Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crazy: Notes on and Off the Couch” as Want to Read:
Crazy: Notes on and Off the Couch
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crazy: Notes on and Off the Couch

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  61 reviews
"Crazy" is the story of how one mental health professional deals with his own personal problems and those of the people he treats. Part expose and part memoir, it reveals what therapists "really" think about their profession, their colleagues, their patients, and their own lives. ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Lyons Press (first published June 14th 2011)
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 Crazy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crazy

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  535 ratings  ·  61 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Crazy: Notes on and Off the Couch
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a recent graduate student in the field of mental health, I found this book incredibly relatable! Dr. Rob shares some of his client's stories, but most importantly shares his own stories, reflections during sessions, and challenges during his training. I love how genuine and honest he is. My ultimate favorite chapter is the one about the sex offenders and their partners. I think he was a brave graduate student going through this experience of leading a sex offenders group therapy, and managing ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really humanized the psychology profession.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, psychology
This memoir is naturally a little bit fudged. Due to being a psychologist, Dr. Dobrenski is bound by confidentiality, therefore what he has done is taken stories of many patients who, for instance, have dealt with the aftermath of a rape or the death of a spouse, and consolidated those stories into one. That said, it doesn't read or feel like fiction. These compilations don't detract from the book at all, they don't give a feel of inauthenticity or two-dimensionality. It's unfortunate, but the o ...more
Ryan Holiday
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've known Dr. Rob ( for a long time so this is not exactly an unbiased review. I will attempt to balance out my bias by admitting that I don't often read the stuff on his site. It's actually why I think I liked the book so much and why you probably will too. His styles seem to work so much better when read in a narrative, when consumed in "book mode" as opposed to "blog mode." Maybe it's that there are fewer distractions in a book, or maybe it's that we're more tolerant of meande ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

So I enjoyed the beginning of this book because it was a new and interesting topic to read about. There were some great parts, but to be honest I got a little bored of it towards the end. Overall, a decent book that gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a psychiatrist. I appreciate it's theme...that we are all crazy in our own ways :)
Rojna Yvonne
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob's hilarious! As a psychology student myself, I find this incredibly relatable (not sure whether to laugh or cry about that). Also his frankness makes his writing very appealing! ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading about the brain and psychology fascinate me and this book did not let me down. I found it funny and informative. It tells the story of the author and his last year of education and experiences with patients. He includes the story of his time as a patient. He does not only include the success or 'good' things about his education or patient experiences, but those that didn't work as well. This is a story of a human told in a very human manner. ...more
Michele Macintire
This book took a long time to read simply because it was my "airplane" book. An enjoyable read to get an insiders view of psychology inside and out of the therapists office. We see how therapy helps others, but also that many doctors, also human, need some therapy themselves. Love the final conclusion sentence. Spot on. ...more
Mark Matthews
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, especially early on; but then, the author had so many issues it started to be too much about too many of his issues, which bled into the obvious concern for 'how crazy is my therapist'.
That was part of the point of the book, but still...
Maybe it's me, and I'm just burned out on this kind of book. After loving the genre for many decades? Or, maybe it was a bit boring. Easy read, and I found the author likable. I did like the part where, as a young trainee, he worked with sex offenders and their wives. ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Being a therapist myself, I was curious about what this author had to say about his own experiences as a professional. He gave good insight for the lay person into what to expect in therapy.
It was quite interesting to read stories about both the patients' and the psychologists' experiences with mental health. The narrator's sense of humor is wonderful and he is quite relatable. ...more
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a student of SW, I learned a lot reading this book. I’m wanting to go back and make note cards on my highlights. I’d greatly appreciate another book similar to this one.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part I enjoyed this book. I think it gave people who don't work in the mental health field a glimpse behind the scenes. I could relate to many of his experiences in becoming a therapist, bring young & inexperienced in the field and laughed a little in recognition. Some parts dragged a bit for me but maybe that's because I was familiar with some of the educational info he shared. The worst thing about reading this book, for me, was the way he described doing work with a survivor of r ...more
This book is a memoir of the psychologist Rob Dobrenski about mental health problems.To me one of his intentions in writing this book was to simply show that the psychologists/therapists are human beings like the rest of us and they DO have problems "menta problems" to deal with in their personal lives. In an honest but bold way he showed to the reader that in real life mental health professionals are like their patients that is to say they are "crazy" but "human"! The difference is they know ho ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
I'm not a clinician (in temperament, I'm practically the anti-clinician), but having experienced the culture and heard the stories of friends in clinical practice, I found this book both funny and touching. I'm particularly sending love and respect to "Dr. Pete," the therapist with social anxiety. I also liked this quote, from the general perspective of the helping professions:

"To be part of helping someone who was completely broken heal herself makes everything leading up to it worthwhile. The
Joe Ciola
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, own, ebook
We search for answers and validation to our dilemmas and insecurities from those we deem most capable and above reproach. Be they doctors or clergy, we prefer to believe that those we rely upon are demigods because we entrust them with the most private vulnerabilities of our lives. The author honestly and courageously levels the playing field, addressing what I would refer to as normalcy. Our healers may be capable through training and experience, but they are not gods. The moment they realize a ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't think of a reason to not give it a 5-star rating.

