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Tales from the Couch: A Clinical Psychologist’s True Stories of Psychopathology

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  532 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Tales from the Couch is collection of actual case studies and a primer on psychopathology, as well as a captivating reflection on the human condition. Drawn from Dr. Bob Wendorf’s thirty-six-year career years as a clinical psychologist, the book examines the lives of some of his most troubled patients, in a project that aims to both educate and fascinate the reader. Clinic
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Carrel Books (first published March 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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I like reading books on psychotherapy and neurology. How people behave according to their frame of reference, chemical make up or gene inheritance interests me. I thought this book was something rather different and might be interesting.

1. The majority of the psychology books I read are by doctors with a Jewish background. This doctor is Roman Catholic and his background does inform certain of his patients' treatments.

2. Most of the authors owe a lot to Freud, Dr. Wendorf is contemptuous of him
Where to start? So many things about this book made me rage. The author's clear narcissism. The fact that this book was clearly just a vehicle to stroke his own ego and mock his patients. His inability to acknowledge that he doesn't understand - truly - what the forensic process is about. His regular notation about which clients did - or did not - pay his bill or his "very high fee." His unnecessary and regular mentions of his jaguars. His incredibly unkind characterizations of addicts. This is ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book just rubbed me the wrong way right from the beginning. I set the book down twice for a while to try and clear my mind a bit and come back to it without my irritation, but failed. I finished it, but hated it.

I am going to write about some specific examples, but in case you don't want to read through all of them, here is the general idea: his stories are a bit unempathetic and egocentric. I have heard many psychologists tell tales of their patients. Some of which were funny stories told
Emmy Gregory
Jan 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OH BOY HERE WE GO. I can't remember the last time a book made me this angry. It started out promisingly enough. There were some interesting cases. The author's approach to mental health seemed a bit old fashioned but then he is now retired. Then real doubts crept in: his chuckling at the ethical standards of the profession. His disdain for "silly" suicidal people. His frankly creepy need to describe how attractive his female clients are, including speculation about whether one of them had had a ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you have a mental illness yourself, definitely don't read this book. You will be offended. In fact, don't read this book if you're neurotypical either, because it's awful. I can't believe this guy was ever a practicing therapist. Most books written by psychologists about their patients are done so in a way meant to educate readers about mental illness. This book came across mostly as exploitative rather than informative, presenting stories of patients merely as entertainment. 'Haha listen to ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author is annoying and full of himself, increasingly towards the end of the book. As a psych nurse have more than a few issues with his attitude towards his clients.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and entertaining book for those interested in clinical psychology. Borderlines love to marry narcissists! (Whoda thunk it?) Some great anecdotes that illustrate various psychopathologies.
The writer is a very kind and principled psychologist with a great sense of humor.

Some parts are interesting, such as his two patients with multiple personality disorder, which he believes to be a true phenomenon, but at the same time, some of his stories border on voyeuristic, especially the ones on
Karen Koppy
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychiatry
I didn't care for his writing style - he didn't seem to show some of the patients he saw adequate respect - not very professional in his descriptions. I find it hard to believe that he was able to solve many cases in such a short amount of time. He seemed arrogant and unempathetic. It was almost like he was bragging about the MPD patients he counseled. He doesn't have an MD degree in psychiatry but says he recommends medications to other practitioners. And some of his descriptions of women were ...more
Lindsey Hawkins Gould
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was not impressed.

Not very well written. There was a lot of poor sentence structure that left me confused as to what or whom he was referring. I don't feel that there was good flow to his accounts of patients. I got bored many times throughout the book. Some of his descriptions of patients seemed rather flippant or disrespectful. Some people are born storytellers but Bob Wendorf is not one of them.

Reading some of the reviews for this I have to wonder if people even have the attention span to focus on more than the first few lines any more, seeing as most (not all) of what is being criticized by the reviewers is usually explained or built upon a few lines later in the book. People seem to shut off their brains (or just put down the book) as soon as they read something they may not agree with.

This book certainly has its "flaws" and will not appeal to everyone. It's unnecessarily gr
John (JP)
If you have ever wondered what your psychologist might have thought about as a patient, then this book is for you. These are the stories of Dr Bob Wendorf, Phd. child and family psychologist who plied his craft for 37 years in Alabama. The anecdotes are written in a casual style clearly not intended as or for serious clinical use. The names of this patients have been changed to protect their identities. A reader might gain some insight into their friends and loved ones psychological maladies.Dr ...more
Luiz Fabricio Calland Cerqueira
Tales from the couch was insightful. I´m a psychologist myself, and it is heartwarming to see some of the struggles some of my coleagues go through. It had interesting suggestions of treatment, which I love, and it did aknowledge our human side. We also have frustrations, and we need to use them in favor of therapy whenever possible.

