Book clinic: which fiction best depicts therapy and therapists?

The counsellor and author Bijal Shah recommends novels from the psychiatrist’s chair and beyond Q: I’m studying to become a therapist. What are the best depictions of therapists and therapy in fiction? Georgia Smith, 43, North Carolina, US A: Bijal Shah , a counsellor, ‘book therapist’, author and poet, writes: Fiction offers thoughtful insight into the conscientious work of therapists. Using the full breadth and depth of the creative licence, client cases are examined in blistering detail. The book that jumps to mind is Irvin D Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept . A perennial literary guide for both therapists and therapists-in-training, it marries philosophy and psychoanalysis. Modern psychoanalysis founder, Joseph Breuer, attempts to treat the influential philosopher, Nietzsche, who is on the brink of suicide. Breuer, himself, is recovering from a broken heart. They form a therapeutic alliance, each attempting to heal the other’s depression. Yalom’s other notable novels with protagonist therapists, also of