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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skeleton Cupboard
I find books about psychology and psychologists fascinating reading and this one is no exception. The author takes us on a roller coaster ride through her training placements and the type of patients she encountered. There are frightening, heart- warming and incredibly sad and beautiful experiences. I found myself in tears on several occasions when reading this...
Published 1 month ago by Damaskcat

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than fiction
This book has a great opening, a strongly written narrative voice with dashes of wit and great insight. However it's not long before it descends into contrivance and girlishness. The author sets about recounting events during her training years as a young clinical pyschologist, but insists on giving the stories a fictionalised spin for the edification of the reader. A bit...
Published 1 month ago by Merv McManus


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skeleton Cupboard, 17 Jun 2014
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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I find books about psychology and psychologists fascinating reading and this one is no exception. The author takes us on a roller coaster ride through her training placements and the type of patients she encountered. There are frightening, heart- warming and incredibly sad and beautiful experiences. I found myself in tears on several occasions when reading this book.

The book is searingly honest about the author’s own failings and about how difficult she found it to learn that not everyone can be cured. Sometimes attempted cures can just make the problem worse and it is not possible to take on everyone’s problems. I thought she conveyed the essence of her prickly relationship with her supervisor extremely well and how she resented as well as welcomed her trenchant comments.
Some of the people she describes in this book are unforgettable. Ray the sociopath who manipulates everyone. Tom who is HIV positive and doesn’t have long to live. Imogen who at twelve has seen more of the evil side of human nature than many will see in a lifetime. Mollie – bright, intelligent and with the whole world at her feet and who wants to starve herself to death because her body is too fat. Harold – highly educated, who survived the horrors of the concentration camps only to slide into dementia in later life.

The book is very well written and really brings to life what it is like to work with people with mental health problems. It also showed me how close to such problems we all are throughout our lives. There is a useful list of resources at the end of the book for anyone who feels they may need help.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than fiction, 6 Jun 2014
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This book has a great opening, a strongly written narrative voice with dashes of wit and great insight. However it's not long before it descends into contrivance and girlishness. The author sets about recounting events during her training years as a young clinical pyschologist, but insists on giving the stories a fictionalised spin for the edification of the reader. A bit like a modern Canterbury Tales for mental health practitioners. While the author insists this is to protect confidentiality (is changing names not enough?) and to move the focus away from the individual and onto the condition and the processes involved in treating it, ultimately this seems not only wholly unnecessary but also makes for a much less engaging read. The beauty is in the detail of such stories, in their very messiness, and the book is at it's strongest when this detail is recalled in spite of the forced fictionalisation and imposed orderliness. The girly, wine fuelled, Bridget Jonesy chats amongst the narrator and her group of best friends do absolutely nothing except irritate the reader who is consequently inclined to take the author less seriously. Worse though is the tangible manipulation of events and characters in order to get across what are completely valid and interesting points and ideas about clinical psychology. You can't help feeling the book would have been so much better if the didactic, 'raising awareness' slant were dropped in favour of just telling you what happened. As the author points out, there are plenty of case books that do this, but they are rarely written with such flair, humour and humanity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre writing at best. If you are looking for another Oliver Sachs ..., 24 July 2014
Mediocre writing at best. If you are looking for another Oliver Sachs - this ain't it. To be fair it is an entertaining and light read, but as other reviewers have said, the author would have been better to focus more on the patients than on herself. The descriptions of her tutor's eating and drinking habits were sort of funny, but then got boring very quickly!

She is very critical of other disciplines in mental health, which does not come across well - more unprofessional and self-congratulatory on being a clinical psychologist. She cringes at the thought of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) as being barbaric without giving any facts about this treatment. As a student nurse in psychiatry I saw this work to amazing effect with a patient and transform their life completely for the better. And no, it didn't leave them brain-damaged as a lot of people assume happens with all patients.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 9 Jun 2014
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SM (England) - See all my reviews
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This is an interesting and educational read which has been superbly written.

Tanya Byron writes of her training as a psychologist. She writes of different case studies. But she hasn't written in an inaccessible or 'clinical' way at all. It has been written in an engaging way which a lot of people will enjoy.

She has managed to get across a sense of her own humility and personality as well as putting across the people and problems she encountered.

Yes... The book has been written in a 'popular' way, designed to appeal to a broad range of people and to sell... But I think it's a really human book which is well worth a read.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars awful, 10 July 2014
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Expensive and highly disappointing completely fictitious ( the authors words at the end of the book ) characters cliched characters. Far far better books have been written by mental health nurses. Waste of a lot of money for a thrown together and thoughtless jumble of made up characters.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly gripping history of a clinical psychologist in the making, 22 May 2014
This review is from: The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist (Hardcover)
I have heard Tanya Byron speak a number of times and I find her common sense approach in her columns very practical.
I was excited to hear she was writing her "memoirs" of how she chose her profession and her early encounters with patients.
This makes great reading and whilst the cases are not as idiosyncratic as those found in Oliver Sacks books, they feel more real and the analysis is a real eye opener. Prof Byron's writing is gripping and I admire her candour when she describes her nave start in an ever-shocking field. You wont look at the people opposite you on the train in the same way again......... definitely worth reading. highly recommended.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from the start, 23 May 2014
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This review is from: The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist (Hardcover)
An insight in to the early years of Prof Byron as a trainee Clinical Psychologist, The Skeleton Cupboard is a fascinating and thought provoking read. From the hardship of experiencing her grandmother's brutal murder to her journey through the various placements- it's gripping.

Very well written, some dark humour along with some poignant stories provide an insightful glimpse into the world of clinical psychology.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
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still reading - enjoying it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, emotional and poignant read, 13 July 2014
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Excellent, thought provoking and insightful read, Tanya Byron writes beautifully, poignantly and with emotion, a brave and powerful read. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 July 2014
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really well written and ideal choice for anyone studying psychology or interested in clinical psychology
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The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist
The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist by Tanya Byron (Hardcover - 22 May 2014)
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