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Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities

5 Ratings: 3.4
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Tags: Books, Cafe Libri, Nonfiction, Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder
Author: Richard Baer
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Date Published: 2007
1 review about Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story...

An astonishing, gripping, and almost unbelievable true story

  • Jun 29, 2010

Switching Time is a nonfiction book written by a psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Baer, about his patient Karen.  Initially, Karen appears to be a depressed and sometimes suicidal individual, showing little interest in life or in helping herself.  Through repeated sessions with Karen, Dr. Baer begins to discover her history of abuse, as well as the presence of a strange phenomenon they call "losing time."  When Karen loses time, she suddenly finds herself in places she doesn't remember getting to, doing things she doesn't remember doing.

Dr. Baer begins to suspect that Karen has Multiple Personality Disorder, and that she loses time when another personality is dominant.  His suspicions are confirmed when he receives a letter from Claire, a split off personality of a seven year old girl.  However, he later begins to realize that Claire is not the only split personality, and Karen herself is becoming aware of these "others".  Through years of therapy, Dr. Baer uses hypnosis to communicate with the other personalities and learn their histories and purposes.  Eventually, seventeen separate personalities reveal themselves, each created to handle a specific element of Karen's traumatic past.

Switching Time is a phenomenal account of one individual with Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder).  Dr. Baer's account is rich with detail and personality, and includes letters and pictures from many of the separate personalities.  The disorder itself and the healing process that Dr. Baer embarks on are remarkable, the kind of things one wouldn't believe until you learn that they're true.

A word of caution to the reader - Karen's personalities were "born" to contain pain and trauma that Karen herself could not handle at a young age.  The events that she recalls from her childhood are truly horrific, including ritual physical and sexual abuse, and self-mutilation behaviors.  This is not a book to be taken lightly, but it's intensity, depth, and content will blow your mind.


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February 23, 2011
Wow, this sounds like an intense but, intriguing read! Great review, Heather, thanks for sharing :)
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