A hauntingly beautiful memoir! A shocking true account of horrific abuse within therapy! Although these two statements don't seem congruent, this book, although telling a tragic story, does so in a poetic, life-affirming way. Analie Shepherd, the author, found herself in need of the support of a therapist after a tragedy in her life. Within the confines of this relationship, Analie suffered extreme abuse: verbal, physical and emotional. As Ananlie says of herself during the abuse, "I had no voice and no reality." Finally able to leave the abusive therapist, Analie reached out to TELL, an online support group, whose goal is to help victims in the struggle to regain their lives after abuse by a health care practitioner. Through TELL, Analie connected with responder Laurie, a retired Psychiatrist who was herself sexually abused in therapy for ten years. Contained within the book, is a four-year email exchange between Analie and Laurie, in which both of their stories are told--the tragedy and the triumph. Laurie, wise and compassionate, speaks truth to Analie and stands by her side on her journey to reclaim her heart, her reality and her voice. The relationship between the two women is a beautiful picture of growing friendship, and the story of this relationship is a lovely part of the book. Analie's story is complicated by the fact that she is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personalities. Much of the abuse within her therapy, was perpetrated on her eight alter personalities, and their voices and stories are included in the book, as well as some of their original artwork and poetry. Analie presents the existence and reality of The Others in a gentle, innocent way which helps the reader understand her experience of living an internally split life. Analie also includes narratives of her early life, to give context and understanding of what caused her to be vulnerable to the abuse she suffered in therapy. From the very first page, this story will enthrall you ... the conclusion of the book is amazingly beautiful and deeply satisfying.
My Review: 5 *****
I was reluctant to start reading this book, it sat beside my bed for a long time. But I am glad I finally took the time to read this story about the journey through therapeutic abuse. When we think of trusting someone, like a counselor, with our upmost private thoughts and demons, we expect them to be there to help us through and see us achieve. However, this journey was nothing like this until she received the help and guidance through email then a friendship of trust was created. This story will rip your heart out and mend it all back together before you even finish the story. Kudos to Analie for sharing her amazing journey. I just hope this story will bring hope to others.
Loving wife, mother and Nana ... Author, Artist, Actress, Choir and Play Director. I love to dance, sing and laugh ... with friends, or alone! I look for the "wine moments" of life and live them to the fullest.