Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Psychoanalyst Gerti Schoen
In this monthly series, we turn the tables, and interview clinicians all about their professional and personal lives. They answer questions on everything from the challenges of being a therapist to the rewards. They also share their advice for living a fuller life along with how they cope with stress.
This month we have the pleasure of interviewing Gerti Schoen, a psychoanalyst and couples counselor in private practice in New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. Before she immigrated to the U.S., Schoen worked as a professional print and radio journalist in her native country of Germany.
Schoen is the author of The Gentle Self, a self-help book about depression and anxiety, and a blog of the same name here at Psych Central. Her new book Buddha Betrayed is about spiritual abuse and the pitfalls of working with a spiritual teacher.
1. What’s surprised you the most about being a therapist?
Just how similar we all are. Everyone struggles with periods of sadness or anxiety, couples bicker about similar things as my husband and I do. The ‘human condition’ that life isn’t perfect applies to everybody.
2. What’s the latest and greatest book you’ve read related to mental health, psychology or psychotherapy?
The one I frequently recommend is Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, a much-needed book about how to foster self-compassion. I very much like Susan Cain’s Quiet, which will reassure all the introverts out there that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Right now I am reading You Can Go Home Again by Monica McGoldrick. It’s a stunning account of how our family histories make us into who we are.
3. What’s the biggest myth about therapy?