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Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery

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Gildiner describes Alana’s ego as “fragile at best” while adding that she “attained the highest IQ score I’d ever given. All five are quite different in terms of the ways in which the psychological damage manifested, but all are very much the same in that they started with mothers largely absent (whether through death, physical abandonment, or emotional abandonment) and fathers cruel or weak or hapless. I recognize that the dialogue attributed to Alana during this portion of her therapy is meant to convey the suppressed anger starting to bubble up as well as the misdirection of that anger. She is reminded of her own childhood and the element of strife which in her subconscious helps explain why she chose the patients she did for her book. I found it refreshing that the author did not shy away from pointing out her own mistakes during treatment.

Consent is touched on in the author's note, but when the author mentions talking about the book with her patients throughout the text, the exchange sounds more like Catherine Gildiner telling the patients they will be included rather than asking permission.

Last year I listened to and LOVED Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed and although this one definitely has a more serious tone I still found the 5 cases presented fascinating. At the end of each section, Gildiner describes why she deems this patient heroic and, in some instances, meets with the patient years after his or her therapy has concluded to gather their own assessment of their heroic qualities. Makes you appreciate the 'could have beens' that you escaped and appreciate the solid grounding of your life . While I praise her on going to extra mile to educate herself her response to Dannys abuse felt disrespectful.

Gildiner's patients received every morning from her mother, which set the stage for years' worth of damage to the patient's psyche. Right in the middle of tediously recounting every aspect of every abusive incident, Giildiner breaks from the narrative to dangle the promise of yet another salacious detail to come. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of GOOD MORNING MONSTER by Catherine Gildiner in exchange for my honest review. The book starts with an Author's Note about seeking the patients' consent (which is described in each patient's section and appears to be more the author informing them that she is writing about them in a "case study" - i.Examining the ways her mother has shaped and harmed her become the focus of Gildiner’s time with Madeline. Intimacy is when you’re familiar with your emotions, then share your feelings, your fears, your shame, your hopes and joys with another person. Konrad Lorenz, a zoologist, pointed out—and this is part of what won him a Nobel Prize—that attachment can be understood within an evolutionary context in that the mother provides safety for the infant.

Madeline is 36 years old when she arrives in Gildiner’s office, referred by her father, a former patient. In introducing their relationship, the author made some narrative decisions that I disagree with, for example deadnaming Jane, and describing Jane's transition using incorrect pronouns. Keli metai vien tam, kad pajudintum paviršių, išleisiantį visus demonus ir priežastis kodėl žmogui dabar gyventi sunku. It’s sort of like someone telling you “did you hear about… oh I shouldn’t say anything,” just irritating and provoked unwanted thoughts for me.Canadian therapist Catherine Gildiner, retired after twenty-five years of practice in clinical psychology, draws five patients forward from her files to illustrate what it means to be a hero. My undergraduate degree is in psychology, so I’m always interested in books about psychotherapy and the resilience of human mind in the face of trauma and abuse. I also appreciated that at the end of each section, she shared how she approached the patient to discuss including their story in the book. She was referred to me through a general practitioner, who in his recorded message said, “She’ll fill you in on the details.

As in such recent classics as The Glass Castle and Educated, each patient embodies self-reflection, stoicism, perseverance, and forgiveness as they work unflinchingly to face the truth. Effective therapy is about lowering your defenses so that you can deal with the issues that arise in your life. She goes on, with a wing and a prayer, to use her training, grit, curiosity, compassion, self-reflection, and humility to seek help when she needs it, to take patients who are barely functional from complex PTSD to people whose post-traumatic growth is both astonishing and heart-warming.

This is being billed as an "inspiring" book, but I'm not sure inspired is the emotion I felt after reading it. Psychotherapists will recognize the narratives as teaching stories, the kind they heard and read in graduate school, and find valuable insights for treating their own patients—and, if they are reflective, to learning about themselves. The book also addresses and handles physical appearance, weight, homosexuality, gender transition, and even race in an extremely indelicate way.

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