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Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors (American Lives) ebook

by Charles Barber


The black chair" of the title is a simple ugly black metal chair next to the desk at which Charles Barber once . Barber's memoir also is a tale of the value and validity of alternative paths to the establishment model of academic achievement.

The black chair" of the title is a simple ugly black metal chair next to the desk at which Charles Barber once worked as an in-take assessor at the Bellevue homeless shelter in Manhattan. Most of the thousands of men he interviewed had psychiatric problems and a substance-abuse history. Songs from the Black Chair" is one chapter of the book to which it lends it name. Barber and his friend Henry both came from academic families: their fathers were college professors of note and Barber's older brothers were a doctor and an investment banker.

Charles Barber's memoir, Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of. .One of the best books i have read on mental illness.

I recommend this to anyone who finds mental illness Songs from the Black Chair has a subtitle of A Memoir of Mental Interiors. This is extremely accurate, and very well done.

Barber''s ability to convey the experience of mental illness is striking.

by. Barber, Charles, 1962-. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Charles Barber (born 1962) is an American author who writes about mental health, psychiatric, and criminal justice issues

Charles Barber (born 1962) is an American author who writes about mental health, psychiatric, and criminal justice issues. The New England Journal of Medicine compared the book to William Styron’s Darkness Visible and Sylvia Nasar’s A Beautiful Mind

Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 14 years ago. Songs from the Black Chair was awesome

Published by Thriftbooks. Songs from the Black Chair was awesome.

A Memoir of Mental Interiors (American Lives). Published March 1, 2005 by University of Nebraska Press. Mental health, Mentally ill, Biography, Psychiatrists.

Charles Barber is an associate of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale .

Charles Barber is an associate of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale University School of Medicine. Day after day, night after night, desperate men come to sit in the black chair next to Charles Barber’s desk in a basement office at Bellevue and tell of their travails, of prison and disease, of violence and the voices that plague them.

A Memoir of Mental Interiors. First-book author Barber recalls the suicide of one boyhood friend, the disintegration of another, his own experiences working with the homeless, mentally handicapped and mentally ill-and wonders why he’s been able to emerge from the tangled wood and others have not. Barber (Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health/Yale Univ. School of Medicine) mixes affecting autobiographical anecdotes, self-deprecating humor, summaries of psychiatric cases and speculations about the meaning of life.

Day after day, night after night, desperate men come to sit in the black chair next to Charles Barber’s desk in a basement office at Bellevue and tell of their travails, of prison and disease, of violence and the voices that plague them. Between the stories, amid the peeling paint, musty odor, and flickering fluorescent light of his office, Barber observes that this isn’t really where he is supposed to be and reveals his privileged youth in contrast to his own nightmare of mental illness. By relating these troubled lives to his own, Barber illuminates some of the most disturbing and enduring truths of human nature.
Utchanat
"The black chair" of the title is a simple ugly black metal chair next to the desk at which Charles Barber once worked as an in-take assessor at the Bellevue homeless shelter in Manhattan. Most of the thousands of men he interviewed had psychiatric problems and a substance-abuse history. "Songs from the Black Chair" is one chapter of the book to which it lends it name. That chapter tells of the work Barber did for two-and-a-half years at Bellevue, work that he thoroughly enjoyed despite hellish, surrealistic conditions and rock-bottom pay. SONGS FROM THE BLACK CHAIR, the book, is Barber's memoir -- as the subtitle has it, "A Memoir of Mental Interiors". In it, Barber tells how he got to the black chair at Bellevue as well as a little about what he did afterwards. The book is Barber's effort to make sense of it all.

Because Barber had his own history of psychiatric disorder, specifically, obsessive-compulsive disorder. It was nearly crippling, and twice led him to drop out of college. Ultimately, it was controlled by Prozac, with the immeasurable assistance of a loving and understanding girlfriend-later-wife (although Barber himself doesn't seem to give her sufficient credit in overcoming his disorder). Adding to the witch's brew that was long Barber's life was the mental illness of Henry, one of his two best friends from high school; in Henry's case, mental illness led to suicide at the age of twenty-one.

