This work is the author's thoughtful investigation of the gripping patient encounters that have challenged and deepened her practice. The majority of the patients she treats here are seen in the locked inpatient wards of a psychiatric hospital; all are in moments of profound crisis. Each case study presents its own line of inquiry, leading her to seek relevant psychiatric knowledge from diverse sources. She discovers lessons in medieval dancing plagues, in leading forensic and neurological research, and in moments from her own life. She brings us inside the doctor's mind, illuminating the grave costs of mental illness as well as the challenges of diagnosis and treatment. Throughout, she confronts the larger question of psychiatry: What is to be done when a patient's experiences cannot be accounted for, or helped, by what contemporary medicine knows about the brain? When all else fails, she finds, what remains is the capacity to abide, to sit with the desperate in their darkest moments. At once rigorous and meditative, this is an intimate portrait of psychiatry, allowing the reader to witness the humanity of the practice and the enduring mysteries of the mind. -- From publisher description.