Psychiatrist Ichabod Green’s I, Shrink is a short collection of case studies from his psychiatry career in the form of candid one- to three-page expositions.
Without preamble or introduction, Green dives immediately into his first section of cases, beginning with a woman having orgasmic issues and ending with a man experiencing sleep disturbances. Green’s descriptions of his subjects include little detail beyond the main complaint that brought them into therapy. He then briefly describes the therapeutic arc that led his patients to eventually discontinue treatment, whether successfully or without clear relief.
Green follows these 14 short-term cases with a section on his medical training, including examples of his interactions with patients during that time. The book also includes “vignettes” of patients he saw for only brief medication management appointments and a few long-term case studies.
Green’s memoir is told in an engaging and provocative manner. He recounts his experiences in accessible language that lay readers will easily understand. For example, describing his work with depressed patients, Green says he “always felt it was like entering a dark cave with the patient…feeling for clues which might lead us to the cause of the symptom.”
Unfortunately, the work also has some problems. The section about his medical training would be better placed first in the collection, so readers can understand the lens through which he views psychiatry before reading the other case studies. Additionally, the case studies of both long- and short-term patients don’t offer enough detail to allow general readers to become fully invested in their outcomes. They are also too spare to illustrate the author’s methodology or provide modeling of successful case management for those in the psychiatric field.
As such, this book will most interest those curious about the salacious details that happen in the privacy of a psychiatrist’s office. It may also prove satisfying for other therapists to see Green acknowledge that some psychiatric outcomes are unclear.