Barber's memoir also is a tale of the value and validity of alternative paths to the establishment model of academic achievement. Barber and his friend Henry both came from academic families: their fathers were college professors of note and Barber's older brothers were a doctor and an investment banker. Barber and Henry excelled in high school and went on to distinguished universities -- Harvard, in Barber's case; and Wesleyan (or "Wilson" as it is called in the book) in Henry's. But neither could accommodate himself -- in part, surely, because of their mental conditions -- to the demands of a conventional college education and then a career of prestige and profit. Henry ended up swamped by it all. Barber, on the other hand, spent years working at rather menial jobs, primarily as a busboy and as an orderly at a home for the severely retarded, before he returned to obtain his college degree. Though now associated with the Yale University School of Medicine, Barber took a most unconventional route to get there.

For various reasons too complex to try to explicate, the memoir is not altogether coherent to me, and Barber expresses a few opinions with which I disagree. Nonetheless, I found it fascinating, and time and again in reading it there came to mind the old saying, "There but for the grace of God * * *."

This, by the way, represents my introduction to the "American Lives Series" of books published by the University of Nebraska Press. Scanning the list of books in the series, I see three or four other memoirs that interest me.
Nayatol
I had the pleasure of being a student of Professor Barber. I took his Psychology 101/111 class, and contrary to an earlier reviewer/poster here, Prof. Barber is an excellent teacher, who has compassion for his students, and a great deal of knowledge.

This was the first writing of his I have been able to read in full. I found it interesting, compelling, and very brave to speak so openly of his own personal struggles.

Prof. Barber spoke briefly of this book in the class that I took with him, but I had no clue as to his own challenges, he has had to overcome.

Having grown up in what I believe is the actual town that is the basis for the pseudonym town of "Cold River", I must say the Professor, nails the town, and setting, perfectly.The book is 'hard to put down', and you feel for all those you read about in the pages.

Again, not having been aware of Prof. Barber's own mental health issues, after reading this book, I gained an even greater respect for him. I look forward to reading his second book, to see how he reconciled the help he found with prescriptions, and his take of the pharmaceutical industry.

I write this review out of an honest opinion of the book, and now with an even greater respect for the man. As I stated, I was a student of the author, but am not currently taking a class from him, so there is no motive other than to refute a previous review that unfairly questioned the teaching ability of Prof. Barber.

I wish I did have an opportunity to speak with Prof. Barber again, just so I could ask if some of the locations in "Cold River" are the places I think they are.
Thetalune
A well-written, finely-crafted travelogue of a man's journey through the land of mental illness in America. It is an honest and thoughtful book.
Endieyab
Barber is an excellent writer and movingly portrays his best friend's depression and his own struggles with OCD. He also offers a unique perspective on the mental health profession through his work at various homes and shelters in CT and NY and will leave you with a new understanding of what it means to be sane.
just one girl
Anyone interested in psychology should read this book. Very powerful and essential insight into human nature. Charles Barber rightly acknowledges the wonderful team of assistants he wisely chose to make this book happen. Miss Wisher is one of these deserving individuals.
anneli
I dare you to put this book down. There are passages that will sear themselves into your brain pain, I promise. Its two books in one. It is one part memoir, as the author takes you back to his teen years, evoking for us the two great friendships of his adolescence, both of which are fraught with tragedy. The other part is a must-read for anyone interested in homelessness and psychiatry, as the author, having battled mental illness himself, takes a job at a hospital and at a shelter that cater to the homeless and mentally ill. There are incidents in this section that would be hilarious if they were not so harrowing.
Topmen
This book is a great read. From the opening scenes of a suicide in a New England farmhouse to the following chapters that tell of youthful adventures and the descent into madness, Charlie Barber knows how carry us through what would have been tortuous material in less skilled hands. This book gives us a personal account of the terrors of mental illness and loss of control over ones thoughts and destiny. The slow path to healing, and the refreshing acknowlegement of how medications brought back his sanity are a welcome departure from the usual rants against the medical industrial complex. I also greatly enjoyed the view of the sleepy college town and the caring yet uncomprehending parents that all of us can identify with, both as teens and as uncomprehending parents. I highly recommend this book.
Songs from the Black Chair: A Memoir of Mental Interiors (American Lives) ebook
Author:
Charles Barber
Category:
Psychology & Counseling
Subcat:
EPUB size:
1763 kb
FB2 size:
1644 kb
DJVU size:
1469 kb
Language:
Publisher:
Bison Books (March 1, 2007)
Pages:
206 pages
Rating:
4.8
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