Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities

Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 PersonalitiesI finished this book last night at 2 AM, I couldn t put it down This has been the most twisted, disturbing and crazy book I have ever read I rated four stars, but I wouldn t recommend it to the ladies in my book club I think I might be sick in the head lol, but I was so fascinated by this book, the same way I am fascinated when I see a fatal car accident on the side of the highway The things that happened to Karen when she was younger were hard to believe and it is also hard to believe that the human mind is capable of protecting you in the way that it protected Karen Karen wasn t able to face and accept the horrible things that happened to her and so her mind created alter personalities that could face it I think once she found a way to cope, it just carried on like a snowball It was all very organized inside her mind, and she was able to live day to day life with out making it obvious that she had this illness She had two main alters that controlled everything for her and knew about all the other personalities inside her When Karen found her self in a confusing situation or one she couldn t handle, one of the main alters would come out and find another alter who s job it was to take care of that kind of situation As I was reading it I had to close the book many times, thinking to my self this is some crazy stuff Wow I feel like I might be a little sicker in the head for having read this book What a mind warp One Afternoon In , Karen Overhill Walks Into Psychiatrist Richard Baer S Office Complaining Of Vague Physical Pains And Depression Odder Still, She Reveals That She S Suffering From A Persistent Memory Problem Routinely, She Loses Parts Of Her Day, Finding Herself In Places She Doesn T Remember Going To Or Being Told About Conversations She Doesn T Remember Having Her Problems Are So Pervasive That She Often Feels Like An Impersonator In Her Own Life She Doesn T Recognize The People Who Call Themselves Her Friends, And She Can T Even Remember Being Intimate With Her Own Husband Baer Recognizes That Karen Is On The Verge Of Suicide And, While Trying Various Medications To Keep Her Alive, Attempts To Discover The Root Cause Of Her Strange Complaints It S The Work Of Months, And Then Years, To Gain Karen S Trust And Learn The True Extent Of The Trauma Buried In Her Past What She Eventually Reveals Is Nearly Beyond Belief, A Narrative Of A Childhood Spent Grappling With Unimaginable Horror How Has Karen Survived With Even A Tenuous Grasp On Sanity Then Baer Receives An Envelope In The Mail It S Marked With Karen S Return Address But Contains A Letter From A Little Girl Who Writes That She S Seven Years Old And Lives Inside Of Karen Soon Baer Receives Letters From Others Claiming To Be Parts Of Karen Under Hypnosis, These Alternate Karen Personalities Reveal Themselves In Shocking Variety And With Undeniable Traits Both Physical And Psychological One Alter Is A Young Boy Filled With Frightening Aggression Another An Adult Male Who Considers Himself Karen S Protector And A Third A Sassy Flirt Who Seeks Dominance Over The Others It S Only By Compartmentalizing Her Pain, Guilt, And Fear In This Fashion By Switching Time With Alternate Selves As The Situation Warrants That Karen Has Been Able To Function Since ChildhoodRealizing That His Patient Represents An Extreme Case Of Multiple Personality Disorder, Baer Faces The Daunting Task Of Creating A Therapy That Will Make Karen Whole Again Somehow, In Fact, He Must Gain The Trust Of Each Of Karen S Seventeen Alters And Convince Them Of The Necessity Of Their Own AnnihilationAs Powerful As Sybil Or The Three Faces Of Eve, Switching Time Is The First Complete Account Of Such Therapy To Be Told From The Perspective Of The Treating Physician, A Stunningly Devoted Healer Who Worked Selflessly For Decades So That Karen Could One Day Live As A Single Human Being From The Hardcover Edition Okay This book made me angry Very, very angry, and I think I have good reason for it Also, DNF at about 70% First off, treating a client who has DID is not harrowing for ANY therapist If it s harrowing at all, it is for the client Yes, I can see how it would be stressful for the clinician but not harrowing WTF, Baer Harrowing to me implies that your life was in danger due to your client It was not Ever.To me, Baer is a faker or a liar at best According to this book, he had never dealt with a client with DID before, yet he managed to seamlessly help her integrate LOL what a joke Even clinicians experienced with complex trauma DID work can t just make any multiple client integrate that simply or easily.Also, he blamed Karen for the break up of his marriage Um okay So, Baer, you had NO part in your divorce Yeah, okay, so the frequent midnight phone calls from Karen caused a problem between you and your wife but that s not Karen s fault It s YOUR fault for not putting up appropriate boundaries.Additionally, Baer made Karen sound like she was simple, like she couldn t do the easiest of tasks that singletons