Bookcon: Psychiatrist Explores Psychotherapy
Intensive Therapy: A Novel by Jeffrey Deitz to be available for first time at Bookcon, New York City, May 29-30, 2015
How Close is Too Close?
PSYCHIATRIST’S NOVEL EXAMINES COMPLEX NATURE OF DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIPS In PSYCHOTHERAPY
Set amid the thriving medical communities of historic Philadelphia and New York City, Intensive Therapy: A Novel, the debut fiction offering by psychiatrist Jeffrey Deitz, provides an intimate picture of the often complex relationship between analyst and patient. Written in a vein similar to modern classics such as The Prince of Tides and Ordinary People, Intensive Therapy is a close character study as well as a gripping, cultured read.
Following the relationship of Dr. Jonas Speller and Victoria Schone-Braun over twenty years, the first third of Intensive Therapy sways back and forth in time between the early 1980s, when both are becoming adults and professionals, and 2004, when Victoria contacts Jonas because of a family crisis.
As a young woman, Victoria’s toxic relationship with her parents threatened her college education and her life, and Jonas helped her find the independence and strength to start anew. In return, her candor and insight helped the fledgling doctor see the flaws in his perceived character and training.
When Victoria and Jonas reunite during the final months of 2004, Jonas is struggling with family issues himself. From the time the two reengage until the novel’s end, the reader is immersed in Jonas’s and Victoria’s complex and compelling stories as tragedy nearly claims the lives of both her children. Jonas must act quickly to save Victoria’s family and her marriage, but can he do so without endangering his own?
“Psychotherapy is a very potent treatment. Unfortunately, a very common misconception is that people in emotional distress will be helped by simply ‘talking to someone,’” says Deitz. “That someone,” Deitz notes, “needs to be a highly-skilled empathic listener who can tease apart the many factors that contribute to any given patient’s condition. People who are seriously mentally ill or suicidal often deny the seriousness of their condition or enter treatment to mollify others. It takes a seasoned clinician to appreciate the clinical situation in its entirety.
Themes related to Intensive Therapy: A Novel explores include:
- The realities and myths of the psychiatrist-patient relationship
- The stigma associated with the term “mental illness”
- The many forms of therapy – some of which can make a person worse when improperly medicated or administered
- The widespread prevalence of mental illness and the high risk every individual bears of experiencing either a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or substance-abuse disorder sometime during the course of his life
- The fact that mental illness kills. When left untreated, major depressive episodes carry a 10% risk of suicide.
- How psychiatrists are normal, flawed people with the same issues as everyone else;
- Why psychotherapy should be a very interactive exchange and many contrary – even comical – myths need to be debunked.
“No book I’ve ever read goes so deeply into the minds of therapist and patient to flesh out the psychological effects one has on the other,” says Deitz. “My goal is to help clarify the many misconceptions about what therapy is or isn’t.”
Dr. Jeffrey Deitz is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and writer who has contributed widely to professional psychotherapy literature, while also publishing articles in the New York Times and The Huffington Post on topics including sports psychology, sleep deprivation, and the power of psychotherapy. He has also contributed regularly to the New York Times blog about horse racing, one of his lifelong interests. In addition to his private practice, Deitz is an expert witness in the field of childhood sexual abuse. He is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine of Quinnipiac University, where he teaches second and third year medical students. He also supervises psychiatrists-in-training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Deitz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from the University of Maryland School Of Medicine. He currently lives in Connecticut with his wife JoAnn. Intensive Therapy: A Novel is his first book.
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