Therapy (Hardcover)

By Steven Schwartz

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780151000623, 352pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 1994



Casper "Cap" Kaplan practices psychology in a Colorado college town. His clients are a difficult and invasive group-he can't seem to keep them from intruding on his own life or each other's. Most notable among them is Julian, an obsessive twenty-one-year-old epileptic raised by a highly phobic concentration camp survivor mother, and Maureen Kels, a professor of environmental economics who has countless tactics for getting under Cap's skin, from sporting dragon lady attire to making lewd sexual remarkds to pointing out Cap's most intimate weaknesses. Maureen instigates an affair with Julian, who is not only a fellow client of Cap's but her student as well. Their liaison proves life-threatening, as Julian becomes inordinately confident, certain he can control his seizures without taking medications or other precautions. All this on top of Cap's stormy personal life, including his and his wife's ten-year struggle with infertility, followed by a prolonged and difficult childbirth, and his schizophrenic brother's miraculous turnaround owing to the miracle drug Clozapine. As Cap's clients insinuate themselves more and more into his private life, his marriage becomes strained. His wife secretly enters therapy while his clients terminate theirs, and Cap wonders if it isn't time to close his practice. "In the end he decided it didn't matter. Therapy was therapy...You came out the way you went in, only more so, but with your spurs turned out instead of in to strafe yourself. Was that better or worse?"