Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities” as Want to Read:
Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,646 Ratings  ·  441 Reviews
One afternoon in 1989, Karen Overhill walks into psychiatrist Richard Baer’s office complaining of vague physical pains and depression. Odder still, she reveals that she’s suffering from a persistent memory problem. Routinely, she “loses” parts of her day, finding herself in places she doesn’t remember going to or being told about conversations she doesn’t remember having. ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published January 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Switching Time, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Switching Time

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Christina White
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
I finished this book last night at 2 AM, I couldn't put it down. This has been the most twisted, disturbing and crazy book I have ever read. I rated four stars, but I wouldn't recommend it to the ladies in my book club! I think I might be sick in the head lol, but I was so fascinated by this book, the same way I am fascinated when I see a fatal car accident on the side of the highway. The things that happened to Karen when she was younger were hard to believe and it is also hard to believe that ...more
Mike King
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
There were many problems with this book. The one I noticed first was composition. Dr. Baer is a terrible writer. He has a tendency to repeat words within the same sentence. I can't remember how many times a sentence would start out with the word "Suddenly," only to have the same word appear toward the end of the sentence, as in "Suddenly, X shook her head and suddenly changed her mind." Furthermore, Baer tends to repeat words and phrases - particularly descriptive terms - in three or four consec ...more
james
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Horrifying story. Fantastic book. My compliments to Dr. Baer for his patience, sacrifice, and success. My deepest regards, admiration, and respect for Karen Overhill.
RJ McGill
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Imagine pretending to be asleep in order to overhear conversations between your family and friends, so that you can learn your mother's name, or where your husband works. Karen was continually searching for ways to hide her obvious insanity until a desperate call to a crisis hot-line in 1989, led her to Dr. Richard Baer. The complexities of the human mind have never before been revealed with such detail, dimension and compassion. Horrific, unimaginable abuse had forced Karen to create different ...more
Nancy
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Whenever I read a book involving multiple personalities, The Minds of Billy Milligan, When Rabbit Howls, etc, my first response is always - no way, they have to be making this up. However, with this book, Switching Time, Richard Baer makes the trauma that Karen Overhill endured come across as convincing and with her experiences explains how a multiple disorder takes form and how each part of the main, takes on the duties that it was designed for.

The reader is first introduced to Karen during her
...more
Jessietaylortanner
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hannah, Robin, Rachelle, Shell
Shelves: non-fiction, bio
Although the details in this book are nauseatingly graphic, I found great hope and peace in it. The trauma and abuse that was suffered by this woman is beyond any normal person's understanding- the mind simply cannot reach far enough into the depths of hell to fathom such torture. Seriously, it's that intense. While reading, I found I was often grimacing, my face screwed up and only half looking at the words, trying to shield myself from it. That said, the indomitable will of the woman ('Karen') ...more
April
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Okay. This book made me angry. Very, very angry, and I think I have good reason for it.

(Also, DNF at about 70%.)

First off, treating a client who has DID is not "harrowing" for ANY therapist. If it's harrowing at all, it is for the client. Yes, I can see how it would be stressful for the clinician... but not harrowing. WTF, Baer? "Harrowing" to me implies that your life was in danger due to your client. It was not. Ever.

To me, Baer is a faker or a liar at best. According to this book, he had neve
...more
Nancy
May 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
This reads as two parts Jerry Springer and one part self-indulgent, self-important indulgence on the part of the doctor and author, Richard Baer.

It is fascinating, in the deepest sense of the word, to read about the patient's family history. I'm not squeamish, and am not repelled by the details, but the patient and her history serve only as a backdrop to the doctor's feelings and thoughts. It is rather as if he's saying to us over dinner "Ooo, I have the freakiest patient! You would not believe
...more
Angie crosby
Jul 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: alex, d-i-d, non-fiction
I disliked this book. The author I felt related everything to himself when it wasn't about him. He didn't even mention other options than integration, yet he mentions how he prefers MPD to the correct term DID. Too much about the author and not enough about the multiple. I also disliked the harrowing part of the title. He acts like it was so hard for him, and i'm sure it was, but it was harder for the system, and that isn't really acknowledged
Jeanine
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've listened to SO many good nonfiction books this year. This is the first year I've really accepted audiobooks into my life because they've made obtaining them so easy. This has allowed me to listen to books I would never have ordinarily exposed myself to.

