The Therapist Will See You Now
The Therapist Will See You Now – Review of Landscapes of the Heart: The Working World of a Sex and Relationship Therapist by Juliet Grayson
Ever wondered what a therapy session may be like? Just open up Landscapes of the Heart and let Juliet Grayson welcome you in.
Landscapes of the Heart is my type of non-fiction reading. I adore fictional TV medical series and have read previous biographies from the medical world. However, I never thought I would find a book on therapy so fascinating. I never thought therapy would be for me but while reading this book I found that it might be for everyone, in fact I’m now on a waiting list to actually see a therapist. I have things to sort out in my head and I’ve known that for a while but I never saw therapy as an option. I think this all comes down to the no fuss narrative of Grayson. Each chapter is dedicated to a different case with various relationship or sexual problems. Firstly, you are a fly on the wall in their first session. The powerful emotions of both anger and sadness draw you into another persons life, but what keeps you locked in is the way Grayson so easily describes how each patient must be feeling. She appears to have quite the gift in ‘walking in someone else’s body’ – the reader almost goes through the therapy session themselves. The emotions that begin each chapter are so raw that they seep from the pages onto us, making Grayson’s words applicable to us. The reader senses change in the atmosphere. While the patients leave the therapy session with a hint of development, the reader leaves the chapter in a similar way.
Grayson then grants us with a second meeting, there isn’t much worse than being drawn in and hooked on a story, only to watch it disappear with no idea of how things turned out. Not all of the second meetings with patients are filled with drastic changes and happy faces, life doesn’t work that way and Grayson is keen to show us that. She often refers to herself and her problems, which help the reader understand how she came to be such a successful therapist. The second meetings with the therapist are incredibly satisfying. Not only is the reader privy to the development of the patients, but we are also shown that relationships and problems take constant work by people who must really want to make them work.
After the couples’ therapy sessions have been described and their paths revealed, Grayson moves on to a more technical section. What the author does in these sessions is explain in more detail a theory or idea that was mentioned in the therapy sessions. For example, Grayson explains how one takes on a certain role in a relationship: the Boss, the Loner, the Pleaser and the preferred, the Self-Developer. Grayson manages to find level of knowledge to pass on. It is enough for us to understand and apply to our own lives but not too complex that we may never understand it.
Even though the stories of the couples were enjoyable and full of emotion, I think that this book also plays a great role in helping the reader. When I started this book I didn’t think I would get any help from it. Instead, I have found that some of the ideas are ones I will try to use in my own relationships, that therapy may be a great way for to deal with my emotions and ultimately, that we are not alone when facing problems. Everyone has their own problems and I think that sometimes we forget that. Many people hide problems so well, we may never fully understand them. As they say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and Grayson can help with that.
One final tip whilst reading this intriguing book: don’t skip over the poetry and quotes!