Authors: Gary Small, M.D, & Gigi Vorgan
Publishers: William Morrow (An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0-06-180378-9

Dr. Gary Small is a psychiatrist who is the director of the UCLA Memory and Aging Center at the university's Semel Institute for Neurosciences & Human Behavior. He is also professor of psychiatry at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Small frequently appears on Today, Good Morning America, PBS and CNN. He and his wife Gigi Vorgan, who has written, produced and appeared in numerous feature films and television shows, have put together a memoir with their The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist's Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases of some of Dr. Small's more weird experiences as a psychiatrist over the past thirty years.

As Dr. Small indicates in the Preface, he not only recounts some of these bizarre episodes, but also reflects, as well as shares his feelings, thoughts, and reactions to these cases. In addition, readers are provided with an accessible primer devoid of convoluted jargon that would no doubt appeal to the layperson, even if he or she has very little knowledge of psychiatry.

Organized chronologically, the book traces Dr. Small's experiences beginning with his early training and spanning over the next thirty years as he matures into an experienced psychiatrist. Readers get the feeling that they are flies on the wall as they listen in on the many conversations Dr. Small has with his patients. It is during these psychotherapy sessions that we learn about a woman who accused him of seducing her with his sexy stare, another woman stood naked on her head and whom Dr. Small helps by giving her orange juice, a man who wanted to amputate his left arm, a bunch of grade-school kids who had simultaneously fainted, a woman who was convinced she was pregnant, a mute patient who had a complicated catatonic syndrome brought on by a manic-depressive disorder, a man who believed his penis was shrinking, an overbearing mother who loved to read medical books, as her son was a first year medical student, psychological blindness, a bigamist who fooled his wife and Dr. Small, an obsessive shopper and some other weird stories. The final chapter ends with a sad tale of how Dr. Small was called upon to treat his hero and mentor.

What really stands out about this book is that Dr. Small and his wife Gigi Vorgan have mastered the art of storytelling that has long been a valued method of communication for many individuals in the world of business or science. It is difficult to ascertain the quantitative effectiveness of this art when it applies to such complex fields as psychiatry, nonetheless, it is one of the best ways to persuade and motivate people. And as Dr. Small mentions, it is his hope that the book will prove to be entertaining as well as helping those who may fear psychiatrists to overcome their fears and perhaps secure help if needed. Has the book succeeded? I believe it has come through with flying colors.

Author's Bio: 

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