I never had any multiple personality disorder cases, and I suppose I never will. It is very interesting to read a somewhat detailed treatment of the disease and the
MS Meagher
Interesting book but I was surprised to see it was written in 2015. Between recommendations for spanking children, references to “bastard” (illegitimate) children, “inappropriate“ homosexual relationships, it seemed horrendously anachronistic. His judgemental attitude towards some patients, and obvious narcissism, were oftentimes difficult to read.
May 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I forced myself to read this half-way through, (only because I hate to not finish a book), but I could not force myself to read any further. This author is so full of himself, it was highly irritating! I do not recommend this book, unless you enjoy being severely agitated. I feel very bad for his poor patients.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed, and found insightful
Alia Makki
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I made the mistake of reading these autobiographies in rapid succession:
Tales from the Couch
Furiously Happy
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

As result, my brain pretty much wobbled, my review of the books got meshed and overlapped with each other and somewhere around the first third of the Tattoo book, the wobbling tipped and broke my heart and I stopped reading prose for a week to huddle under a collection of sonnets.

The thing with autobiographies, even those masquerading in the form of essays
Mary Whisner
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs, psychology
It was okay, just not particularly insightful or well-written. I read it pretty quickly, mostly on a plane, because the anecdotes were interesting enough and it wasn’t too challenging.

I’ve picked up a number of memoirs as Kindle bargains. Sometimes the writing style feels so familiar that I wonder if the authors had the same ghostwriter or editor encouraging a certain style and pacing. Is it just coincidence that game warden (A Good Man with a Dog: A Game Warden's 25 Years in the Maine Woods) an
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.85 stars rounded up

I like reading medical books but haven't actually picked up a Psychology one. So I thought to give this a try. There are a lot of psychological terms that I learned and realised that I had the wrong definitions for (ie. dependence vs co-dependence, schizophrenia vs multiple personality disorder). In saying that, the book wasn't that gripping. Maybe it's personal taste or interest. Although it had a lot of anecdotes and attempts on comical quips, chunks of it felt pretty text
Ruthanne Johnston
TALES FROM THE COUCH begins in an unusual way...the good doctor confesses that he doesn’t have a couch!
That would lead one to believe that this book might be both humorous and educational. It was somewhat educational about various mental illnesses and personality disorders, but there was far too much of the author’s experiences, Freudian disenchantment, and personal feelings to be truly enlightening.
As a retired R.N., I have encountered patients with many of the diagnoses in this book. I was hop
Deborah Gallatin
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I've not read a more honest, raw or humourous account describing the world of therapy. I give credit to Dr. Wendorf, as the job he's taken on has not been an easy one. In his book, he breaks down the chapters by diagnoses. This is one doctor who knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff, he understands the difference between MPD & schizophrenia.
His retelling of his patients lives & clinical adventures are at times both tragic and humorous. Well done Doc, well done!
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to enjoy this and for the first 30-35% of it I did! Then all I could think was, "SO GLAD this guy is not MY therapist". A belittling, shallow (patients physical make-up described in derogatory details), and narcissistic chest thumping diatribe make up the rest of this bio. Again, SO HAPPY he's not anywhere near my fragile psyche so I guess there's that!
Don't waste time or money on this!
andreea molocea
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good read

I loved reading about the cases that were presented, the book is well structured, but I felt many times that the author was sometimes judgemental while speaking about his patience and I felt he tried to be funny in cases where I was expecting empathy.
But if you want an easy to understand book about ADHD, MPD, Borderline this is a good start.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
True psychotherapy

This was a surprisingly well written and entertaining book. After over 40 years at a mental health agency, I can say it's an accurate view of a career in this field. Social work doesn't pay well, but it has a VERY high entertainment factor. If the field interests you, you will enjoy this book.
Chris Lussier
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fun and enjoyable and informative read! I loved it! Haven’t laughed in awhile? Read anything meaningful, helpful, or relieving to know lately? Check out this book. I think you’ll love it. The title says it all and comes from someone whose been doing it long enough to be funny, reverent, and sage.
Lesa Tobiason beach
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun read

We're all a little nuts, for sure. Those of us that admit it can see the humor in this collection and I have to agree that people's addictions can be tedious to treat. Bob seems like a kind and caring person along with being a good psychologist. I enjoyed this.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other
Entertaining and informative

An entertaining yet informative read. The author is knowledgeable and has the ability to capture the reader. It allows an interesting behind the scenes look.
Iris S. Spector
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read from the psychologist’s point of view

Loved the overall readability of the book and also the specific patients and studies. Not an easy topic but it was made interesting and relevant.
Katie Chapman
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Profound and Entertaining

This is a great read, especially for people who interact with those struggling with emotional and mental health issues. Well Done.
Alta Thorpe
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a now retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) I enjoyed the book and case studies. Easy to understand for professionals or the layman seeking a better understanding of mental illnesses.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun, informative look into the author's career as a psychologist.
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