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Book Review

A Father's Abuse...A Doctor's Love, is written by Louis Panesi.

This book took me some time to read through because the author writes of his abuse in a very graphic and vivid way. At just ten years of age, Mr. Panesi's mother sent him to live with his father. He was being molested by not only his piano teacher, but also by his mother's husband, Clyde. The day he arrived at his father's house, his life changed forever.

Mr. Panesi takes his readers on a walk through the hell he endured. He went to see a mental health doctor, who then referred him to Dr. Shoemaker. The reader quickly learns that Dr. Shoemaker used unconventional and very controversial methods of therapy. Freud is frequently spoken of, between Mr. Panesi and Dr. Shoemaker, during their sessions. Mr. Panesi began his process towards healing with Dr. Shoemaker. He spent a great deal of time sitting across the desk from the doctor, as he started from the beginning and shared the abuse he endured at the hand of his father, as well as his grandfather. It is important to note that Mr. Panesi's grandfather frequently beat on Mr. Panesi's father while growing up and nearly beat him to death on one occassion. That being the only life that Mr. Panesi's father knew, he continued the cycle of abuse on his son, Louis.

Louis endured extreme abuse at the hand of his father and grandfather. He was physically abused only once by his father. From that point on, it was verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. Louis was convinced that he was worthless and of no value to anyone. It is somewhat of a roller coaster ride because during the time that Louis was being abused, his father also paid for him to go to school to be a pilot. That was a dream that Louis held tight to.

Mr. Panesi shared his experiences, verbatum, with Dr. Shoemaker. At one point, they talked about sex. However, Dr. Shoemaker talked about it with slang and swearing. It is not something you would expect from a psychiatrist or therapist. Even Mr. Panesi was taken aback by it. However, as unconventional as Dr. Shoemaker's techniques were, they seemed to reach Mr. Panesi and help him to progress. Dr. Shoemaker began to take Mr. Panesi under his wings. He also continued to allow Mr. Panesi to see him, regardless of the fact that he was not being paid for his services. This went on for roughly eight years, if I am correct. Dr. Shoemaker had a huge impact on Mr. Panesi.

There came a point in which Mr. Panesi was told to lay on the couch and the sessions became quite intense. This lasted for some time. He started to express his hatred and rage towards his father, while on that couch. During one particularly difficult session, where Mr. Panesi ended up hurting himself, Dr. Shoemaker discontinued his services with Mr. Panesi. This left him feeling abandoned and alone once again. It is debatable whether it was professional of Dr. Shoemaker to do this in such a way. However, because of Dr. Shoemakers help in the past, Mr. Panesi was able to go forward in his life and become the pilot he always dreamed of becoming. He found himself going after his goals and dreams and achieving them.

There is one type of reader that I do not recommend reading this book and that is the individual that is new to therapy. I feel that the only way they should read this book is with the help of their therapist. This is because it is very graphic and intense. Emotions that are strong come to the surface for the reader. This might hinder the therapy process for a person new to therapy. I strongly recommend this book to those that are in the mental health field. Whether you are a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, I recommend you read this book, since there is much to be learned from it. Dr. Shoemaker, besides being a highly respected professional, was, above all, human. He taught Mr. Panesi that it is OK to be human. He taught him that it is OK to feel the emotions, as well as to express one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a healthy way.

This is definitely a good read for those in the mental health field. It can also help someone that has been in therapy for some time, as I believe they will see the human side of therapy. It can also help the patient to see that while there is a time for crying and expressing oneself clearly, there is also joy to be found in therapy as one heals.

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