cover image Children of Psychiatrists and Other Psychotherapists

Children of Psychiatrists and Other Psychotherapists

Thomas Maeder. HarperCollins Publishers, $19.95 (295pp) ISBN 978-0-06-016064-7

Do psychotherapists' children live up to their popular reputation as ``crazy'' kids, and are they, as some studies claim, ``stunted'' or detached from reality because of their parents' profession? Worth reading if only for its wise observations about child-rearing and for its clarification of the differences between psychotherapy disciplines, this intriguing, well-written study by Maeder, himself the son of two therapists, author of Crimes and Medicine , etc., is based on interviews with many such parents, their children and child psychotherapists. He concentrates on the unfavorable effects of the psychiatric profession on parentage, attributing them primarily to character flaws or emotional problems which, he charges, often lead to the analysts' choice of a profession that tends to foster narcissism verging on a God complex. On the whole, Maeder asserts, psychotherapists either do not relate easily to their children or are permissive, while those who ``interpret'' their childrens' actions can intrude on their inner beings. His conclusion: ``It is harder to be a good parent than a good therapist.'' (Feb.)