Book Review: Fifty Shrinks by Sebastian Zimmermann

Threestone Books, Printed in Iceland by Oddi, 2014

This tantalizing book of photographs, depicting psychotherapists in their offices, emerged from the photographer-author's awareness of a paradox: He spent long hours interacting with many clients, yet he felt as if he worked in isolation. He composed this unique volume in order to answer this question for himself: What do we, as psychotherapists and analysts, have in common beyond the treatment of clients? Curiosity, combined with the passion for photography, motivated Dr. Zimmermann to produce this enlightening, artistic volume.

As they pose in their respective offices, the "shrinks" provide a glimpse into their own psyches. The sampling includes psychotherapists from well to lesser known and captures them at different stages of their career.

The reader is invited into the sacred space, privy to the diversity of the minds that inhabit these rooms. Each psychotherapist aims to provide a comfortable and safe environment that supports the complex exploration of the psyche, relieves pain and suffering, and encourages psychological growth.

In her eloquent introduction, architect Elizabeth Danze writes:

"I consider the role of the room neither tacit nor passive...but rather active in the creative work of analysis....No other type of architectural space performs in quite the same way. These rooms are detached floating vessels, places of sanctuary and protection, healing and reconciliation. They are shaped by space, material, texture, and light to elucidate the characters and stories that reside within."

I highly recommend this enlightening book, which offers a glimpse into spaces that reflect the unique mind of each psychotherapist.