The Good Psychologist, By Noam Shpancer


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The Independent Culture

Reminiscent of the TV series In Treatment, Israeli-born Noam Shpancer's very readable novel gives readers the chance to access the secrets of the therapy room in fictional form.

The book's narrator is a psychologist based at a Center for Anxiety Disorders somewhere in the mid-West. His clients include a stripper suffering from stage-fright and a middle-aged woman who can't handle dollar bills. Meanwhile he's wrestling with demons of his own, having fallen in love with a fellow shrink, and fathered a child he's never seen.

Although the novel lacks narrative drive, Shpancer's insights into the examined life are succinct and humane. References to "the cranky Viennese" abound, but Shpancer's literary alter ego believes that while early woes are important they're not decisive.