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Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  247 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Ever wanted an insight into counseling? Or wished you could be a 'fly-on-the-wall' in a psychotherapy session? Couch Fiction allows you to peep through the key-hole of the therapy room door and, more than that, read the minds of the protagonists...

Based on a case study of Pat (our sandal-wearing, cat-loving psychotherapist) and her new client, James (an ambitious barrister
Paperback, 156 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 2010)
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Paul Bryant
Nov 24, 2011 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
Psychotherapy gives me the creeps. But – wait a moment – why did I say CREEPS? Was it because I was going to write that it gives me the WILLIES but I didn't want to write the word WILLY because I don't want to draw attention to my WILLY which as you see I have now done? How rancidly ironic. I see I have subverted myself – again.

You can't win with psychotherapists. But wait – who said there was anything to "win"? is that how I look at life? As an eternal struggle of winning and losing?


I pr
Feb 10, 2013 Wes rated it it was amazing
If you start this book you'll finish it quickly because once you're granted fly-on-the-wall access to an uber-realistic psychotherapy session it's not something you tend to walk away from in a hurry. I was engaged, entertained and left feeling like I learned a thing or two, Couch Fiction was well worth the read.

A graphic novel that explores the months-long encounter between London psychotherapist Pat and her client/patient/co-lead James, a successful barrister with an unhealthy compulsive addic
Stewart Tame
Oct 20, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it liked it
This is worth reading for the curiosity value alone. This comic follows a therapist/client relationship from the first visit to the final session. Every session is not presented in detail, but the intent is to demystify the process of analysis by showing it from start to finish. There are somewhat extensive footnotes for almost every page that point out nuances that may otherwise be missed. One has the choice of reading the story, and then going back for the footnotes, or reading page-footnotes- ...more
Aug 06, 2015 Rick rated it liked it
Who would think that a graphic novel (read here comic book) about psychotherapy would be a good idea?, actually. Since it combines two of my interests (psychology and comics), I thought, "what the heck?" and took the plunge. Plus, it was recommended by one of my colleagues.

The novel focuses on the psychoanalysis of James Clarkson Smith and shows his progress from scared new client to healthy individual, with all of the ups and downs of therapy interposed. Dr. Patricia Phillips pra
Feb 01, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing
Couch Fiction, ’a graphic tale of psychotherapy’ was as entertaining as it was informative. Perry has put together an insightful snapshot into what it is like to be a therapist and also what it is like to be a patient. As a therapist I appreciated the explanatory texts underneath the graphics - despite it often being information I knew, the reminder and the explanations helped me identify fresh perspectives. Lines like “she is not a perfect therapist and there is not such thing’”are helpful remi ...more
May 17, 2012 Gemma rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Such a smart way to introduce people to how psychotherapy works. Funny, smart, insightful.
Nov 27, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it
Rather interesting - good for anyone with an interest, shallow or deep in psychotherapy.
Kl Baudelaire
Nov 16, 2015 Kl Baudelaire rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book - as a practising counsellor, much of both the theory and the process felt familiar; the therapist is written such that she makes human errors, and seeks to correct them (when she notices them!).
I assume that the author's source material for the client's inner voice comes partly from her own experience of counselling; it's unusual to see both parties' thoughts given in an account like this, as the focus is usually on the role held by the author.
The client's journey felt ver
Sam Quixote
Sep 19, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was ok
The book is a graphic depiction of a psychotherapy case of a man "James" who is a successful barrister who begins to steal for no reason. His kleptomania is explored by his therapist "Pat". Revelations occur and James is cured.

I read this thinking it would be an interesting comic and, as a comics fan of both popular and indie varieties, gave this a try. Unfortunately it's not very interesting or well drawn.

First off, the "characters" never seem real but just cyphers for the author to put into
Shiraz Esat
Sep 27, 2015 Shiraz Esat rated it it was amazing
I utterly loved this "book", and if I am to recommend only one book this year, this would be it. The book makes the topic of psychotherapy approachable - a topic I've always been interested in, but haven't been able to find a sensible starting point.
This may be that starting point!
I recommend reading just the picture story initially, disregarding all the sub-notes, and then re-reading with the notes.
Nov 21, 2014 S rated it really liked it
If you've ever wondered exactly what happens in a therapy session, this book will answer that question pretty thoroughly. As a casual fan of psychology, I found this graphic novel illuminating. For fans of Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?.
Elodie Ladlow
Aug 04, 2012 Elodie Ladlow rated it it was ok
erm this was okay but I was expecting better, the client and counsellor scenario and the counsellors ideas felt abit to simplistic in the message that "we talk and thus everything falls into place with a happily ever after and we never again have that same problem" it doesnt so much acknowledge the fluency of the change and the chance that the presenting issues may come back and there is not always a permanent cure but rather a continous battle where we may have off days. Having said that I did ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing
It's like one big insider joke for psychology grad students. Love love love it. Excerpts will make it into all future graduate classes I teach!
Kirsty Wayland
Apr 04, 2015 Kirsty Wayland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I loved this - thought it was really interesting and accessible, and I learnt a lot.
May 07, 2015 Tami rated it really liked it
This was quite funny. Also, it was a quick read. I liked the cartoon style.
Jan 30, 2015 Cherylin rated it liked it
Very interesting notion. I think it provided the insight it aimed for.
chris tervit
May 27, 2010 chris tervit rated it really liked it
Having previously read Susie Orbach's 'The Impossibility of sex' years ago when I was working in psychiatry/psychotherapy I was really keen to read this after an interview I read about the author. She is married to Grayson Perry the artist who likes to dress up in his female alter-ego & did some amazing vases that won the Turner prize few yrs ago.

Loved all the explanations of the psychotherapy terms in simple fun language. Great cartoon drawings too. A fun afternoon read. Will pass on- I th
Jun 11, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
This was an interesting read. It works both on the level of the narrative of a man's therapeutic intervention and on the level of describing the process of therapy from a clinical perspective. Interesting ideas that I hadn't considered before. I think the narrative element alone is not quite enough to make a whole book, but together they work. I want to recommend this to my friend who is about to start a counseling psychology program.
Apr 30, 2015 Justin rated it it was amazing
Sue Black
Nov 19, 2011 Sue Black rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Easy to read and understand and really gets over the process of psychotherapy by showing what the therapist and patient are thinking during their sessions. I'm not a massive fan of graphic format, but it really works here.
Jul 20, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it
Very enlightening and entertaining ...and applicable to one's life - read through first without commentary, then re-read with, as the graphic novel portion is an easy read.
Hannah Wingfield
Oct 20, 2013 Hannah Wingfield rated it liked it
Reviewed here, at my book blog.
Aug 27, 2011 Judith rated it liked it
I've never read a book like's like meta-psychotherapy! Very insightful and funny narrator....sometimes at odd moments. Ha!
Feb 11, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
Interesting for a random pick-up from the library. :-)
Mitch Donaberger
very strange storytelling style.
Vincent Barr
Jan 07, 2016 Vincent Barr rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Anne rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2016
Electravk rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2016
Alessandra marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2016
Ste marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
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Philippa Perry, author of How to Stay Sane, is a psychotherapist and writer who has written pieces for The Guardian, The Observer, Time Out, and Healthy Living magazine and has a column in Psychologies Magazine. In 2010, she wrote the graphic novel Couch Fiction, in an attempt to demystify psychotherapy. She lives in London and Sussex with her husband, the artist Grayson Perry, and enjoys gardenin ...more
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