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

Switching Time by Richard Baer
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's review
Jan 12, 2015

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 never dealt with a client with DID before, yet he managed to seamlessly help her integrate? LOL -- what a joke. Even clinicians experienced with complex trauma/DID work can't just "make" any multiple client integrate that simply or easily.

Also, he blamed Karen for the break-up of his marriage. Um... okay? So, Baer, you had NO part in your divorce? Yeah, okay, so the frequent midnight phone calls from Karen caused a problem between you and your wife... but that's not Karen's fault!! It's YOUR fault for not putting up appropriate boundaries.

Additionally, Baer made Karen sound like she was simple, like she couldn't do the easiest of tasks that singletons can do... when in reality -- okay, yes, sometimes people with DID get paralyzed by recurring memories, flashbacks (emotional or otherwise), body memories, etc. -- but there are a lot of multiples in high stress jobs, who are very successful. You would NEVER guess this, however, due to Baer's portrayal of Karen & co.

I talked with Jarrod about this book (which goes to show how angry it made me) and he suggested that maybe Baer's practice was failing if he is indeed as abysmal a clinician as this book makes him sound, and so he wrote a fictitious account of a client -- thus sensationalizing ritual abuse (RA), childhood sexual abuse (CSA), and DID. And as we all know, shit like that sells because people like reading about other people's misery. And with the profits from the book, Baer wouldn't have had to worry about his failing practice anymore.

I think that's a little cruel, but honestly, this book was so unimpressive. In all of my classes, I've been taught that the clinician is not to be considered "the expert" and is not to expect to "fix" people. But in this book?.... yeah. Baer is totally tooting his own horn, saying-without-saying that he is a hero for helping this poor useless lump of a woman with DID when no one else could, blah blah blah...

Seriously. If people can't write actually realistic accounts of treating DID, and go to the lengths that Baer did to sensationalize it and make himself sound awesome...... then they shouldn't write at all. And in fact, shouldn't be practicing clinicians at all either.

In case this weren't abundantly clear by now (lol) --
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 12, 2015 – Shelved
January 12, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jessica King you and I have approximately the exact same view on this book lol. Check out my review and tell me what you think maybe? It's awesome to know I'm not alone.

April Really liked your vlog! Yes, we did have very similar views on this book. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hated it (and I know I'm not, from reading other reviews, but still).

The best book on DID I have read so far (since you asked for recommendations) has been The Magic Daughter: A Memoir of Living with Multiple Personality Disorder. I've read a handful of others but either some of them are too unrealistic about the causes of DID (like Herschel Walker's book Breaking Free) or the style irritated me, like First Person Plural by Cameron West. However, the latter is one I would still recommend since it wasn't absolutely atrocious.

If you have any questions about DID, feel free to message me. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have that I am able to answer!

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