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The cover of this book shows a colour cartoon of a white-coated cigar-smoking Freud ‘look-alike’, auscultating his own heart. The associated title led me to think that I might be reviewing an anthology of psychiatric humour! I was wrong. The blurb on the back cover advised: “do not let the title, ‘Sigmundoscopy’ fool you”. I had been fooled and thereafter found it hard to be charitable! The author's Foreword states that the book was written “to provide readers with background information on many aspects of C-L Psychiatry, as well as an in-depth review of the consultation process”. The foreword ends with the meaningless injunction to ‘Keep Psychling!’ and the author turns out to also be the publisher under the imprint of Rapid Psychler Press.
Contrary to appearances, this is a serious book, for the most part well-written, well-set-out, readable and clearly referenced. The Author's aim is to use humour to “enhance the educational aspects being presented ......” Cartoons appear intermittently through the text; they add nothing to it, they are distracting and intrusive, rather than complementary. The humour is of a quality which I had assumed most doctors had left behind in medical school!
I found myself irritated by the use of the words ‘consult’ and ‘consultation’ which were used interchangeably, although clearly meant the same thing. The statement that counter-transference is the therapist's conscious emotional reaction to the patient would find little support among psychotherapists. These are minor criticisms in the context of the general impact of the book, which left me in a state of profound cognitive dissonance.
I suggest that this book should be rapidly ‘repsychled’! The cartoons and the forced mnemonics should be removed and the book needs a title which bears some relation to its contents. I think we might then be left with a useful little handbook on the development and practice of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry from a trans-Atlantic perspective. It is unlikely to find a market in the UK.
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