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Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy Paperback – 29 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230252036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230252035
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review


'Philippa Perry's cute and clever graphic novel aims to be both an entertaining work of fiction and an introduction to psychotherapy...Perry's form suits her mission, Junko Graat's cheerful black and white sketches rendering the dreams, thoughts and alter egos that circulate around Pat's sofa...It's an appealing accessible read - perfect for a waiting room.' - The Guardian

'If you've got even a passing interest in psychotherapy you'll want to read this graphic novel three times, at least.' - Time Out

'I loved it. I smiled and laughed. And nodded. One to read for sure.' - Susie Orbach, author and columnist

'...set to capture the attention of the capital's culture vultures.' - Evening Standard

'Funtastic: How therapy works with all the fun of a cartoon.' - Oliver James is a clinical psychologist, author and broadcaster


'Perry delivers that rarity: an edifying page-turner.' - The Scotsman

'Philippa Perry has succeeded brilliantly in demystifying the complexities of the psychotherapeutic encounter by demonstrating not only something about the private conversations which transpire in the consulting room, but also by revealing the hidden thought processes in the mind of both the client and the psychotherapist. Her beautifully illustrated book "Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy" will be essential reading for anybody contemplating therapy, and would make an ideal gift for friends and colleagues.' - Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health at the Centre for Child Mental Health, London, and Honorary Visiting Professor at Roehampton University.

'The charming pictures show psychotherapy working; the witty and brilliant notes explain how and why.'
- Dr Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats

'It is a rare thing to find such an informative and accessible book. Recommended as a good way to get a picture of what happens in psychotherapy.'
- Diana Shmukler, Visiting Professor of Psychotherapy, Middlesex University, and formerly Associate Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa


'...this funny and enjoyable book will become required reading for psychotherapy students and would benefit anyone with even a casual interest in psychotherapy. Those who are thinking of consulting a therapist might 'dip their toe in' here, as might any lover of graphic fiction who relishes evesdropping on the lives of others...' - Paul Gravett, Graphic Medicine

'I've read hundreds of books about therapy and this is among the best…it has a wicked sense of humour and a great sense of style. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered therapy but been afraid to ask, for therapists who want to remind themselves why their profession matters and to anyone tempted to say that therapy is nonsense…' Alain de Botton, The Times


'Couch Fiction is one of the most unusual graphic novels that I had read recently and it is also one of the best.' - Bookgeeks.co.uk

'...funny and irreverent, but it also answers many of the questions people have about what therapy is, and how it works...' - The Observer


'In a departure from the graphic novel format, Perry adds a technical analysis of the thoughts and actions of her characters underneath the panels. This analysis adds a layer not usually present in a graphic novel, giving a more in depth understanding of the psychiatric issues discussed.' - The Guardian Science Blog

'...extols the virtues of psychoanalysis with warmth and gentle humour...' - Deborah Orr, The Guardian

'Couch Fiction has a mischievous humour that means it would make a great stocking filler for a therapist friend this Christmas. However, this graphic novella can also be recommended for its genuine educational value, which would make it a good text for any introductorycounselling course.' - Therapy Today


'This tale of psychotherapy in graphic novel form is nicely done. The footnotes explaining technical terms and ideas comment not only on why Patricia does what she does, but also what mistakes she makes. It is an instructive guide to modern psychotherapy that will appeal not only to those who know nothing about it but also those who have been in therapy already. The book is a quick and enjoyable read, and the graphic form provides an emphasis on the two different perspectives of therapist and client that would be hard to achieve with prose alone. It's a nice depiction of ordinary parts of therapy that often go unmentioned.' - Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College,USA,Metapsychology Online Reviews

Book Description

A visually compelling and thought-provoking case-study, captivatingly told with witty detailing. Once picked up, this graphic novel is exceedingly difficult to put down.....

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter King on 11 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this.

