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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful.
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.
Published 3 months ago by Miss E M Coleman

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Psychotherapy puppets
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...
Published on 5 July 2010 by Sam Quixote


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful., 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend this book, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 5 Mar 2014
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Couch Fiction, 15 Oct 2013
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
Written by Philippa Perry and illustrated by Junko Graat, Couch Fiction is an innovative new graphic novel that aims to give readers an insight into psychotherapy by offering both the therapist's and the client's prospective of the therapy process. Although none of the characters in Couch Fiction actually exist, in a note to the reader at the beginning of the book Philippa Perry comments that she has taken content from real people's actual dreams for use in the story and that the relationship between the therapist and the client is typical of psychotherapy case studies. Effectively, Perry guarantees that although Couch Fiction is indeed a work of fiction, it is also an accurate and informative illustration of the psychotherapy process. In order to fulfil such promises, Perry departs from the traditional approach to graphic novels with Couch Fiction in that she includes under the illustrated panels fairly detailed notes that discuss the ramifications of, and motivations behind, psychotherapy.

Setting out to provide readers with an accurate insight into counselling is an audacious undertaking which could be tricky to achieve. With Couch Fiction Perry gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective of therapy sessions so that readers can "peep through the key-hole of the therapy room door and, more than that, read the minds of the protagonists." The case study that Perry presents is that of Pat, a sandal-wearing, cat-loving psychotherapist, and her new client James, a kleptomaniac barrister. James's compulsion to steal could well cost him his career if it is discovered and so he has come to Pat in the hopes of a cure for his behaviour. At the beginning of his sessions with Pat, James's behaviour puzzles even himself. He has plenty of money and access to lots of nice things so why does he jeopardize his livelihood and his respectability by pilfering small items from trusting shopkeepers? Being a bit of a pompous ass, James is in denial about his problems and, while apparently seeking help, treats Pat rather contemptuously. However, as they keep talking, a level of trust is built up between Pat and James so that he is able to divulge some things from his past that his therapist believes may have a bearing on his present.

Couch Fiction is a very interesting, indeed educational, book that has enough humour and pathos to make it entertaining too. Perry is a very experienced therapist herself (although apparently she has never has a client suffering from kleptomania) and so she is able to give a detailed and seemingly accurate insight into therapy sessions and the inner workings of a therapist's mind. She must have observed a good deal of clients over the course of her career so far and so it is no surprise that the characterization of James rings true too. Watching the relationship between Pat and James develop over the course of a year as they begin to build trust, form an understanding of one another, and eventually begin to successfully tackle James's problems is actually quite compelling. There is just enough technical information and detail to make the story believable but not so many concepts and issues that they become a chore to read though.

Couch Fiction is presented in black and white with wonderful illustrations by Junko Graat that help to lead the reader through James's therapeutic journey. While the notes that Perry has included at the bottom of most pages are interesting, stopping to read them can disrupt the flow of the story. It might be worth reading straight through the pure graphic novel of Couch Fiction first to absorb the details of Pat and James's story and then giving it a second reading where you pause to digest the additional notes.

Couch Fiction is one of the most unusual graphic novels that I had read recently and it is also one of the best. I would recommend it highly to people who enjoy the realism of Harvey Pekar and Daniel Clowes as well as to those who have limited experience of graphic novels but who wish to learn more about the practical experience of psychotherapy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to and explanation of therapy, 22 April 2013
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This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Psychotherapy puppets, 5 July 2010
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Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (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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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great advert for psychotherapists., 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
I don't want to be completely negative about this book so I will start with aspects of it which were actually pretty good. I mainly liked the visual elements of this product. It's graphic form (even though I didnt particuarly like the drawing style)quite magically made the information contained within the book very easy to comprehend. The book its self is a rather unusual size, pleasant to look at and to hold.

So what didn't I like? Well, although this books is supposed to be aimed at prospective clients, as well as therapists & students, I'd say it would be largely unhelpful & perhaps even harmful for someone who is actually looking into getting therapy to read it. I say this in the main because it goes into great detail about the thoughts going on inside Patricia, the rather chilly therapists head during the featured therapy sessions- thoughts which include finding the client sexually attractive & later on as we find out, visa versa. Shockingly, as I guess author contrived) these thoughts are even later illustrated by a drawing of the client & therapist having imagined sex. Personally, I am no prude & as most people do, I know that sexual attraction is a common concern within the caring profession, but, I really don't think that a prospective client would benefit in any way by having this potential issue highlighted so vividly. After reading this book, particuarly on this matter but also on other musings of 'Patricia', I think it could definitely prove to be a case of 'don't think of the elephant' to the new client...who is obviously already overburdened.

My main other criticism concerns the choice of client. The very weatlthy kleptomaniac character used I'd imagine very few could relate to. This kind of leaves you with the impression that psychotherapy is only for the well heeled.

All in all good idea novelly presented, but absolutely best kept within the profession as I fear this book could potentially put many people who need councelling off getting the help which they so desperately need.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Jun 2014
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (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. But Pat tends to go too fast so she disregards his possible discomfort and ploughs straight in."

"When Freud and a patient made a breakthrough, they often paused for a celebratory cigar to let the realisation sink in, but that is not Pat's style."
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5.0 out of 5 stars I shouldn't really review this..., 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (Paperback)
...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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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couch Friction..., 30 July 2010
This review is from: Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy (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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Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy
Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy by Philippa Perry (Paperback - 29 April 2010)
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