To Wrestle With Demons: A Psychiatrist Struggles to Understand His Patients and Himself

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9780880485463: To Wrestle With Demons: A Psychiatrist Struggles to Understand His Patients and Himself

To Wrestle With Demons offers a rare glimpse of a psychiatrist's innermost thoughts about how his work affects patients, deeply move him, and reflects the society in which we live.
Describing the unconscious as music, "a silent and explosive score," Dr. Ablow recalls the process of helping patients ferret out the past from the deep recesses of their minds. In so doing, he becomes enchanted with "the subtlety and power of human interaction." He describes the lonely gentleman who, gaining a sense of security from hearing voices, refuses the medication that would take them away...the depressed woman whose extreme dependence on others is rooted in a violent and abusive childhood...the doting husband whose obsessive devotion to his ill wife harks back to the tragic loss of a childhood friend.
In delving into the minds of his patients, Dr. Ablow must also wrestle with his own demons. He speaks with unabashed candor about the guilt he feels exchanging empathy for money, his struggle to help a homeless veteran, and the embarrassment of warning a mother of her son's intent to kill her. Through his eyes, the reader confronts a patient's suicide and a close colleague's murder.
While sharing these private revelations, Dr. Ablow provides to us all a looking glass to society. Discussed here, among many issues are poverty, the insanity defense, patients' rights, sexual malpractice, and changing medical economics. Captured is the critical moment which psychiatry now finds itself - attempting to integrate technology with spirituality, science with the soul, and economics with empathy.
To Wrestle With Demons offers anyone who has ever wondered whether psychiatrists are touched by the lives of their patients a resounding yes.

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From Publishers Weekly:

A young psychiatrist examines his responses to his first years on the job in these essays, originally published in the Washington Post . As a resident in an unidentified Boston hospital, Ablow tells us about his patients, colleagues and supervisors with youthful, though measured, enthusiasm and in direct prose uncluttered by jargon. A woman comes to the mental health clinic with a mystifying symptom: her feet feel as if they're burning. She and Ablow discover the sensation originated when her grandson went to Saudi Arabia to serve in Desert Storm. Surprised during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings to hear a respected male psychiatrist make a blatantly sexist remark about a female resident, Ablow notes that even in supposedly enlightened psychiatric circles, sexism continues to "smolder underground." Other subjects include the use of electro-shock therapy and drugs in treatment. Ablow's main topic remains the individuals he sees, and in the connections he forged with them he finds proof of his belief that "we are much more alone than we need to be."
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This book is a collection of short essays that originally appeared in the Washington Post , discussing a number of topics, such as electroshock therapy, the controversial antidepressant Prozac, the problems of the homeless, and the dynamics of the patient/therapist relationship. Ablow is a fine writer, but despite the book's subtitle, we learn little about him or his patients. Sometimes a collection of newspaper articles becomes more than the sum of its parts, but in this case the result feels thin. Public libraries that do not keep back issues of the Washington Post and are not too strapped for cash (if such exist) may want to consider this title; others can wait for this promising author to write a "real" book.
- Mary Ann Hughes, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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