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Crazy: Notes On And Off The Couch Hardcover – June 14, 2011
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“The life, times, and thoughts of a New York therapist are put on display in a candid account of what goes on behind the doctor’s door—and in his head—during a day filled with patients and self-doubt. Tackling serious mental-health subjects without being overly reverent, shrinktalk.net blogger Dobrenski maintains a snappy pace. Patients are not spared his keen observations, which help to answer the vexing question: Am I paranoid, or does my shrink think I'm crazy—and sloppy? . . . But Dobrenski also puts himself under the microscope. . . . Clean, honest writing makes for an engaging read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“It takes a truckload of guts to write a book this honest about one’s profession. To pen one as funny and insightful as Crazy is, simply, amazing. You’ll never view therapy in the same light again.” --The Philadelphia Lawyer, author of Happy Hour Is for Amateurs
“If you ever wondered what your shrink was like out of office hours, then this is the book for you. A fascinating, thought-provoking and at times hilarious, read.” --Robin Baker, author of Sperm Wars and Primal
"Fun for anyone who’s wondered what it’s like to make a living by listening to other people’s troubles all day." - Library Journal
"A refreshing memoir...a solid step in the right direction of reminding patients that treatment can be a two-way street." - Shelf Awareness
From the Inside Flap
a child about his fears of school an hour later, the psychologist then meets with a therapist to deal with his own anxieties, followed by lunch with his socially-phobic colleague who’s already had four martinis by 1 p.m. All this, and it’s
What most of us don’t realize is that while mental health professionals are trying to help people resolve their problems, they often suffer from depression and anxiety, take antipsychotics, self-medicate with booze, and struggle in their own relationships. In other words, they can be just as “crazy” as their patients.
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Top Customer Reviews
Tucker has sex with midgets and craps across a hotel lobby. Phila Lawyer drunk drives evidence away from the scene of a crime and shows up to court in even worse states. Dr. Rob's work, the professional things he deals with in an office, for pay, licensed under the law, make those other stories look like child's play. Which is a bit ironic, given Dr. Rob's childish appearance.
Crazy is an intensely well rounded look at the life of a psychologist, both in terms of the patients treated and the mental battles the doctor himself deals with. There's a good deal of humor up front, with a blind patient who finds driving on the highway therapeutic, a high school Screech-type who makes the entirely understandable mistake of confusing agnosticism with terrorism, and a good helping of schadenfreude as Rob tries to cope with not breaking up with a girl he was never really in a relationship with in the first place.
But, it's no surprise that the world of mental disease isn't all fear of sunshine and imagined rainbows. We also see patients struggle with loved ones who have died, accidents that should have killed them, being the victim of sexual assault, and also being the perpetrator. Some patients appear to recover fully, while others are faced with slugging through a life where the best case scenario is marginal improvement.
The writing is gripping, with an appropriate amount of gravitas, while also being self aware that the doctor doesn't have all the answers, and that sometimes there aren't any answers to begin with.
My only complaint is that having been an avid fan of Rob's blog, ShrinkTalk.net, it's clear that Crazy is merely the tip of the iceberg of what happens on and off the couch. But, as far as complaints go, being left wanting more is pretty minor. ...And probably the work of some shrinky voodoo.
Because Dobrenski is a funny writer, I thought the answer might humiliate me. Nope. Instead, what I found was a ton of insight and empathy. Even when he's dealing with convicted sex offenders, Rob admits to his discomfort and offers insights instead of going for any kind of cheap laughs. His chapter on PTSD was riveting and led me to do research on the topic. But where Rob really wins is in his writings about relationships. I wish I hadn't bought it on Kindle, because I know several people I'd loan this book to right now because they could really use the thing. I may need to buy more copies.
By talking about his own relationship issues, Rob puts himself at the same level as he sees his patients. He's in therapy over a broken heart and so are many of his clients. His thoughts on marriage are brilliant and I truly hope his next book is a funny guide to marriage and relationships.
I read a lot of books, and "Crazy" is definitely one of a kind. Part memoir, part self-help (NOT in the traditional way), part humor . . . I highly recommend.