If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on a psychiatrist’s sofa, pick up a copy of Keeping Your Cool Thru Your Mid-life Meltdown by Dr. Fred Shane. The Winnipeg native moved to Vancouver two years ago and put his 35 years’ psychiatric experience to creative use assembling a series of stories from his practice, all of them fairly typical of individuals experiencing a midlife crisis.
“I think these are important issues,” he says, adding that each chapter represents a collage of experiences rather than the story of an individual patient. Names have been changed, circumstances altered and anonymity strictly protected. Each story is followed by a paragraph of Therapist’s Notes, in which Shane speculates on the significance of a particular midlife meltdown and how the particular one he described was resolved.
They’re the kind of stories many of us have read about in newspaper and magazine advice columns. The married man who has a cyber-affair, the obese woman trying to lose weight, the WASPy mother up in arms because her son is dating a black woman and the millionaire whose kids are at odds with his new fiancée.
In each story we get the perspective of the psychiatrist and learn how Shane has responded to and assisted his patients. He touches on Botox, domestic abuse, erectile dysfunction and phobias among other issues. For the fly on the couch, this book is an excursion directly into his office.
Keeping Your Cool is available online as an e-book. Visit keepingyrcool.com for more information.