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The Gift Of Therapy

An Open Letter to a New Generation of T herapists and Their Patients
Paperback Book
May, 2009
$21.99 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Here the author of Love’s Executioner and Momma and the Meaning of Life offers us some fruits of his 45 years as a practicing psychiatrist and therapist. This 2009 edition includes more than twenty pages of new therapy tips by the author.

This is an idiosyncratic mélange of ideas and techniques that I have found useful in my work. These ideas are so personal, opinionated, and occasionally original that the reader is unlikely to encounter them elsewhere. I selected the eighty-five categories in this volume randomly guided by my passion for the task rather than any particular order or system.

In a context of concern for how psychotherapy can be deformed by economic pressures and impoverished by radically abbreviated training programs, Yalom offers his “nuts-and-bolts collection of favorite interventions or statements, which are long on technique and short on theory.” It includes sections on:

ª   The nature of the therapist-patient relationship, with particular emphasis on the here-and-now, the therapist’s use of the self, and therapist self-disclosure

ª  Methods of exploring the ultimate concerns of death, meaning in life, and freedom (encompassing responsibility and decision)

ª   A variety of issues arising from the everyday conduct of therapy

ª  The use of dreams in therapy

ª  The hazards and privileges of being a therapist.

Among these 85 chapters/“tips” are:

ª  Create a New Therapy for Each Patient

ª  The Mechanism of Therapy—Be Transparent

ª  On Taking Patients Further Than You Have Gone

ª  Acknowledge Your Errors

ª  Full Interpretation of a Dream—Forget it!

ª  The Here-and-Now Energizes Therapy

ª  Freud Was Not Always Wrong

ª  Therapy-Accelerating Devices

ª  Sharing the Shade of the Shadow

ª  Decisions—a Via Regia into Existential Bedrock.

This text is sprinkled with many of my favorite specific phrases and interventions. At the same time I encourage spontaneity and creativity. Hence do not view my idiosyncratic interventions as a specific procedural recipe; they represent my own perspective and my attempt to reach inside to find my own style and voice.

Also by Irvin Yalom are the novels Lying on the Couch and When Nietzsche Wept.

Publisher’s Description: 

The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom's more than thirty-five years in clinical practice, The Gift of Therapy is a remarkable and essential guidebook that illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. The bestselling author of Love's Executioner shares his uniquely fresh approach and the valuable insights he has gainedpresented as eighty-five personal and provocative "tips for beginner therapists," including:

  • Let the patient matter to you
  • Acknowledge your errors
  • Create a new therapy for each patient
  • Do home visits
  • (Almost) never make decisions for the patient
  • Freud was not always wrong

A book aimed at enriching the therapeutic process for a new generation of patients and counselors, Yalom's Gift of Therapy is an entertaining, informative, and insightful read for anyone with an interest in the subject.

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