Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: How Does That Make You Feel?

"Wally Lamb wrote, 'God exists in the roundness of things.' As the present becomes the past, I know every summer ends. September is always right around the corner, yet it arrives when we least expect it and are ill-prepared for the changes it brings. We do our best. We fling ourselves into the air and hope to land on solid ground."

Seal Press's latest anthology, "How Does that Make You Feel? True Confessions from both sides of the therapy couch" debuts today and how apt that the above quote was included in one of the essays, "Lies I Told My Therapist" and not just for the month this collection comes out.

Therapy is a risk, for not just those seeking help, but those providing it and such stories are portrayed a plenty. There is the young woman, seeking help despite it being frowned upon in her community to seek the help of white people in Jenine Holmes' essay, "Therapy is for White People." Or those who encounter less than exemplary help or those who would pervert it altogether, as found in Pamela Rafalow Grossman's essay, "With Some Gratitude to My Asshole Former Therapist" who despite being a terrible therapist, ended up helping her nonetheless. Or in Laura Bogart's essay, "My Shrink's Ultimatum," where the author must decide if her therapist's advice is worth following, at the sake of her self preservation.

But this collection also contains small and large beautiful moments of people receiving the help they very desperately need and it's not always the patient. Juli Fraga's essay, "When the Therapist Cries" is a moving piece about patient boundaries and how to navigate them as a human being, let alone a therapist. Or Allison McCarthy's piece, "How About a Hug?" covering similar issues, but from the view of the patient.

At the very core of therapy and counseling and all the other names, it is flawed humans helping flawed humans. Two of the essays in the collection, illustrate this beautifully. In Martha Crawford's, "Back into the Wild", she states

                "I wonder about the other creatures-- the ones that were healed and released.....Preserving                    the calls of the wild for those that are in danger of forgetting. Allowing those who know                      little of their own animal instinct to listen in a language that they can tolerate."

Therapists bridge the gap as rehabilitated animals from a sanctuary, speaking the tongues of both sides.

And finally, in Megan Devine's "I'm Not the Right One for This Job,"

             "In all of it, in everything I do now, I'm speaking from that spot....I don't want that for you. I                don't want you to look back and think you lost yourself somewhere. I'm telling you in                            tenderness because I want that for myself."

A moving anthology showing the rawness and utter mistakes of human life, but realizing life is richer for it.

Photo Credit: Amazon
Disclaimer: A friend is published in this volume and I received a pdf review copy.

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