The graphic novel format and accompanying brief notes give an immediacy that make it easy to follow. I suspect that I retained and was reminded of more information relevant for practice than from many more weighty tomes. My orientation in psychotherapy is psychodynamic so it is only to be expected that I found this enjoyable and validating, but I'm certain that the simplicity of the format makes it a valuable read for all perspectives. I would have found a book such as this a godsend back in the late 1980s when I was struggling to get my head around applying David Malan's "Two Triangles" in clinical practice, while trying to keep at bay the "Get it Right" monkey sitting on my shoulder. Although the accompanying notes are brief they have a real clarity, for instance I thought the succinct explanation of the spectrum of dissociation excellent.

Here are some extracts from the accompanying notes that I particularly liked. Please note that these do not necessarily reflect the text as a whole.

"The therapist in this story is not rigidly adhering to this theory. She is not a perfect therapist and there is no such thing".

"She missed this. It does not matter. If it is important that a behavioural pattern be addressed, the client will invariably either demonstrate it again, or bring it up later on."

"Here Pat is going too fast for James in looking for triggers for his behaviour. It would serve him better at this stage if she empathised with him more."

"A lot of psychotherapy is about striving to make an effective non-shaming intervention, but striving for something does not mean you'll succeed."

"She also knows she should investigate the feelings behind the defensive behaviour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 July 2010
Format: Paperback
The book is a graphic depiction of a psychotherapy case of a man "James" who is a successful barrister who begins to steal for no reason. His kleptomania is explored by his therapist "Pat". Revelations occur and James is cured.

I read this thinking it would be an interesting comic and, as a comics fan of both popular and indie varieties, gave this a try. Unfortunately it's not very interesting or well drawn.

First off, the "characters" never seem real but just cyphers for the author to put into situations that can put forward psychotherapy instruction. James: "I am beginning to resonate with the idea that an unacknowledged feeling can rule me, whereas I can have more control over the ones I know about." (p.96). Sort of hypothetical scenarios for demonstrative purposes with mannequins.

Furthermore, these scenarios feature footnotes that explain what's going on in the cartoon section, sort of a running commentary throughout. Because of this the comic never takes off as a story and heightens the sense that it is an introductory-type pamphlet on psychotherapy to those interested in it.

The book is basically if Freud's "Dora" was illustrated this would be it, drawn by a less talented Posy Simmonds or Gabrielle Bell. Possibly good to those with a passing interest in psychotherapy, but not a great comic and not a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miss E M Coleman on 13 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A really interesting experience for anyone interested in either giving or receiving therapy. I'm training as a counsellor and found it to be a really useful read - the drawings are also great at showing what could be going on in someone's mind throughout the therapy process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Original AD on 15 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the machinations of therapy, this is a great read from an honest psychotherapist. I like the concept that the story has been visualised as a graphic novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...because I wrote it. It's not conventional. It took me five years to persuade a publisher to take it on because it is neither a straightforward comic book, nor a psychotherapy text book. There is a story running through it and you can read it just on that level, but there are also copious footnotes, which is like another book to read along side the story part of the book. I have tried to make psychoanalytic and humanistic theories interesting, because they are. I felt compelled to make this comic because such theory is usually laid out in dull, unreadable academic speak making what should be interesting, impenetrable. This, I hope, is the opposite of that and it makes psychotherapy theories accessible and even entertaining. I agree with some of the reviews on here that are somewhat critical, except the one that says that this should only be for professionals as it might put potential clients off. No, its for everyone (so long as they don't mind explanations of erotic transference, someone objected to that too).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jen Smith on 5 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
Working in a related field, I was intrigued to read this book and definitely found it useful. It's a unusual format but one that works very well for the subject matter. It is both humorous, informative and educational, recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mme L on 22 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book highly enjoyable! It is a clear and fun explanation of what goes on in therapy, on both sides.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By nancydrew on 30 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I've got to disagree strongly with Wiggles - this is a lucid, succinct work - and that applies to both the writing as well as the artwork. Sure, it may not be a traditionally told narrative - but surely that's the whole point! Comics allow you to tell stories in a different way - and what i think Perry effectively achieves here is drawing the layman into the process of analysis without treating them like idiots. Graat's artwork really works in that, as with the clear simplicity of Tintin and early Popeye, it really serves the story, paring images down to their essential meanings. Bravo to both the writer and artist for creating a really exciting graphic novel quite like anything that has gone before!
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