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Good Morning, Monster

A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery

Catherine Gildiner

St. Martin's Essentials

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ISBN10: 1250878330
ISBN13: 9781250878335

Trade Paperback

368 Pages


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In this fascinating narrative, therapist Catherine Gildiner’s presents five of what she calls her most heroic and memorable patients. Among them: a successful, first generation Chinese immigrant musician suffering sexual dysfunction; a young woman whose father abandoned her at age nine with her younger siblings in an isolated cottage in the depth of winter; and a glamorous workaholic whose narcissistic, negligent mother greeted her each morning of her childhood with "Good morning, Monster."

Each patient presents a mystery, one that will only be unpacked over years. They seek Gildiner's help to overcome an immediate challenge in their lives, but discover that the source of their suffering has been long buried.

As in such recent classics as The Glass Castle and Educated, each patient embodies self-reflection, stoicism, perseverance, and forgiveness as they work unflinchingly to face the truth. Gildiner's account of her journeys with them is moving, insightful, and sometimes very funny. Good Morning, Monster offers an almost novelistic, behind-the-scenes look into the therapist's office, illustrating how the process can heal even the most unimaginable wounds.


Praise for Good Morning, Monster

"Brilliant piece of work, both heart-rending and chilling. I was moved to tears . . . a great book for any time. The greatest value is the skill of the storyteller and the insights into her own incredible contribution to the outcome of these extraordinary people. I had promised myself that I would read one episode for each of five days. Instead I read right through from beginning to end."—Valery Hemingway, author of Running With the Bulls

“Gildiner’s subject is heroism—writ large and with poignant specificity in five unforgettable patients’ lives. Good Morning, Monster will bolster your faith in human endurance, and make you root more fiercely for us all."—Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin and The Paris Wife

"Good Morning, Monster
allows one the privilege of seeing the therapist-patient relationship as an essentially human interaction."—JM Coetzee, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

"Heartbreaking, surprising, inspiring, and profound, this is ultimately a book about the power of connection and the triumph of the human spirit."—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and our Lives Revealed

“Like Oliver Sacks, Catherine Gildiner loves her patients . . . Gildiner is a master of shoot-from-the-hip nonfiction—funny, direct and honest about what she sees in others and what she sees in herself.”—Susan Swan, author of The Wives of Bath

“This is a compelling and compressed journey through years of psychotherapy for each of these five people, with crystalline moments of connection and meaning . . . Gildiner is astute, active, pragmatic, and hopeful. She is also very funny. Her wit and her wisdom are gifts shared with these five people—and now with all of us readers."—David S. Goldbloom, co-author of How Can I Help?: A week in My Life as a Psychiatrist

“Compelling, heart-in-throat stories prove no one is ‘damaged goods.’ I’m in awe of the five patients and of Gildiner’s exceptional creativity as she guides each one toward emotional freedom.”—Rona Maynard, author of My Mother’s Daughter

"Affecting . . . Insightful psychological lessons of special interest to readers on therapeutic journeys of their own."Kirkus Reviews

"Clinical psychologist, Gildiner, shares heart-wrenching stories . . . [that] inspire awe for the ways people who suffered horrific abuse were able to find a measure of recovery."Publisher's Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



THE DAY I OPENED my private practice as a psychologist, I sat smugly in my office. Fortified with the knowledge I’d acquired, taking comfort in the rules I’d learned, I looked forward...

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