Why is this book different? It's the story about 27 "real" persons - one therapist, myself - a real self not afraid to go beyond my walls of the helping profession, to be open, honest, available and admit my mistakes; and Hanna, a courageous woman who suffered years of horrific abuse, and whose only way of coping was to create 26 separate selves - a process labled as DID (Disassociative Identity Disorder). Beyond her walls was a little girl yearning to grow up, to learn and above all, to heal.
TWENTY-SIX BOYS AND GIRLS TRAPPED INSIDE
(AUSTIN) -- Not since Sybil has an audience been introduced to a story about one woman’s harrowing struggle to find wholeness and the therapist who ignored critics to help save her life.
This is one of the most fascinating true stories about multiple personalities ever told. We follow therapist Rachel Gunner through her unconventional therapeutic process with her heroic patient, Hanna, as she stands at the doorstep of suicide.
The new book, Beyond These Walls: The True Story of a Lost Child’s Journey to a Whole Life, co-authored by Rachel and Hanna, chronicles their amazing relationship, the therapy sessions, and what it was like for both of them to confront the real world together.
“Many advised me against my very nontraditional approach telling me ‘[the kids] will take advantage of your accessibility,’” said Ms. Gunner. “[They] never did. I always knew that if I were to have an impact on changing [the kids’] perception of therapists, to get them to stop fighting ‘us professionals,’ I had no choice but to be different.”
Hanna’s condition, DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), had created 26 distinct personalities of different genders and ages, which Ms. Gunner began to refer to as Hanna’s “kids.” Ms. Gunner’s approach to therapy, however, was not supported by many of her colleagues.
“I didn’t know another way to keep Hanna and the others alive, so I suggested writing a book together,” said Ms. Gunner. “It became a therapeutic tool, a way of developing a deeper bond between us, and a source of pride that our relationship was the basis of an intense healing process.”
Never before has a book revealed the true relationship between a therapist and her client, who is dealing with a severe condition of DID.
“We knew ‘our’ story needed to be told, so both the professional and mainstream audiences could realize the positive benefits of therapy where both therapist and client are real, open and respectful of one other” said Ms. Gunner. “The therapist-patient relationship is always a private and confidential environment, and so only those currently in therapy understand what is possible under those conditions.”
Copyright © 2006 Rachel Gunner and Hanna Gabriele
Published by Argun Books
Rachel was a consultant to actress Gretchen Moll in her role as a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder in the Hulu series Chance starring Hugh Laurie and Ms. Moll