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Listening in: A Novel of Therapy and Real Life [Paperback]

Kevin Chandler
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 April 2009
Listening In allows the reader to eavesdrop behind the closed door of the therapy room, where private and personal lives are stripped bare. Forty-something Patrick Chime is a talented therapist but terrible husband. When a client demands Patrick's personal, as well as professional, involvement in his life, he is forced to evaluate not only the true worth of the therapy but also the cost to him of a life spent listening in. As his world starts to unravel, and he learns more about his client's obsessions with the artist Degas and internet sex, Patrick comes to appreciate the parallels between therapy and prostitution and starts to question which is more genuine... Listening In is the debut novel by sexual counsellor and marital therapist Kevin Chandler.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press Ltd (6 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906373655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906373658
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin is a writer and therapist living on the edge of the southern Pennines with his second wife, Kim.

For over 20 years he trained Relate counsellors and still holds a small private practice working with adult individuals and couples experiencing personal and relationship difficulties.

His works of fiction include the novella, FIFTY-MINUTE HOUR (in the 2008 Legend Press collection, 'Eight Hours.') It is the intimate and moving story of a 30-something police officer dragged along to Relate by his female partner in a last desperate attempt to save their ailing relationship. In 2009, his debut novel, LISTENING IN: A Novel of Therapy and Real Life, was published by Accent Press. It is a powerful exploration of the interface between our personal and professional lives and the cost of a life spent 'listening in.'

Kevin writes the monthly 'In Practice' column for THERAPY TODAY (The journal of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy) and has had articles published on men and relationships, and on the fascinating and discomforting parallels between psychotherapy and prostitution.

He has recently written for Relate an eight episode screenplay of 'THE McINTYRE FAMILY' a fictional mini-drama series performed by the Hull Truck Theatre Company ~ which can be viewed online at

Kevin's other passions include walking in Spain, the occasional evening of 7-Card Stud poker with the 'boys' and supporting his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers ~ the former enriches soul more than wallet, and the latter usually end in tears.

His favourite writers include Howard Jacobson and AA Gill.

Kevin can be contacted by email:

Product Description


A cleverly ironic tale of love, betrayal and self-deception. A compelling read. --Zelda West-Meads, Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Kevin Chandler is a private therapist, specialising in relationship, marital, and sexual therapy, based in Yorkshire. He has trained many Relate counsellors during his career. He has written many short stories. Listening In is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read. 1 Jun 2009
'Listening In' is a novel that made me feel I was doing just that: listening in on the fascinating world of therapy/counselling, and on the lives and thoughts of Patrick and the other characters. I found it to be not only a compelling read but full of insights and issues that made me think. It is a book that lingers for being both thought-provoking and entertaining.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down.. 27 April 2009
By Cynthia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read an article that Kevin Chandler had written in April's edition of Therapy Today it was absorbing and well written piece so I bought 'Listening In'. I did not put it down until I had finished it. As a counsellor the story pushed a few buttons for me and I know I will be reading it again soon. I hope Mr Chandler has more books to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly absorbing 21 Jun 2009
This is a well-written and intriguing novel which allows the reader to "listen in" to a host of believable characters and their problems. It opens the door to the therapy room and provides a valuable insight into the world of the therapist. The book is written from a refreshing perspective which reveals that in the minefield of human relationships, the experts do not always equip themselves with sufficient body armour to withstand the shells and are as likely to be maimed as the rest of us. A thoroughly absorbing read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing insight into humanity 21 Jun 2009
An intriguing and interesting first novel which gives an insight into the world of therapy. The author captures the humanity of the characters which leads you to become engrossed in their lives and problems. The novel is difficult to categorise but is a thoroughly enjoyable read and provides an interesting slant on how the experts can be as flawed as the rest of us. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A great read for anyone remotely intrigued by what the world of a counsellor is like outside the therapy room as well as inside it.

The interaction between professional and private worlds are explored in a thoroughly believable way. All the characters are very human and so both flawed and gifted, but it is the way the main protagonist engages with his difficulties as they unfold that kept me glued to this book.

Also an insightful view into some of the challenges faced by male counsellors in an area of work seemingly dominated by females. The counsellor in this book is aware of the potential for erotic attraction between himself and his clients (not that that is limited to male counsellors) and how that threatens ethical boundaries. He also explores his wife being the main breadwinner and the impact on his relationships.

A key theme is how fostering genuine, intimate and non-judgemental relationships in one's professional life affects one's private relationships and indeed one's self relationship. Also considered are the parallels between the talking therapies and the world of prostitution. Where in both cases a deeply intimate one to one service is provided in private, for money and high levels of confidentiality are necessary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 31 May 2011
A delightful, page-turner of a story, no psycho-babble, yet with a profound understanding of the work, beautifully puncturing the idealised view of the therapist. Compassionate, well written, insightful & fun. I may not work in exactly the same way, but I respect the way of working described and it gave me food for thought. Whilst never mentioned explicitly, it highlights the importance of firm boundary management.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book. 25 April 2014
By Amanda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book assuming it was more of a study type. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm on the brink of starting my level four or maybe the foundation degree in counselling - and this book really brought a new light onto the subject. Loved it !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very deep, 17 April 2014
By Brenda
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To read about a person who is tearing himself down to build up his true understanding of himself has been absorbing fascinating, and moving, definitely recommend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nowt so strange as folk
The author draws on his wide experience of human neuroses, dilemmas and messy lives to entertain and inform ! There is a well-
Published 10 days ago by Jenny Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
very good
Published 14 days ago by VB
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read intelligently written
A great read I couldn't put it down. Kevin Chandler poke from an informed perspective really well done.. More please
Published 11 months ago by Al
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having read it I went on to read "Lying on the Couch" and "When Neitzsche Wept", both of which were also fascinating and engrossing reads.
Published 18 months ago by A Well Read Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read and educational too
Have you ever wondered what Psychotherapy is about and how it 'heappens'? This engaging fictional account and novel written by a psychotherapist will give you some insight. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ant
3.0 out of 5 stars Listening In by Kevin Chandler
I started reading this book whilst on holiday in Sardinia. By the end of the week I'd only managed to read half of it, so I bought the Kindle verson on my return home. Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Lesley
1.0 out of 5 stars Read first 3 pages
Glad other people have enjoyed the book. However, to me the therapist seemed weirdly sexist and misogynist - e.g. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2012 by minty
4.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading
A really good read & I did enjoy it. However, like is the case with many books I read, I found the ending disappointing.
It did not seem to have much of a conclusion. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by Bargain Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars What really goes in therapy
Brilliant read.

Flawed hero who is also a good therapist.

If you have ever wondered what really goes in therapy, this book is wonderfully true-to-life. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by Elisabeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Listening In
Listening In is a good read for people who know a bit about therapy. I work in Adult Education and employ tutors who work in this area. Read more
Published on 20 Mar 2011 by KatieS
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