Confessions of a Former Child: A Therapist's Memoir

In this honest and witty debut, Daniel J. Tomasulo chronicles and confesses his childhood delusions, his particularly challenging experiences as a parent, and his life as a psychologist. His memories of being a kid–controlling streetlights, avoiding any foods with seeds lest he get pregnant, enduring his mother´s cold love–are vivid, and his life as a parent is riddled with dilemmas. To start, he finds himself locked in a rubber–walled hospital room while his wife is in labor, and later he faces the necessity of giving mouth–to–mouth to his daughter´s suffocating Raggedy Ann doll. As a professional who specializes in the highly personal, he traces the unusual and illuminating connections between his own life and evocative scenes from the lives of his patients.

With refreshing candor and laugh-out–loud humor, Tomasulo explores the elusive magic of childhood, the complications of parent–child relationships, and the lasting significance of the everyday.

Find out more about Dan Tomasulo's other books and writings

Same Time Next Week

In any given year as many as many as one in four adults (approximately 61.5 million individuals)suffers from a diagnosable mental illness-and yet there is still a significant stigma attached to being labeled as "mentally ill."

We hear about worst-case scenario's, but many—maybe even most-cases, there is much room for hope. These 18 frank, often intimate stories reflect the writers’ struggles to overcome—both as professionals and as individuals, as current therapists, and as former patients—the challenges presented by depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other mental disorders.

The encouraging and vitally important message is that a diagnosis of mental illness, although difficult, painful, and sometimes humiliating and degrading, needn’t lead to defeat. With hard work and empathic, passionate support, individuals suffering from mental illness can regain hope, build a sense of accomplishment, and survive.

These dramatic narratives communicate clearly the rewards of helping patients move forward with their lives, often through combination of medication, talk therapy, and common sense.

Collectively these true stories argue for a system that encourages human connection rather than diagnosis by checklist.

Dr. Tomasulo’s contribution to this anthology is his essay Inside.

Reviews

“With tremendous clarity and wisdom, Daniel Tomasulo has crafted a memoir at once heartbreaking and uplifting. Layers of time and memory—childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle age—are so beautifully revealed here, a trenchant reminder that our pasts are alive inside of us. There are psychologists who can write, and writers who can psychologize, but rarely have the two met on the page with such moving, profound results.”

…Tomasulo is at his finest as a therapist. In the chapters where he interacts with patients, he handles sensitive subjects with genuine affection and just the right amount of humor.   Read more

“Disquietingly funny, stuffed with entertaining details and penetrating insights.”

Dan at the UPenn program with Martin Seligman, the "Father of Positive Psychology."