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CHARLES BACTAWAR, HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologist & Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, of Psyconsultancy, has provided an overview of Distortion.

Book Review

Charles Bactawar

 'Distortion' is a very interesting piece of creative work describing an intimate relationship of traumatised couple.  


The reader is first taken on an educational journey through the labyrinth of physical and psychological injuries, pain and suffering that the two characters experienced in life. The male character has disfigurement and suffered from humiliation, bullying, alienation and multiple failed surgeries.  The female character has an acute form of scoliosis, also endured failed medical interventions, whilst experiencing exploitation and mis-treatment by boys.


These traumas shaped their perspectives, beliefs, and defences, and against this backdrop the drama plays itself out.  Both see the world as hostile and fight the inner battle of what others thought and how they see themselves, suggestive of the struggle between social labelling versus inner belief, at times confusing their beliefs with distorted perceptions thrust on them.  In amongst this strife, they overcome their sense of shame, stigma, inadequacy and the fear of intimacy. Their hope for being free from fear and isolation is found in the possibility of being with each other.


There is always a strong drive and motivation to bond and relate to each other, but our perspective whether it is distorted or not, and our defences, get in the way of this process.  The author demonstrates quite skilfully, with the use of Sensate Focus technique and other evaluative tools, including an imagined and symbolic peeling back of layers of trauma, how forming trust can break down these defences and allow this couple to experience their reality and a liberation of past suffering.


The visceral nature of the story creatively illustrates how the body endures, stores and releases its’ trauma and the discovery of unconscious parental blame for their predicament through catharsis.


Whilst this is an intimate struggle, the couple do not live in isolation from the world, and we see, particularly, in one scene how the judgement of others, through their stares and gazes, remain imprinted on their lives: where other people’s eyes become part of her body, necessitating their removal for her own survival; where there is no distance between their bodies and other peoples’ gazes.  They are not separate from the world they seek to survive in.


The author utilises his great insight and understanding of human behaviours and psychological processes in this book. Psychodynamic theories and Psychotherapy pay particular attention to the quality of the relationship and facilitate a different kind of experience or reality for clients and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy takes a scientific – experiential approach to bring reality and liberation. Elements of these approaches are evident in this piece of creative work in Distortion. I would highly recommend this book to any avid reader.

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