The best out of all of them, however, has been this one. This book has truly been one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. The depth into Karen's mind, the way her brain worked so hard to save her life, and the level of professiona
...more
Frank Tibbetts
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated with multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity order as it's called now.
Karen Overhill has spent her life in fragmentation. Her seventeen seperate personalities are the result of her traumatic and severely abusive childhood. Dr. Baer takes us on a journey through Karen's horrifying childhood. Karen's alters describe to us, the atrocities she suffered at the hands of her parents.
My heart truly went out to her in this wonderfully descriptive story. Kar
...more
Lauren Ruth
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book. My hat is off to the phenomenal achievement it documents. Faced with unrelenting terror from such a young age, this girl not only survived, she developed the kind, loving, generous, and sensitive aspects of herself by creating 17 distinct personalities.

The world considers multiple personality disorder a disease, but in this case, I think it was a truly creative response to shattering circumstances. Living a life the rest of us can barely imagine, this kid found
...more
Ashley Wang
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first thought this was a depressing book, which turned out to be a book embedded with great bravery and patience that can inspire anyone to see the beauty and hold hopes in the darkest days. I fully enjoy this book for it inspires me to embrace my weakness and my bad days just as much as my good days, because I know my strengths are fed on all of those.
Kaye McSpadden
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audiobooks
This is a truly remarkable story. No, actually, I would say it is astounding. It's the true story of a 30-something young woman who started seeing a psychotherapist in 1989 because of depression and suicidal thoughts. Over the course of more than a decade of therapy, Dr. Richard Baer slowly uncovers the truth of Karen Overhill's life and existence -- the fact that she was living with dissociative identity disorder (or, multiple personalities), caused by a childhood dominated by abuse, torture, a ...more
Wendi
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what to think of this book. It wasn't terribly well written; however, it's not necessarily a book for entertainment value.

I do appreciate that Dr. Baer admitted when he wasn't sure that all the stories of abuse were true. I have read quite a few stories of survival. It's astounding the shape sexual abuse can take. It's Karen's tales of ritual abuse and Satan worship that sends up the red flags - it is true or not. Were all those people involved? There were quite a few people that we
...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the most disturbing book I have ever read. It makes the childhood from "a child called it" look like a day at Disneyland. Awful. Engrossing. wow...
Kristin
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although I gave this book five stars it is not to be recommended to the faint of heart. Detailed explanations of child torture, sexual
Abuse and mental and verbal abuse.

Having said that, it was a phenomenal story. Her multiples became real to me. At times I forgot they were In Her mind and not real.

It took me substantially longer to listen to this book because I had to give myself a break in between to read something a little happier.

How she survived what she did is a wonder and absolutely fas
...more
Robyn Harrison
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating, powerful book. I read it because I have a friend with MPD. It intrigued me to read about this woman's alters and how similar her experience is to that of my friend.
Heidi
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, SO fascinating! And definitely not for the faint of heart.
Resti
pertama tama, ini buku paling mengerikan dan paling melelahkan plus buku yang paling lama aku baca.
perlu waktu 2 minggu untuk menyelesaikan buku ini.bukan karena buku ini enggak bagus. karena aku jelas-jelas kasih 5bintang buat buku ini. tapi karena buku ini terlalu berat dan mengerikan buatku. jadi bacanya mesti sedikit sedikit.

buku ini bercerita tentang Karen yang saat masih kecil mengalami banyak hal buruk akibat kekejaman ayah dan kakeknya, serta ketidakpedulian ibunya. sehingga untuk mengh
...more
Emily
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm not sure how to rate this book as I can't really say I "liked" it. It was incredibly disturbing, graphically detailing the horrific systematic physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and torture of a little girl for years. I was disgusted by the evil and depravity that led so many adults to hurt her in so many ways for their enjoyment, and also by the willful ignorance of so many other adults in her life who could have made a difference and didn't. It was inspiring reading of Karen's strength ...more
Lauren Stanek
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It was also one of the most exhausting books to get through. It provided a unique insight into what it was like for someone living with multiple personality disorder. She was constantly trading on and off with different personalities assigned to certain tasks in her daily life. I couldn't put the book down for a second, but it takes quite a bit out of you learning about the tremendous abuse the main character suffered and how she used th ...more
Cassidy Queerface
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Oh my god. I guess maybe I'm too fascinated with literature about mental illnesses, but after I read a review of this book, I couldn't wait to read it.
It was sickening and horrifying, the abuse that little girl had to go through. The multiple personality disorder she developed was actually a coping mechanism (as it usually is), and she saw it later as a gift from God to help her get through the ritual abuse (that included her father, grandfather, his friends, and "satanic" rituals).
The personali
...more
Elizabeth
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Christina White
Shelves: biography_misc, 2011
What makes this book truly engrossing is that it is a true story that both doctor and patient were brave enough to share with the world. I found the account disturbing, gripping and fascinating. As the story begins to unfold I was shocked and horrified by the descriptions of the ritualistic and debasing abuse Karen survived in childhood. Through the discovery process of her multiple personalities, the focus really becomes about how these different people inside her were created and process of he ...more
Shelly
I've always found multiple personality disorder to be a fascinating topc to read about, and was glad to see my library had a copy of this in when I went hunting for it.

