When Susie Orbach set out to depict how psychotherapy sessions really work, she did not want to go the conventional route—that is, taking real case material and distorting and disguising it into a form with minimal resemblance to the original. Such depictions are inevitably filtered through the therapist-author’s biases, and Susie wanted to share psychotherapy’s rawness and spontaneity. So she recorded a radio series involving actors playing patients who come into her real office to discuss fictional yet unscripted problems for which she has no preparation. And then she turned that series into a book, In Therapy: How Conversations with Psychotherapists Really Work(Profile Books, 2016). She joined me on New Books in Psychology to discuss the making of the show and the book and share her thoughts on what real therapy is like. In our interview, she walks us through what she was thinking and feeling during challenging clinical moments in the book, as well as what such moments can teach us about the magic of therapy. This interview is a must for anyone who has always wanted to know what therapists really think and how they think about what they do.
Dr. Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist with a practice seeing individuals and couples and, also, consulting to organizations. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre in London in 1976 and The Women’s Therapy Center Institute in New York City in 1981. She is author of twelve books, including Fat is a Feminist Issue, and co-editor of a further volume. She has also published many papers and she frequently writes for the press. She wrote a column in The Guardian for ten years. Her book Bodies won the Women in Psychology award for best book. She is the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Psychoanalysis given by the British Psychoanalytical Society.
Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst practicing in Miami and university psychologist at Florida International University. He treats individuals and couples with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate of the psychoanalytic training program at William Alanson White Institute and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).
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