can do when in reality okay, yes, sometimes people with DID get paralyzed by recurring memories, flashbacks emotional or otherwise , body memories, etc but there are a lot of multiples in high stress jobs, who are very successful You would NEVER guess this, however, due to Baer s portrayal of Karen co.I talked with Jarrod about this book which goes to show how angry it made me and he suggested that maybe Baer s practice was failing if he is indeed as abysmal a clinician as this book makes him sound, and so he wrote a fictitious account of a client thus sensationalizing ritual abuse RA , childhood sexual abuse CSA , and DID And as we all know, shit like that sells because people like reading about other people s misery And with the profits from the book, Baer wouldn t have had to worry about his failing practice any.I think that s a little cruel, but honestly, this book was so unimpressive In all of my classes, I ve been taught that the clinician is not to be considered the expert and is not to expect to fix people But in this book yeah Baer is totally tooting his own horn, saying without saying that he is a hero for helping this poor useless lump of a woman with DID when no one else could, blah blah blahSeriously If people can t write actually realistic accounts of treating DID, and go to the lengths that Baer did to sensationalize it and make himself sound awesome then they shouldn t write at all And in fact, shouldn t be practicing clinicians at all either.In case this weren t abundantly clear by now lol DO NOT RECOMMEND. Imagine pretending to be asleep in order to overhear conversations between your family and friends, so that you can learn your mother s name, or where your husband works Karen was continually searching for ways to hide her obvious insanity until a desperate call to a crisis hot line in 1989, led her to Dr Richard Baer The complexities of the human mind have never before been revealed with such detail, dimension, and compassion Horrific, unimaginable abuse had forced Karen to create different personalities, with widely varying characteristics and abilities As new personalities were introduced, the depth of Karen s suffering became obvious, as did the fear that the darkness would consume her With careful guidance and unwavering patience, Dr Baer was able to gain the individual trust of the seventeen alters, convincing each that although they had been created to protect Karen, her very survival now depended upon their complete and total destruction This is an amazing read The level of abuse, the detailed characteristics of the created alters are almost beyond comprehension and leads you to question how it is someone that has suffered so greatly could ever be whole again Which is, yet another testament to the human will to survive Switching Time is by far one of the best non fiction books I have read in years Just as the alters were created as a means of survival, during the darkest and most frightening experiences imaginable, their destruction became a necessary step in the journey from divided survival to whole living I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a compelling, thought provoking, inspiring read absolutely 5 stars Happy Reading RJ Whenever I read a book involving multiple personalities, The Minds of Billy Milligan, When Rabbit Howls, etc, my first response is always no way, they have to be making this up However, with this book, Switching Time, Richard Baer makes the trauma that Karen Overhill endured come across as convincing and with her experiences explains how a multiple disorder takes form and how each part of the main, takes on the duties that it was designed for.The reader is first introduced to Karen during her first meeting with Baer first in January 1989, when she came to his Chicago office complaining of depression and suicidal feelings During her initial meetings, she begins to recount her bouts of lost memory Ending up in locations that she does not remember, total strangers that seem to know her, waking up in the morning and her house cleaning is done As time and therapy progress, Dr Baer begins to suspect that there is a personality break and with time and hypnosis, 17 individual personals are introduced and explain their individual function in Karen s life Parts of the story are hard to fathom, how can a personality break off when Karen is a mere infant herself How can an infants mind separate horrific childhood abuse and break off to develop an alter to take the abuse If that is possible, it just does not make sense to my mind.As each personality comes forward, letters are written and pictures are drawn that show how individual each person really is By the end, the reader has come to know each child and adult and when they are integrated, it is like watching a friend leave Not all personalities are likeable, not all are beneficial, but by the end, Karen is integrated into a whole person that just might be able to handle all that has happened and to one day be able to acknowledge and accept what had happened to her.Though the middle bogged down a bit and parts seemed a bit too repetitious, over