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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Psycho"therapy" and the Stories We Live By, written by Laurence Simon, is a non-fiction professional memoir on Laurence’s experiences, thoughts, and practice as a clinical psychologist. In this book, Laurence starts off with a detailed introduction that provides a comprehensive synopsis of the basis and subject of the book as well as how the book is organized. Next, the book is divided into several chapters, each of them talking about certain aspects of the general theme, which is that the modern American diagnostic criteria and the DSM lists have become a joke in the sense that every man, woman, and child on the planet can fit into one or more criteria and “diagnosis.” It emphasizes that the need is not to simply judge and try to modify external behaviors but to understand that each person simply adapts to their internal and external environment in the only way they can and instead help them understand themselves.
Psycho"therapy" and the Stories We Live By also goes on to talk about the “politics” of human interaction and whether it is democratic or authoritarian determines a lot of our personality development and ability to integrate into society and our relations with others. I agree with almost everything that Laurence has to say in this book. It is true that professional psychologists and psychiatrists are more concerned with making money and marking progress in terms of superficially trying to change external behaviors. The elements of human connection and understanding which are so vital in healing are missing. Laurence writes in such a clear, lucid, and informative manner that it is very easy for laypeople and professionals alike to grasp these concepts. I couldn’t put this book down and it is one of those rare books written by a professional psychologist that could prove revolutionary, just like Thomas Szasz revolutionized the field in an earlier era. This is a must-read book that I highly recommend!