Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Life In Pieces

A Life in Pieces: How One Woman's Personality Was Shattered by Years of Abuse
Author: Richard K Baer
Publisher: Random House

A Life in Pieces is the true life story of Dr. Richard Baer’s treatment of patient Karen Overhill who suffered years of ritualistic physical and sexual abuse as a child perpetrated by the men in her life that were supposed to care for her.

Four and a half years after she starts therapy with him for severe clinical depression, Dr. Baer receives a letter from seven year old Claire who claims to be a different personality living within Karen. Over time, 17 different alternative personalities (alters) come forward in Karen, each with different ages, abilities, posture, ways of talking and responsibilities.

Karen’s mind created each alter to deal with a part of the abuse that she cannot handle. These include Miles, a mischievous eight year old boy who was created to spare Karen the physical pain of her sexual abuse and Katherine, the 38 year old alter formed to help a severely traumatised Karen order and maintain her daily life as a wife and mother.

It is Dr Baer’s long and sensitive task to rebuild Karen’s shattered psyche and merge all 17 of her alters back into one, a task that will eventually take him 18 years of therapy to achieve.

This is a truly extraordinary story of an immensely brave woman facing her past demons and dealing with them, even when at times she was battling her inner alters who would much rather see her dead then have themselves amalgamated into her.


First published in Nexus Magazine, Issue 8, 12 May 2008. Reproduced with kind permission.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Wow - I imagine this was a tough one to read?