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Welcome to My Country Paperback – July 14, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A psychologist whose empathy with her patients is tempered by her own bout of treated mental disability takes readers into encounters with her dysfunctional clients. With disarming candor, she allows her voice to mingle with those of her patients?schizophrenics, borderline personalities, bulimics and others?in an inner-city residential unit. Slater traces the early years of her career, expressing her belief in the transforming power of love, and she shares with readers the almost imperceptible changes in her patients' feelings that her intimacy with them brings about. As she interviews a patient in the very place where she herself was once incarcerated, the author ponders anew the mystery of why she "managed somehow to leave behind at least for now what looks like wreckage, and shape something solid from life," while others have not. This debut book opens a vista on emotional and mental distress. First serial to Harper's; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

For many, the world of the schizophrenic, the suicidal, or the depressed is foreign and unpleasant. The apparent gap between ourselves and the sufferer often seems insurmountable. That is not the case, however, for psychologist and award-winning author Slater. Telling her patients' stories of emotional and physical suffering allows her to connect with the essence of the human spirit. According to Slater, the connections necessary for human life must be achieved through language. Those connections occur on a variety of levels and make use of the entire range of human communicative skills. She describes how one patient's embrace of a flower in a garden speaks volumes about his state of being, or how a woman's daily struggle with depression teaches us about having faith in what tomorrow brings. Along the way Slater delivers some harsh judgments about the failures of many contemporary therapies. In these essays the author's tender and poetic treatment of her patients' struggles is both heartwarming and wrenching. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
David R. Johnson, Fayetteville P.L., Ark.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st Anchor Books ed edition (July 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385487398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385487399
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LAUREN SLATER is the author of "The $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animals" (Beacon Press, 2012) and "Playing House: Notes of a Reluctant Mother" (Beacon Press, Nov. 2013). A psychologist and writer, Slater is the author of five books of nonfiction: Welcome to My Country, Prozac Diary, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, Love Works Like This, and Opening Skinner's Box, as well as a collection of short stories, Blue Beyond Blue. Slater has received numerous awards, including a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts award, multiple inclusions in Best American volumes, and a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Photographer Photo Credit Name: Dianne Newton, 2012.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra on October 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
"I have learned that the only way to enter another's life is to find the vector points where my self & another self meet...There is no way, I believe, to do the work of therapy, which is, when all is said & done, the work of relationship, without finding your self in the patient & the patient's self in you. In this way, rifts within & between might be sealed, & the languages of our separate lives might come to share syllables, sentences, whole themes that bind us together".
This comes from the preface of "Welcome to my country". And, if the whole message of the book had to be put in one paragraph, this is the one. Never in this book does Lauren Slater write from a position of power, of "me versus them". Through her own recovery, through battling her own problems (see "Three Spheres") she knows what it is to reach out & touch that dark part within ourselves: the fact that she keeps the access open to that part of herself, the "sick" part, open to be used for understanding & relating to patients...this shows a great sensitivity, is not very common, & makes the book interesting & different.
Apart from this, the book contains 6 stories of therapy, the first in a group setting, the rest on an individual, one on one basis. All take place in the boston mental health clinic where the author worked, early in her practice. The stories are not the most original in the world, what makes the book original is SLater's personality & her writing, which often comes close to literature. I'm looking forward to more of her work.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best books on mental health problems I have ever read. Each chapter introduces and describes a different type of mental illness (depression, personality disorder, etc.) through anecdotes from the author's clients and treatment situations. The author has a beautiful writing style, and the descriptions of the clients and their problems make them understandable not just intellectually but emotionally by the reader in a way that few books about mental health problems ever do, as few authors write this well or can empathize with the patients as Ms. Slater does. One can actually understand and feel what the patient does; this is not just a dry clinical book, which is frequently the case with topics such as this. Aside from understanding and feeling with the patients, it also helps one appreciate life and the human mind and soul better. I wish the author had written more books; I only hope she does in the future, as I will read them all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kathy.woods@jwtworks.com on November 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
Slater recalls her treatment of some of her most memorable clients. From her work at a group home for chronic schizophrenic males to an offensive, aggressive and violent man diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, Slater discusses how she reached out to these clients and tried to create a positive change in their lives. When she is asked to counsel a girl at the same psychiatric hospital where Slater was once a patient herself, memories come flooding back, along with the fear that she will be recognized and her career will be ruined. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in psychology, mental disorders or the therapy process.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Golick on September 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ms. Slater's portrayal of life in the mental health system is fascinating and poingnant. As a counselor myself, I could relate to her struggles with the individual clients. Her candor and self-disclosure, not only about her therapeutic process but her own struggles with mental illness, makes this book not only a good clinical tool, but a great read. I recommend this book to anyone interested in pursuing a career in mental health, or to people who are currently in therapy who want to know what it's like on the other side of the couch.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book was fasinating reading about the dynamics between a therapist (with problems )trying to help her patients with similar difficulties. This set-up distinguishes Welcome to My Country from other, author-centered-self indulgent books (like PROZAC NATION). I really felt like I could relate to this author. She was so successful in her career yet she simply had a few things missing in her life (I'll leave those to you to figure out). I have read many books about women with mental problems but this is one of my favorites. It is simpler than PROZAC NATION but I think just as effective in terms of remembering characters and plot several months after you finish the book. The characters are not superficial. Not everybody would like this book. Rather, it is for the reader who likes deep literature and is not afraid of reading about all kinds of emotional problams. Moreover, much of Lauren's life revolves around pychology, so one should not read this book unless they love that topic, or are in need of an emotional story. I highly recommend this to anyone in the mental health or helping professions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book of real-life, colorful experiences of a psychologist and the schizophrenic men and other patients with whom she has works. The author shows that her patients are often insightful, not unlike herself, sometimes enviable and sometimes tragic. Her prose is equally engaging One of my favorite books in a long time that I think is a must-read for everyone interested in the mental health profession, and a great read for everyone else
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