INTENSIVE THERAPY: A NOVEL follows the relationship of a doctor and his patient from their first therapy sessions in the 1980s, then shifts to 20 years later to demonstrate how that therapy has transformed and affected them both.
In the story, a young beautiful woman in her twenties named Victoria Schone comes in for treatment to help her cope with being bi-polar, and to deal with her parents, mainly her demanding mother, Lorraine. She receives treatment from Dr. Jonas Speller, a young handsome doctor of similar age, who is refining his treatment skills that include aspects of breaking the barrier between patient and therapist. The treatment is so successful that not only is the patient helped by the therapist, but the therapist is helped by the patient.
This aspect of people helping each other through their contact with one another is the crux of this family novel. Throughout the novel the reader sees examples of how the various close interactions with others helps one to make or remake themselves. In the novel there is an exchange between Victoria and Jonas, which seems to sum this up completely:
“You changed my life, Jonas,” Victoria said. “I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for you.”
“You changed my life, Victoria,” Jonas echoed. “I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for you.”
INTENSIVE THERAPY: A NOVEL focuses on this interplay that occurs between people throughout life, and the type of effect this interplay has on them. Author, Jeffrey Deitz, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst himself, uses language and terminology that is credible and illuminating. The reader gains a great understanding of what goes on in the mind of a therapist as they’re listening to the thoughts and dreams of a patient as recounted by Dr. Speller through his analysis. It’s quite an education in itself of just what comprises psychotherapy.
The author’s use of description is quite vivid, as in the example that occurs when recounting an accident in which a young man receives brain damage from a head injury; it is both enlightening and frightening at the same time. The pacing in these scenes is quite intense and believable. It’s also gratifying to see doctors at work, and doing their best to save a patient under extreme circumstances. Dr. Jonas Speller’s philosophy of life and psychotherapy are exactly what one would hope for from a doctor, caring and hopeful.
INTENSIVE THERAPY: A NOVEL is an excellent read with very good pacing; so much so that at times it’s difficult to put down.