The Next Chapter

Catherine Gildiner writes about her most memorable therapy patients in Good Morning, Monster

In Good Morning, Monster, she focuses on five patients who overcame their personal trauma.
Catherine Gildiner is an American-Canadian author and clinical psychologist. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC, Penguin Random House)
Listen16:31

This interview originally aired on Oct. 26, 2019.

Catherine Gildiner is a American-born and Toronto-based memoirist, novelist and former psychologist. In her latest book Good Morning, Monster, she focuses on five patients who overcame their personal trauma, a process Gildiner defines as being heroic. 

Gildiner spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Good Morning, Monster.

Lasting mark

"When I left psychology I was burned out. I'd done it for 25 years and I'd heard everyone's story and so much trauma. I decided to tell my own story.

These five people that I write about always came back to me — out of the hundreds of people that I had seen.- Catherine  Gildiner

"I waited almost 20 years before I felt that I could write about my practice. These five people that I write about always came back to me — out of the hundreds of people that I had seen."

Intergenerational trauma

"I would encounter clients who had inherited trauma all the time. By helping patients understand this trauma, they could forgive their parents and forgive themselves. It helped them understand their parent's actions and understand what they were dealing with —because it was how they were raised and had no idea that there are alternatives."

Doctor–patient privilege

"I talked to each person beforehand and told them that I was going to use their story. I wanted to protect their identities. To maintain patient confidentiality, I changed details —  things like a patient's occupation, hair colour, what they looked like — and sometimes I brought in other cases so that it wouldn't all be about that one person.  

To maintain patient confidentiality, I changed details —  things like a patient's occupation, hair colour, what they looked like — and sometimes I brought in other cases so that it wouldn't all be about that one person.- Catherine  Gildiner

"They became a composite of different people, so that it wouldn't be one person's life so somebody could possibly recognize. They were composites of different people so that wouldn't all be one person."

Catherine Gildiner's comment have been edited for length and clarity.

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