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|More than Magic - Page 2|
Cammie is now 18 and, although she still has plenty of disturbing symptoms, she's a thousand times better than she was as a small child. Initially diagnosed as retarded and suffering from PTSD, she's now in school and has been labeled "gifted."
With Cammie's story as her centerpiece, Terr weaves together 48 case studies from 33 psychiatrists that feature other "positive turnarounds." Each of the brief stories has a coda: a "meaning of the moment," presented as a short commentary. It's an impressive bit of stitching and writing by any writer, let alone a working psychiatrist.
Being "real" is high on Terr's list of the therapeutic qualities that lead to clinical "magic." But what does being real mean? Most therapists are taught to be real, or some such facsimile. For Terr, it means acting from gut instinct, at the right moment. She acknowledges that a professional, almost Freudian, stance of objectivity can be useful at times, depending on the case and circumstance, but because of "Cammie's sadistic, neglectful, violent and frightening birth parents," Terr felt more real being "the god of fun" for a young girl whose life until then had been a nightmare. Terr's office is a child's menagerie: dolls and playthings are stored everywhere. She used all of these props to engage Cammie, playing Little Red Riding Hood for a while (the child was enthralled with the wicked, dangerous wolf).