Endlessly amused by people’s minds?

hidden dangerLet me tell you an abbreviated version of one of the recollections from Psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz in his book “The Examined Life.”

Girl meets boy in medical school. She’s Jewish, he’s Catholic.

Her father forbids her to marry him. She marries the boy and her parents break off all contact with her, for 18 years.

Eventually her mother reconciles with her after divorcing her father, a doctor. He’d been having an affair for years with his blonde, blue-eyed, Christian employee.

The affair had started long before the girl went to med school. The daughter described her father this way, “the bigger the front, the bigger the behind.” Stephen Grosz says, “Typically, we want to see ourselves as good, and put those aspects of ourselves that we find shameful into another person or group.” Actually the daughter’s description is pretty succinct. Grosz thinks it’s a good phase too.

Grosz has selected 31 interesting patient/analyst stories from his more than 25 years in practice, and over 50,000 hours of conversations with patients.

Each short and engrossing story is his distilled account of conversations with patients covering all sorts of behaviors, thoughts and insights. Just as most peoples’ stories are unique, each story is different and attempts to figure out and understand the hidden motivations driving his patients.

People don’t like being ignored and need to feel that someone is listening to them. Grosz meets both of these needs for his patients and often gives them, and us, penetrating insights into the “why” of human behavior.

The stories are current and timely accounts of present-day patients told without  psychological jargon. If you’re amused or intrigued by peoples’ minds you’ll enjoy “The Examined Life.”