Novels About Therapists

Books for the Professionally Curious

One of my great life passions is bringing mental health care out of the closet.  Over the years I’ve had people tell me they are surprised I need a therapist, I usually respond the mentally healthy know they need a little help now and then.  It’s the ones who really resist it you have to watch out for.

Like many people I’ve used therapy for over the years to work on relationships, all types of relationships… family, friends and romantic.  This whole being human thing is tough and it’s nice to have somebody to somebody to walk with you through that.

With the holidays coming up who better to profile than the people who help us to keep it together.

If you like the look of any of the books click through to view them on Amazon.  It costs nothing to you but it does help me pay my own incredible therapist.

Child Psychologist Helps a Boy with a Demon BFF

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cook

Alex Connolly is a ten-year old who has many quirky abilities… not in the least is the fact that his best friend is a 9,000 year old demon.  When his mother has yet another suicide attempt he meets child psychologist Dr Anya Molokova. Anya is not new to this kind of behavior, having lived through her own daughter’s early onset schizophrenia.  Determined to get Alex the help she couldn’t get her daughter Anya throws herself into treatment with a terrifying outcome.

Just a note, if you choose this book check out where it was published.  American and British endings are different, and sorry British friends… the American is better.

A Hypnotherapist, a New Man and His Stalker

The Hypnotist’s Love Story: A Novel by Liane Moriarty

Hypnotherapist Ellen O’Farrel helps her clients deal with addictions, phobias and other life bending difficulties.  She begins to fall in love with Patrick who comes clean one afternoon and tells her he is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend.  Instead of being frightened Ellen is somewhat intrigued.  She doesn’t realize that the stalker is posing as a patient and knows way more about Ellen than she’d like.

Hypnotherapy is a grey area in the therapy world but I loved this book’s openness and insight.  It has a touch of a thriller vibe to it, but is also a fun love story. I appreciate the stalkers story is told in first person and I looked forward to hearing her rationalizations.  Moriarty has a pretty incredible ability to write a story and this book will likely draw you in and keep you interested the entire 466 pages.

A Psychiatrists Worldwide Search for What Makes People Happy

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord

Hector is a very good psychiatrist when it comes to helping people achieve a psychological goal.  He’s not so good with the patients who just feel unhappy with life.  When of his patient’s comments that Hector looks like he needs a vacation he decides to travel the world taking notes of what exactly makes people happy.

This book is somewhat controversial, which means you should probably read it.  Some find Hector a misogynistic dirt bag who is on a quest, not for happiness, but to get into a lady’s pants.   Other’s find Leland’s almost childish writing an enjoyable way to read a book that is philosophical in nature.  I found it worth the read.

A Psychotherapists End of Life Search for Meaning

The Schopenhauer Cure: A Novel by Irvin Yalom

Psychotherapists Julius Hertzfeld has a terminal cancer diagnosis and a year to live.  Like many people who are dying he begins to review his life leading him to seek out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom Julius failed to help several decades early.  Except now Philip claims to be cured of his addiction by the teachings of Arthur Schopenhauer (a depressing German philosopher who heavily influenced Nietzsche).  Julius invites Philip to join his intensive therapy group and in exchange Philip will tutor Julius on Schopenhauer.  The ending will have you tearing up like it’s your last child’s kindergarten graduation.

When I started working as a chaplain I picked up Yalom’s copy of The Theory of Practice of Group Psychotherapy.  A few years later I found The Schopenhauer Cure and loved that it was almost a guide on application on the non-fiction book that had been so helpful.  The chapters in The Schopenhauer Cure switch back and forth between group therapy and a biography of Schopenhauer.   This is a great book for people interested in philosophy, group therapy, or Schopenhauer but it might be a bit tedious if you just want a fun read about a therapist.

A Struggling Psychiatric Resident Works with Vietnam War Vet

The Stethoscope Cure by Sam Osherson

Dr Paul Gilverstein is a first year resident at the New York Veteran’s Association.  Like many young residents, he is struggling to keep his head above the water when the Chief of Psychiatry gives him one of the departments toughest cases… an angry vet just back from the Vietnam War.   The relationship the two form has widespread repercussions throughout both of their lives.

Described by the author as a “not thinly-disguised rendering of my experiences”.  It is an incredibly clear view of what it’s like to be a psychiatrist.  Further it brings alive the Vietnam war, Judaism, the 60’s and family dynamics.

 

A Psychiatrists is Forced to Confront her Own Past

Always Watching: A Novel by Chevy Stevens

Dr Nadine Lavoie loves her work as a psychiatrist in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in a Canadian hospital.  One evening a young woman, Heather, comes in after a failed suicide attempt. While completing her assessment Nadine learns Heather has ties to the same cult that Nadine was involved in as a child.  While working with Heather Nadine begins to reflect on how many holes are in her  childhood memories, but triggering memories from that time has terrifying results.

This book is not Chevy Stevens greatest work, but Nadine is a minor character in several other novels and it’s a bonus to be able to learn more about her.  This book is also less a psychological thriller (like her others) and of a suspense novel.  Nadine can feel cold as a character, which can make it more difficult to connect.

A Psychoanalyst is Pulled into a Psychopath’s Dangerous Game

The Analyst by John Katzenbach

Psychoanalyst Dr Frederick Starks receives a letter signed by “Rumpelstiltskin” on his 53rd birthday.  This letter tells him he ruined the letter-writers life and now he must pay.  Starks has fifteen days to guess who the letter writer is or he must kill himself.  If he doesn’t commit suicide then members of his family will begin to die.  At first Starks wonders if this is a hoax, but he soon finds every aspect of his life is taken over by Rumpelstiltskin.  As his life spins downwards Stark has to use all of his resources and training to keep himself and the ones he loves alive.

A sit on the edge of your seat book with good characters, a solid story line and so many twists and turns you’ll feel like you’re on a tilt-a-whirl.

A Child Psychologist Works with Police to Unlock the Trauma Witnessed by a Seven Year Old

When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman

When a successful (yet unethical) psychiatrist is murdered in his luxurious apartment there is only one possible witness.  Seven year old Melody Quinn may have seen something that night, but she is deeply disturbed and can’t remember a thing.  It becomes recently retired child psychologist Dr Alex Delaware job to see if he can gently coax Melody’s memory.  Of course what is eventually uncovered is much bigger that anyone could imagine.

Keep in mind this is a long running series (1985- present). As you read the series you can see a definite author development as well as a change in culture.  While part of a series, each book can be read individually so if you prefer to start in the modern age pick up one of his more recent novels.  When the Bough Breaks is a beach mystery, it won’t blow your mind but sometimes it’s nice to have a long running series to keep you entertained while you’re cleaning the house or sitting in the Bahamas.  

About Kaitey Moore 40 Articles

Kaitlin Moore Morley is passionate about storytelling, the kind of our imagination and the kind of our experiences.

She works as a hospital chaplain where she collects love stories and as a pastor where she collect biblical narrative. She holds an undergraduate in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester in England and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

She lives in Evansville, Indiana in an old (very cold) Victorian house with her husband, Darren and their dog Olga.

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