The Talking Cure, co-written by Australian therapists Gillian Straker and Jacqui Winship, is an unusual concept. Rather than writing about actual case studies, the authors have merged their experiences to describe fictional case studies which nevertheless are representative of common presenting problems (let's face it, many 'true' case studies are often fictionalised anyway, for privacy if nothing else). So we meet the mother of a defiant teen, a person who allows others to take over her life, someone else who can't bear to be wrong, and perhaps most painfully, the parent of a self-harming child, among several others.
The Talking Cure thus combines the immediacy and fascination of 'real life' with generally applicable observations and suggestions that are helpful for the ordinary reader. I actually found this book very absorbing and packed with helpful insight and advice, outlining common psychological principles in a very accessible way. Each chapter ends with a checklist so you can diagnose yourself (come on, admit it, you know you'd be doing that anyway) and some useful broad advice about how to help yourself, before you seek out professional assistance. There's nothing horribly confronting here, mostly problems of inter-personal relationships, and it steers clear of very difficult situations like domestic abuse or violence. I really enjoyed it and the concept worked very effectively. I'm filing it as non-fiction, though I'm not quite sure whether it meets the criteria or not!