Book review for Helen Gerondis, Why Am I So Angry? My Search for the Truth

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Hugh Crago, Psychotherapist and Counsellor in private practice 


There are many first-hand accounts of eating disorders and many manuals offering advice to both sufferers and the professionals who work with them. This one is different. 
Greek-born Australian Helen Gerondis has written a courageous account of her battle with over-eating which is revealing on many levels. Gerondis has a high level of formal education (she is a barrister, in addition to qualifications in several other disciplines). Unusually, however, her writing style is distinguished by a transparent, childlike honesty in recounting her “search for the truth”. In particular, her encounters with a variety of health practitioners and psychotherapists make intriguing reading for a professional reader. Relatively few patients/clients write about their experiences of seeking help, and when they do so as candidly as Gerondis, we should pay close attention to what they say. With a few notable exceptions, the helping professions (GPs, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists) do not emerge from her story covered with glory. One psychologist is remembered only for her chain-smoking, another for his repeated lateness! Professionals she consulted are treated as sources of information—along with self-help books and relevant websites. This, I am sure, is how many clients see us, and the “psychoeducational” model of therapy which currently dominates treatment in this country also sets up counselling and psychotherapy to be viewed basically as “teaching” or “coaching”.