Knowing it is written by the doctor that treated the patient, rather than by the patient herself, makes it a little more interesting to read for me. I rather liked having his thought process outlined and how he reacted to each alter as they were presented to him. I also really enjoyed the fact that he included actual copies of the
...more
Jaquilyn
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of the most incredible non-fiction books I have ever read. I had to continuously remind myself that this is a TRUE story.

The title speaks for itself, but essentially, this is a story of a woman (Karen) and her therapist (Dr. Baer) discovering that she has 17 separate personalities and innumerable events from her life that she has no memory of. You go through the therapeutic process with Karen and Dr. Baer and learn of the utterly horrific events that lead to Karen's dissociative ide
...more
Sphinx Feathers
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, memoir
The story was interesting, but I felt bad being the patient of another doctor - very judged and wondering if my own doctor thinks such disparaging thoughts about me. The abuse was written about in a manner that was still managed to convey the horror involved without being absolutely overwhelming, but the doctor writing things like how he didn't like Karen until some of the parts he did like joined her seemed extremely judgmental. I guess I know and understand that psychologists have opinions of ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've always been interested in cases of multiple personality, and SWITCHING TIME is the mother of them all.

I found myself immersed in the story of both the doctor and patient and cringing at the horrors this poor woman suffered (although I will admit that I'm not quite sure, even after reading the book, how many of the events she mentioned actually, truly happened).

This book is disturbing at times, but also immensely interesting. For fans of the subject, this is definitely a must-read!
Heather
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is at it's core a good story about a therapist and client. But the writing is terrible and the author is far too self-congratulatory for me to find him compelling or compassionate. He seems so invested in being this woman's therapist, but his motivations are suspect. (view spoiler) ...more
Winna
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I took a few days to fully read this book and didn't miss anything. I had mixed feelings, but to sum up and say the least, I was hooked!

Karen's story was truly sad. Her memories consisted of terrible things and brutality. I was amazed at how she coped, by creating alters.

I have a lot to say about this book, but I think it overwhelms me too much. I'm so excited reading about it, and introduced to something new. At the same time, it sends chill down my spine.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality
  • A FRACTURED MIND: MY LIFE WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER
  • Suffer the Child
  • Broken Child
  • First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple
  • Crazy All the Time: On The Psych Ward of Bellevue Hospital
  • Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness
  • Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness
  • The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation--the Hidden Epidemic
  • A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
  • Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You
  • Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist
  • Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Fractured
  • All of Me
  • Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital
  • A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain
  • Twenty-Two Faces

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
    $17.99 $1.99
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters
    $12.49 $2.99
  • When the Game Was Ours
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Power
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Through My Eyes
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Brief History of Everything
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The World's Religions, Revised and Updated (Plus)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Leonardo's Notebooks
    $11.99 $2.99
  • An American Childhood
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Making Toast
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
    $11.99 $2.99
“Jensen var det enda svarta alter ego jag hade. Han föddes svart eftersom pappa hade fördomar mot svarta. Han föddes in i mig så att jag kunde utveckla uppskattning för alla möjliga sorters människor. Han gav mig perspektiv så att jag inte skulle bli fördomsfull som pappa. Jensen läste om sin ras och gav sig själv ett slavnamn från sjuttonhundratalet. Med kunskapen Jensen gav mig, har jag förståelse för rashistoria och kamp.” 0 likes
More quotes…