Rachel Aviv
Author and The New Yorker staff writer, Psychology expert

Rachel Aviv is an author and staff writer at The New Yorker who writes about a range of subjects, including medical ethics, psychology, criminal justice, and education. She was twice a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Public Interest, and in 2022 she won a National Magazine Award for Profile Writing. A 2019 national fellow at New America, Aviv was a recipient of the 2020 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant for her book Strangers to Ourselves.


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Strangers to Ourselves Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The acclaimed, award-winning New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv offers a groundbreaking exploration of mental illness and the mind, and illuminates the startling connections between diagnosis and identity.

Check out this piece mental illness by Rachel Aviv in The New York Times.

The Los Angeles Times showcases how Rachel went to the patients to get to the root of mental illness.

Take a look at this review of Rachel’s most recent book in The Guardian.

Check out Rachel’s take on mental illness in CBS news.

Praise for Strangers to Ourselves "Intimate and revelatory . . . attuned to subtlety and complexity . . . This isn't an anti-psychiatry book— Aviv is too aware of the specifics of any situation to succumb to anything so sweeping and polemical . . . a book-length demonstration of Aviv’s extraordinary ability to hold space for the 'uncertainty, mysteries and doubts' of others."
—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

"In writing against the limits of psychiatric narratives, into the space where language has failed, Ms. Aviv paradoxically finds language for the most ineffable registers of human experience. She begins to name correctly what has been named wrongly. For a journalist, as for a psychiatrist, there is no higher achievement."
—Elizabeth Winkler, The Wall Street Journal

"One of the pleasures of this book is its resistance to a clear and comforting verdict, its desire to dwell in unknowing. At every step, Aviv is nuanced and perceptive, probing cultural differences and alert to ambiguity, always filling in the fine-grain details. Extracting a remarkable amount of information from archival material as well as living interview subjects, she brings all of these people to life, even the two whom she never met."
—Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic

"Every attempt at resolution comes with its own pitfalls, which Aviv considers with empathy and analytic perspicacity . . . She is especially sharp in the granular—by focusing on the unique composition of each of these individuals’ perceptions, she can show how they change shape as soon as they come into contact with perceptions crafted in the forge of social history."
—Callie Hitchcock, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Written with an astonishing amount of attention and care . . . Aviv’s triumphs in relating these journeys are many: her unerring narrative instinct, the breadth of context brought to each story, her meticulous reporting. Chief among these is her empathy, which never gives way to pity or sentimentality."
—Charlotte Shane, Bookforum

"Tremendous . . . [Strangers to Ourselves] casts hard insights into the mutability of therapy."
—Chicago Tribune