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The Schopenhauer Cure

A Novel
Paperback Book
December, 2005
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Banyen's Description: 

From novel-writing psychotherapist Irvin Yalom, author of Lying on the Couch, comes The Schopenhauer Cure, the world’s first accurate group-therapy novel, a story of two men’s search for meaning that takes us on a journey from disconnection to connection “through the commonality of our suffering.”

When confrontation with mortality prompts eminent psychiatrist Julius Hertzfeld to scrutinize the meaning in his life’s work as a healer, he reconnects with Philip, the attractive, arrogant, unrepentant sex addict he treated unsuccessfully 23 years earlier. Philip, a philosopher, is now studying to be a therapist himself, and Hertzfeld will provide him with the supervisory hours he needs for his degree—but only if Philip first works on his relationships with others by joining Hertzfeld’s therapy group.

As luck would have it, another group member, Pam, was one of Philip’s victims years ago—and is still traumatized by their encounter. Presented with this explosive situation from the past, the group rises to an unprecedented level of power and engagement that produces extraordinary changes in every member.

Philip claims to have cured himself by reading the misanthropic philosopher Schopenhauer. Soon Julius and Philip, using very different therapeutic approaches, are competing for the hearts and minds of the group members. In The Schopenhauer Cure, Yalom elegantly weaves the true story of Schopenhauer’s psychological life throughout the narrative, knitting together fact and fiction to form a compellingly readable tale.

Depicting group therapy at its finest, this “novel of ideas” cries one message over the rooftops:  “It’s not ideas, nor vision, nor tools that truly matter in therapy… it’s always the relationship.” The characters talk about things that matter—relationships, emotions—and together they move through broken pasts, ultimately arriving at connection.

The paperback edition includes a “P.S.” afterword and interview with the author.

Among Yalom’s other books are Love’s Executioner and When Nietzsche Wept

Publisher’s Description: 

Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine checkup, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work -- and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured -- miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer -- and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training. Philips dour, misanthropic stance compels Julius to invite Philip to join his intensive therapy group in exchange for tutoring on Schopenhauer. But with mere months left, life may be far too short to help Philip or to compete with him for the hearts and minds of the group members. And then again, it might be just long enough.

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