Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking by Sadie McCarney

Your Therapist Says It’s Magical Thinking is a collection of poems that explores mental health and ideas of reality, moving through three sections: “Coping Strategies”, “Surrey Girls”, and “Alternate Timelines”. The first part explores a lot of the bad advice people give about mental health (the titles are all suggested coping strategies”, and the poems are written in a way that is readable and full of wit, satirising what people say about mental health whilst delving into some of the realities of their bad advice.

The second part, “Surrey Girls”, is based on historical photographs that were taken as part of the treatment of mental illness, written in the voice of different girls with multiple short poems for each. These poems really created different voices for these women and though I wouldn’t usually choose to read poems based around historical material like this, I really liked them. The third part, “Alternate Timelines”, worked less well for me, as I found it hard to engage with some of the poems, though I really loved ‘Fast Food Breakfast’, a poem about an everything bagel that truly has everything, and I appreciated the surreal nature of many of these poems.

The collection is varied, with each section feeling like a discrete part, and there’s a lot inside to think about on the treatment of mental illness and ways of seeing the world. Plus, the book has a truly hilarious cover which feels like a great representation of the title and the first section of the collection.