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The Other Side of the Couch
The Other Side of the Couch (published in hardback as The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head) is a spellbinding record of Dr. Small’s most bewildering cases, from naked headstands and hysterical blindness to fainting schoolgirls and self-amputations. It is an illuminating journey into the mind of a practicing psychiatrist and his life in medicine as it evolves over time – a behind-the scenes look at the field and a variety of mental diseases as they’ve never been seen or diagnosed before. You’ll find yourself exploring the puzzling eccentricities that make us human.
Often funny, sometimes tragic, and always compelling, Dr. Small takes you on a tour of his career that moves from the halls of a crowded inner-city Boston emergency room to the multi-million dollar ski lodges of the nation’s elite.
What really stands out about this book is that Dr. Small and his wife Gigi Vorgan have mastered the art of storytelling that has long been a valued method of communication for many individuals in the world of business or science . . . And as Dr. Small mentions, it is his hope that the book will prove to be entertaining as well as help those who may fear psychiatrists to overcome their fears and perhaps secure help if needed. Has the book succeeded? I believe it has come through with flying colors.
– Norm Golman
With humor, compassion, empathy, and insight, Small searches for and finds the humanity that lies hidden under even the most bizarre symptoms.
– Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive
and A Whole New Mind
Psychiatrists, counselors, and the like are in a unique position. They are in possession of incredibly interesting stories, yet the constraints of confidentiality and ethical concerns make sharing them difficult. Balancing the maintenance of privacy with the urge to tell—what are stories for, if not for sharing?—is a tricky matter. Small achieves that feat in this collection of “his most bizarre cases.” This is not a metaphor. While working a psychiatric ward shift as a new doctor, he is faced with an unresponsive client who is naked and standing on her head. Another client seems obsessed with having an arm amputated. A couple faces conflicting dreams and nightmares of a Disneyland wedding. Small’s stories cover the entire range of his more than 20-year career, from his fumbling attempts at looking professional with a client who is certain he’s trying to seduce her, to a recent encounter with a mentor who feels that his career has been a fraud. The stories are witty; the clients are treated respectfully, and the reader reaps the reward.
– Matthew Tiffany
Dr. Small’s journey offers an insider’s view into how mental health professionals grow. I found it hard to put this treasure of a book down, and still now reflect on the various lives Dr. Small and his wife and writing partner, Gigi Vorgan, have so vividly shared through these thoughtful lessons in wisdom and what it means to be human.
– Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.,
author of Mindsight and Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA