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Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy
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Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  344 Ratings  ·  36 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, 151 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 2010)
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Couch Fiction is Philippa Perry's creative attempt to show, via the medium of the graphic novel, what the practice of therapy is really about, and that success in therapy depends on the quality of the relationship between the client and the therapist. She wrote this book because she wanted to describe what life can be like as a therapist and as a client.

The author presents a fictional case study of Pat, a messy, middle-aged female psychotherapist and James, a seemingly successful, smug, thirtys
Paul Bryant
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
Wilde Sky
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book provides an illustrated guide to psychotherapy sessions.

The beginning was a bit lame but it became more interesting as it progressed, but I’m not sure how much I learnt (if anything).

Not really sure who this book is aimed at – more likely to be clients rather than analysts.
Wes Hazard
Feb 10, 2013 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
Jul 18, 2015 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
Stewart Tame
Oct 17, 2015 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
Sam Quixote
Jul 24, 2011 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
Feb 01, 2016 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Such a smart way to introduce people to how psychotherapy works. Funny, smart, insightful.
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rather interesting - good for anyone with an interest, shallow or deep in psychotherapy.
Erin Britton
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written by Philippa Perry and illustrated by Junko Graat, Couch Fiction is an innovative new graphic novel that aims to give readers an insight into psychotherapy by offering both the therapist’s and the client’s prospective of the therapy process. Although none of the characters in Couch Fiction actually exist, in a note to the reader at the beginning of the book Philippa Perry comments that she has taken content from real people’s actual dreams for use in the story and that the relationship be ...more
Kritika Narula
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Diving into the book, I knew it isn't going to be a conventional story- and I was right. It is more of a resource than a tale- it gives interesting insights into the unsaid elements of a therapy session. As someone who goes for therapy, I found these deeply relatable at times, and I imagine that anyone who wants a raw, real picture of the sessions, and an understanding of what all goes through the mind of both the participants, would pick this up and find it useful.
I often found myself pausing
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
the footnotes are really what make the book.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book, if a bit slight. I also think it could have used with one more proofread of the copy.
Kl Baudelaire
Sep 15, 2015 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
Jun 18, 2012 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
chris tervit
May 03, 2010 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 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.
Shiraz Esat
Sep 19, 2015 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.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
An interesting take on the specifics of therapy, with annotations and human mistakes from the therapist. It's kind of a simplification, though, and it's very specifically analysis (Jungian, I think), so it's got the bias that a lot of psychology therapy books have, where their particular take on things really does almost magically solve all the problems.
Sue Black
Nov 19, 2011 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.
Lily Gordon
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very quick read, and good for anyone curious about psychotherapy. The book is funny and witty but also complex, providing footnotes that explain the methods the psychotherapist is using on her patient. It's more educational than narrative, although the story is interesting as well.
Nov 21, 2014 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?.
Kirsty Wayland
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I loved this - thought it was really interesting and accessible, and I learnt a lot.
Jul 10, 2013 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.
Metin Yılmaz
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Bir psikanaliz çizgi romanı. O an neler oluyor iki taraf için öğrenmek için güzel bir yol.
Samantha Penrose
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The footnotes were a bit of a distraction at first, but worthwhile, and less of an intrusion as the narrative gained momentum.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting notion. I think it provided the insight it aimed for.
Mar 15, 2014 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!
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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
More about Philippa Perry