Don't let the sub-title put you off, this is one hell of a readable book.
Before I recommended this book to my Book Group, I didn't know that she was that famous TV child psychologist. Rather, the book had been recommended by a number of people in my virtual book club and it had finally risen to the top of my TBR list.
Based upon her experiences as a clinical psychologist in the final stages of training, Byron doesn't tell the stories of real people - for that would be unethical and unprofessional - but rather of composites, in order to provide a good indicator of what she faced.
In each placement, she describes a detailed relationship with one client, with lesser information on others. The range of scenarios Byron faces is wide - a violent sociopath, the sexual abuse of a child, a mercy killing, those with HIV facing their impending death from AIDs. But through it all, Byron is generous enough to share with us her feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy, the fear of getting things wrong, of letting her clients down, of failing academically and of the difficult relationship she has with her clinical supervisor.
But we also are allowed a peak into the private world - of her close-knit group of female friends - each of whom provides support, inspiration and/or critique, as required and at different times. Their relationship being so honest and authentic has to of be immeasurable value to Byron; it would be to any therapist. For although supervision is critical in maintaining professional standards, it is rarely a touchy-feely relationship. And we all need a bit of that in our lives when the going get's tough ... and in the life of a clinical psychologist, the going is always tough.
What does shine through in this read is Byron's humanity. She is clearly a truly caring individual, with a genuine desire to "do good". I don't mean that term in the negative way, rather that her wish to ease the pain or in some way improve the lives of her clients, is clear to see. She clearly gains a tremendous amount of satisfaction from her work. I'm, actually, more than a little bit envious ...