all the book was quite interesting The study and science of multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder, are still debated, but books like help the lay person to understand how the trauma of early abuse can cause the mind to break into parts to deal with the whole. This reads as two parts Jerry Springer and one part self indulgent, self important indulgence on the part of the doctor and author, Richard Baer.It is fascinating, in the deepest sense of the word, to read about the patient s family history I m not squeamish, and am not repelled by the details, but the patient and her history serve only as a backdrop to the doctor s feelings and thoughts It is rather as if he s saying to us over dinner Ooo, I have the freakiest patient You would not believe it Let s have a little brandy and I ll tell you about her Once in a while, early in therapy, patients may have a sort of summary dream, where they encapsulate, in an almost clairvoyant way, the path they will follow through their entire years of therapy I think this is just such a dream. p.34 Emphasis mine This is wrong in all sorts of ways He is discounting all the dreams that don t interest him, and I wager she reported other dreams that he may have, at first, thought significant, but later discarded when they didn t match the path The fact that he seems to be believe that it did presage treatment is worrying Far worrisome is that he seems to have no knowledge or training in modern neuroscience and modern ideas about what function dreams serve physiologically.I m appalled that there are still such primitive psychiatrists out there practicing lousy science. Although the details in this book are nauseatingly graphic, I found great hope and peace in it The trauma and abuse that was suffered by this woman is beyond any normal person s understanding the mind simply cannot reach far enough into the depths of hell to fathom such torture Seriously, it s that intense While reading, I found I was often grimacing, my face screwed up and only half looking at the words, trying to shield myself from it That said, the indomitable will of the woman Karen to survive is so astounding that I found myself reeling in optimism yes, me The mind is a fascinating mechanism, and the human will and strength to overcome is awe inspiring Once you get beyond the nauseating details which do, continue throughout the book The kind of book that made me say Do I have multiple personalities I saw we all the time DO i have any time I can t account for and Wow I am really normal in comparison and I have the perfect life as well as, What am I complaining about What do I have to be depressed about Now there aren t too many books that have made me feel that way Interestingly enough, I did not find this book depressing, but I am an odd sort Definitely not for everyone. I disliked this book The author I felt related everything to himself when it wasn t about him He didn t even mention other options than integration, yet he mentions how he prefers MPD to the correct term DID Too much about the author and not enough about the multiple I also disliked the harrowing part of the title He acts like it was so hard for him, and i m sure it was, but it was harder for the system, and that isn t really acknowledged I learned so much from this book My hat is off to the phenomenal achievement it documents Faced with unrelenting terror from such a young age, this girl not only survived, she developed the kind, loving, generous, and sensitive aspects of herself by creating 17 distinct personalities The world considers multiple personality disorder a disease, but in this case, I think it was a truly creative response to shattering circumstances Living a life the rest of us can barely imagine, this kid found a way to keep her sparks of goodness isolated, protected and alive until someone could help her put herself together I can only imagine what it felt like to absorb all those memories I salute her courage.Though I am far from ever experiencing multiple personality disorder, this book nevertheless gave me a new way to look at personality formation my own and everyone else s. I ve listened to SO many good nonfiction books this year This is the first year I ve really accepted audiobooks into my life because they ve made obtaining them so easy This has allowed me to listen to books I would never have ordinarily exposed myself to.The best out of all of them, however, has been this one This book has truly been one of the most fascinating books I have ever read The depth into Karen s mind, the way her brain worked so hard to save her life, and the level of professionalism on behalf of Dr Baer all took this book to the next level It made me feel differently about the human brain.It was also beautifully narrated, and each and every Alter had a perfectly distinct voice.Highly recommend.

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  • Hardcover
  • 360 pages
  • Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities
  • Richard Baer
  • English
  • 17 June 2018
  • 9780307382665

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