His book of 31 case studies from the therapist’s couch, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves, was one of the surprise bestsellers of last year.
Now Stephen Grosz, an American psychoanalyst who works in London, is writing his second book, and this time he has drawn inspiration from his 11-year old daughter and her crush on Doctor Who.
“The Examined Life was about change and loss, and was catalysed by my becoming a father”, he said at The Independent Bath Literature Festival. The new book, Seven Obstacles to Love, will tackle “attachment, intimacy and what makes people lovable”.
It grew out of a conversation he had with his daughter about the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi. Grosz said: “I was very glad that he was taking over the role but my daughter was upset. I realised that she had a crush on the last Doctor Who, Matt Smith, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, she is having feelings. I’m going to have to write this down.’”
The Examined Life is Grosz's first book and is based on 25 years and 50,000 hours of listening to patients. Now back in the top 10 non-fiction bestsellers in paperback, it includes case studies of a young man who fakes his own suicide and a 46-year old woman who was admitted to hospital with a breakdown after she turned up to a first lunch date with “a bouquet of peonies, a bottle of Sancerre, and a removal van containing all of her clothes and possessions.”