I would reccomend this book to anyone who's curious to know what really goes on in a therapist session, what is it like to be a client and (ironically) at the same time a therapist. The simple writing style the author adopts makes it so easy for anyone with no background of psychology to get the complete picture of the illnesses mentioned in the book. And one of the things I like about this kind of books is the tips you'll find yoursel
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So do psychologists ever think their patients are simply crazy? Do they themselves have mental breakdowns or at least have issues they must work out with their colleagues? The answer to both these questions is yes and the author Rob Dobrinski PhD paints a very interesting picture of the life of a budding therapist. In this book he chronicles his progression from student to practicing psychologist while peppering in stories of his patients and his own fumbles and shortcomings both as a psychologi ...more
Karla Owen foisy
I have often said that I wished there were more video-taped or audio-taped counseling sessions that could be used educationally. I think Rob's book is the closest things I've found. He gives the reader an intimate view of the counseling office, inviting us to empathize with real clients with real mental health issues. He does it in a way that is humorous, entertaining, genuine, humble/human and informative. I left his book with a stronger sense of what various counseling techniques looked like w ...more
Kimberly Simpson
I love this memoir. It is a book about mental health from the perspective of a psychologist. The book goes through some of the most common mental health problems and general treatment approach though therapy sessions with clients. It does a great job of showing the limits of treatment and the vulnerability of the psychologist. It accomplishes this in a way that is funny, heartwarming and engaging to the reader. This book normalizes the idea of "crazy" and shows that we are all just human, in a v ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have worked on a psychiatric unit in a general hospital and was curious about this book. Not only was it educational and good in its descriptions of the mental diseases and treatment, and the rational for the treatment. The human aspects of it, from a practitioner were very interesting and at time funny. I really liked this book and it is a short but concise book on mental illness - and the ending of the fact that we are all a little crazy.
Brilliant and honest, Rob Dobrenski brings you into the therapist's office and shows you the man behind the curtain. The book goes from laugh-out-loud to heart-breaking, all the while giving tremendous insight into how therapy works. I highly recommend this book - from those in therapy to those who disagree with therapy. ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. It was recommended to me by someone who knew what she was talking about. As a neophyte therapist - this book makes me believe in the good we can do and how we learn and grow. It also gives me, which I think is the most important concept, permission to be "crazy", "imperfect", and human.

Great book.
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
While Schopenhauer's Porcupines illustrates the work of psychotherapy through 5 case studies, Crazy looks more at how psychologists handle the work they do. The view is somewhat lighthearted and the author isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. I would guess that most psychologists will see a bit of themselves in the pages of this book. ...more
Vivian Mills
A good review

I am a retired therapist and found this book to be a good review. The many typos were a little distracting and took away from the read. It started out very interesting and sort of fizzled out after the first two chapters. It held my interest because I've been there. I'm not sure others would find it that interesting...
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always interested in psychology and psychologists, and this is an interesting format presenting a typical day in the life of a psychologist and the variety of cases treated in that 12 hour period. It also makes the points that psychologists often have psychological problems of their own that must be dealt with and the processes they have for doing so.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob Dobrenski, a Ph.D. In psychology writes of the psychological behavior of his patients as well as his own. He gives insights of why some people cannot let go of life's negative experiences without the guidance of a counselor. His thought that some people study and work in psychology for reasons related to their personal life experiences is quickly dispersed by those who had other motives. ...more
An avid reader of his blog,, I've been looking forward to this book for quite some time. It was definitely worth the wait! Witty and insightful, easily one of my favorite "therapy books." ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-the-mind
I LOVED this book. The basic premise is that everyone, at one time or another, can be just a little bit crazy. And guess what? Your shrink has his or her own issues, too! This book was candid and refreshing. A very interesting read.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Paper Girls, Vol. 2
  • Amsterdam
  • The Mismeasure of Man
  • Life in Dance
  • The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts
  • Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
  • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
  • Kinoko Inu - Mushroom Pup, Vol. 1
  • The Tao of Pooh
  • The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
  • Space Unicorn Blues (Reason, #1)
  • Report from Planet Midnight
  • Long is the Way
  • Skin Folk
  • The River of Consciousness
  • Fable (Fable, #1)
  • Snow, Glass, Apples [Chapbook]
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
27 likes · 5 comments
“Pretend that you’re the paddle and the rubber ball is your feelings. When something bad happens to us, our natural instinct is to try to push the bad feelings away. It’s like we hit the rubber ball as hard as possible to make it vanish, but the harder we hit it, the stronger and faster the ball bounces back. It’s like the ball doesn’t want to leave us. Grief feelings are like that. They need to sit still and be understood. The good news is that if we talk about your feelings, we can make many negative aspects of the ball disappear.” 1 likes
More quotes…