Deborah A.'s Reviews > The Good Psychologist

The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer
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Aug 30, 2010

it was ok
Read in August, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This book consists of a fictional psychologist's lectures to his therapy class, the narrative of his own life which involves his endless longing for a married female supervisor with whom he had an affair and a child, and his treatment of a stripper with a sexual abuse history who is having trouble stripping after a new trauma at the hands of a male customer. While I found some of the discussions of theory fascinating,and the author has clearly thought a lot about his work, the fact that the "good psychologist" isn't really put me off. And I don't think the author intended the title ironically at all.

Like many therapists, this one's abilities are marred by his narcissism; he likes to hear himself talk, and think, and ponder, and self-congratulate. Even his self-doubt turns into self-congratulation. He pontificates to his students who are presented as stereotypes (the born-again Christian; the TWO indistinguishable white-teethed smiling females; the Type A perfectionistic young woman)from whom he appears to learn nothing. Nothing seems to get in despite his image of himself as sensitive and perceptive. Worse, he doesn't see any problem in taking supervision on his current case from a woman with whom he's in love -- the need for boundaries apparently doesn't apply to him. And he blames the patient for becoming sexual when he enters into an reenactment with her by using an invasive and paternalistic form of quasi-hypnosis to relax her! after she tells him about her father's abuse. Of course his wise explanation of her behavior is enough to set her back on the right track, feeling gratitude and respect for her good doctor. Finally (plot spoiler) he culminates her therapy (which he deems a success) by watching her strip. And of course it all works out splendidly; she's grateful, healed, except for the fact that she flees at the end. From her life or from her therapy? Maybe I missed the intended irony.
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12/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Jay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jay Great review. I don't have to write one because you've pretty much covered it all. I gave it 3 stars because I really enjoyed disliking the novel.


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