The Listener: A Psychoanalyst Examines His Life

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9780393047837: The Listener: A Psychoanalyst Examines His Life
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A successful psychologist turns his "listener" gift inward, confronting the tyranny of his father, his relationship with an overprotective mother, and the personal revelations that eventually propelled him into psychology

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About the Author:

Allen Wheelis lives and practices in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, among them How People Change.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Now in his 80s, Wheelis offers a sometimes pungent memoir of his boyhood and later life. Though his mother lives to be nearly 100 and figures most prominently in this brief volume (Wheelis recycles some incidents from his earlier memoir, The Life and Death of My Mother, 1992), its his father, who died young, whose portrait emerges most strongly. A domineering man, Morris Wheelis ruled the household from his sickbed on the enclosed porch of the family home in San Antonio, Tex., where he spent years laid up with tuberculosis. In order to teach his young son a lesson in responsibility, one summer Mr. Wheelis made young Allen trim the lawnblade by blade, on his hands and knees, with a hand-held razor, because the family was too poor to have a mower. It took him virtually an entire summer, a summer he longed to spend playing ball with his friends. It was one of Allens earliest lessons in longingfor it is longing that this psychoanalyst believes is at the core of our being, it is the hidden reality.'' Wheeliss account of his early life is is peppered with viscerally felt scenes. But the account of his later life, of his second marriage (his first he passes over with a mere mention), of the impossibility of achieving a true union with his wife, of her pursuit of him and his efforts to escape into work, is inherently more diffuse and pale. He says of his wife, Ilse, Herself a psychoanalyst, she had a gift for intimacy, and when the days work was done wanted only to be with me, while I, hurting still from an ancient wound, was driven to search for a meaning that would heal the wound. . . . Still, the memoir ends on a note of affirmation of the centrality of lovebut it lacks the emotional force of the earlier scenes of yearning. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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