudelaire rated it really liked it
I found this book a little hard-going; it is heavy on psychoanalytic theory and interpretation. As a counsellor taught primarily using the person-centred model, I've held a lot of prejudice against psychoanalysis - it can be reductivist, directive, it can miss the client's experience in a determination to force them to fit the model, rather than vice-versa. There is also a lot of intellectual content in an analysis; I had to concentrate, re-reading paragraphs, rather than reading casually.

That s
Karen deVries
Aug 11, 2012 Karen deVries rated it really liked it
I've heard of Susie Orbach for years, and when reading Jeanette Winterson's recent memoir (they are partners), my interest was further piqued. This book was (1) an interesting sojourn into the kinds of problems people bring to therapy situations, (2) an incredibly savvy treatment of those problems, and both (3a) a window into the both the transformative possibility of conversation AND (3b) the ways in which therapists are challenged and changed within the therapeutic encounter. I am a lifelong s ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Kristina rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I didn't complete my "date read" or add this book to my "read" shelf! I received a prompt in the recent newsletter and fully recognize that it is because I don't have the words to sufficiently express how much this book did for/meant to me, an aspiring therapist. I felt so uncomfortable with the palpable sexuality described between therapist and client in the first chapter that I didn't think I'd finish the book (tells you something about me, hey?). However, I learned depths abou ...more
Meaghan Gosling
Jun 03, 2013 Meaghan Gosling rated it really liked it
This book gave me loads of food for thought. I don't subscribe to the psychodynamic theory like Susie, but there was a good deal that seemed to hit home with me in terms of her reflection and assessment. Reading the insights of Susie as she sits with her clients, how she questions herself at time and allows the clients to take the long road on their own others, is almost like a play by play for a therapy session. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories of the clients, and feel like I'm learning at the ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Tegan rated it it was ok
An unusual book that may be best described as a 'fictional memoir'. I picked it up for the author (Dr Orbach) and figured that the content she wrote would be interesting by default.

Not the case - only about half of it was interesting. Each chapters details a different character that presents for therapy, and I found their stories mostly interesting. At some point in each chapter, however, my interest would wane and I would find myself struggling to complete the chapter.

If I was more interested i
Feb 12, 2009 Ilze rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 28, 2015 Lesley-Anne rated it liked it
Interesting stories. I was disappointed at the end of the book to discover they aren't actually based on real clients, but are complete fiction. Kinda took the magic away. I felt a little deceived. But an enjoyable read.
Nov 05, 2014 Doublezerodomino rated it really liked it
Shelves: psych
Spoiler alert: these stories are just so, fiction. While Orbach writes elegantly and intelligently the patients and their interactions with her projected self are merely products of her vast imagination.
It would be an interesting professional exercise to produce fictional clients and work through their concerns solely in ones mind, a working role play. Still, I can't help but feel a bit cheated.
Jul 19, 2007 Connie rated it liked it
If you've ever wondered what is going on in a therapist's head during a session, this book will give you an idea.
Christine Jackson
Jul 19, 2011 Christine Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: therapy
Delightfully complex fictional stories on what happens in the therapeutic encounter.
Aug 22, 2009 Dana rated it really liked it
What a great Freudian vacation from FBAs, BIPs, ED and RTI
Feb 12, 2008 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Very interesing
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Dr. Susie Orbach - the therapist who treated Diana, Princess of Wales, for her eating disorders; the founder of the Women's Therapy Center of London; a former columnist for The Guardian; a visiting professor at the London School of Economics; and the author of 1978 best-seller Fat is a Feminist Issue - is, aside from Sigmund Freud, probably the most famous psychotherapist to have ever set up couch ...more
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“I thought of the analyst Winnicott's observation: 'It is a joy to be hidden but disaster not to be found'.” 2 likes
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