The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist’s Reflections on Healing in a Changing World by Dora Calott Wang, M.D.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a psychiatrist? To know the intimate thoughts and struggles that go on in the minds of those who are charged with the restoration of health and well-being? The Kitchen Shrink might be the book for you.

The Kitchen Shrink is a beautifully written memoir by Dr. Dora Wang detailing her life as a psychiatrist, wife, and mother and her experience of the shift that has occurred in medicine over the past twenty years.  Dr. Wang is an incredibly gifted writer and storyteller.  Unfortunately, the story she has to share is not as beautiful: there has been a paradigm shift away from patient-centered, “cradle-to-grave” medicine to a more business-centered, insurance driven model that focuses, not on quality, but rather on efficiencies–where the patient has been removed from the center of attention and remade as a “cog” in the health care machine.  I found myself wanting to share my patient-care stories with Dr. Wang as I read her poignant and all-too-familiar accounts.  While I know that her story is both emotionally-wrenching and true, I am left to wonder who, outside of physicians and those interested in health care reform, will find and read this book. While Dr. Wang does not suggest any specific health care reform options, she does a wonderful job of illuminating many of the problems with our current state of health care while reminding us of medicine’s noble history as the healing art.  Through the intimacy shared in her writing, Dr. Wang feels like a kindred-spirit in the quest for balance, happiness, and contentment.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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