What makes life worth living? What can we do to lead meaningful lives? And how do we confront our inevitable end? In his long career, eminent psychotherapist and author Irvin Yalom has pressed his patients and readers to grapple with life's two greatest challenges: that we all must die, and that each of us is responsible for leading a life worth living. In Creatures of a Day, he and his patients face the difficulty of these challenges. Although these people have come to Yalom seeking relief, recognition, or meaning, he and they discover that such things are rarely found in the places where we think to look. Like Love's Executioner and Yalom's other writing, Creatures of a Day provides an intelligent, compassionate, yet still unflinching look at the human soul and all the pain, confusion, and hope that go with it. The power of these stories is amplified by Yalom's reflections on his own life as he reckons with its inevitable end. Suffused with humor, great artistry, and a profound humanity, Creatures of a Day lays bare the necessary task we each face, each day, to make our own lives meaningful.
This classic medium, first popularised by Freud and, more recently, by Oliver Sacks and Yalom himself, provides a fascinating insight into the human condition and our search for happiness. Contains six absorbing case studies which reveal the intricacies our psychological landscapes. Provides a fascinating insight into the human condition and our search for happiness. Explores the unique dynamic of the relationship between therapist and client. Absorbing and deeply thoughtful, Momma and the Meaning of Life is a work of rare insight and imagination.
Irvin D. Yalom and the Literature of Psychotherapy
Author: Jeffrey Berman
Pubpsher: SUNY Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Explores Yalom’s profound contributions to psychotherapy and literature. A distinguished psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Irvin D. Yalom is also the United States’ most well-known author of psychotherapy tales. His first volume of essays, Love’s Executioner, became an immediate best seller, and his first novel, When Nietzsche Wept, continues to enjoy critical and popular success. Yalom has created a subgenre of literature, the “therapy story,” where the therapist learns as much as, if not more than, the patient; where therapy never proceeds as expected; and where the therapist’s apparent failure proves ultimately to be a success. Writing the Talking Cure is the first book to explore all of Yalom’s major writings. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Jeffrey Berman comments on Yalom’s profound contributions to psychotherapy and literature and emphasizes the recurrent ideas that unify his writings: the importance of the therapeutic relationship, therapist transparency, here-and-now therapy, the prevalence of death anxiety, reciprocal healing, and the idea of the wounded healer. Throughout, Berman discusses what Yalom can teach therapists in particular and the common (and uncommon) reader in general. “As a psychiatrist who has benefitted enormously not only from Yalom’s writings but also from his mentorship, I admire Berman’s relationship to his subject. They both write lucidly and imaginatively, inviting the reader to accompany them on a personal journey that is intriguing but intellectually rigorous. Reading this book helps me to better understand Yalom’s dual roles—as brilliant psychotherapist/teacher and compelling novelist. Berman’s book-by-book examination of Yalom’s work illustrates how good therapy involves facing reality, and good fiction involves making stories come alive by resonating with the hard truths of life. He is the perfect guide to Yalom, capturing his wisdom and creativity with respect and clarity.” — David Spiegel, author of Living Beyond Limits: New Hope and Help for Facing Life-Threatening Illness “This is a convincing celebration of and commentary on one of the most prominent psychotherapists of the last century. For anyone interested in the popularization of an idiosyncratic form of existential psychotherapy for individuals and groups, this will be an important book.” — Murray Schwartz, Emerson College “In this richly textured book, Berman takes us backstage in a warm and skillful exploration of Irvin Yalom’s unmatched contributions as a psychotherapist, author, and educator. We are provided a transparent view of how human healing emerges from our talking, writing, and reading. Berman reminds us eloquently that psychotherapy is, at its essence, the process of human connection and the joint attribution of meaning to experience.” — Molyn Leszcz, The University of Toronto
The breathless pace of China’s economic reform has brought about deep ruptures in socioeconomic structures and people’s inner landscape. Faced with increasing market-driven competition and profound social changes, more and more middle-class urbanites are turning to Western-style psychological counseling to grapple with their mental distress. This book offers an in-depth ethnographic account of how an unfolding “inner revolution” is reconfiguring selfhood, psyche, family dynamics, sociality, and the mode of governing in post-socialist times. Li Zhang shows that anxiety—broadly construed in both medical and social terms—has become a powerful indicator for the general pulse of contemporary Chinese society. It is in this particular context that Zhang traces how a new psychotherapeutic culture takes root, thrives, and transforms itself across a wide range of personal, social, and political domains.
'When Yalom publishes something - anything - I buy it, and he never disappoints. He's an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and - quite rightly - one of the world's most influential mental healthcare practitioners' Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017 'Wonderful, compelling and as insightful about its subject and about the times he lived in as you could hope for. A fabulous read' Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous. The first-generation child of immigrant Russian Jews, Yalom grew up in a lower-class neighbourhood in Washington DC. Determined to escape its confines, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. An incredible ascent followed: we witness his start at Stanford Medical School amid the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, his turn to writing fiction as a means of furthering his exploration of the human psyche and his rise to international prominence. Yalom recounts his revolutionary work in group psychotherapy and how he became the foremost practitioner of existential psychotherapy, a method that draws on the wisdom of great thinkers over the ages. He reveals the inspiration for his many seminal books, including Love's Executioner and When Nietzche Wept, which meld psychology and philosophy to arrive at arresting new insights into the human condition. Interweaving the stories of his most memorable patients with personal tales of love and regret, Becoming Myself brings readers close to Yalom's therapeutic technique, his writing process and his family life.