Then you should really read Irvin D. And Why? The Gift of Therapy is primarily a book targeting therapists: especially those who already know something about Yalom and existential therapy and are familiar with the theoretical aspects of the practice. You may see a healthier you from the other side.

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Then you should really read Irvin D. And Why? The Gift of Therapy is primarily a book targeting therapists: especially those who already know something about Yalom and existential therapy and are familiar with the theoretical aspects of the practice.

You may see a healthier you from the other side. About Irvin D. Yalom Irvin D. Yalom is an American existential psychotherapist, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, and a bestselling author of both non-fiction and fiction books.

Born to Russian parents in Washington D. He has written as many fiction as non-fiction books, the most famous of which, When Nietzsche Wept, was adapted into a movie in Irvin D. Yalom, at the beginning of The Gift of Therapy.

He writes, movingly: I worry where the next generation of effective psychotherapists will be trained. Not in psychiatry residency training programs. Psychiatry is on the verge of abandoning the field of psychotherapy.

Young psychiatrists are forced to specialize in psychopharmacology because third-party payers now reimburse for psychotherapy only if it is delivered by low-fee in other words, minimally trained practitioners. It seems certain that the present generation of psychiatric clinicians, skilled in both dynamic psychotherapy and in pharmacological treatment, is an endangered species.

And yet, Yalom concludes, if not only because of this endangered species or exactly because there are so few of them , it makes sense to write a book such as The Gift of Therapy. The two things differ in their frame of reference. Because, in theory, you can say that existential psychotherapy is all about the givens of existence, but in practice, it would be both contra-productive and fruitless to force upon a patient a discussion which includes any of them explicitly.

Process 1 — 40 Here are the highlights from the first section: 1. Remove obstacles to growth; 2. Except in extreme cases — and for insurance companies — avoid diagnosis: you are talking with a unique human being, not with a general concept; 3. Think of your patient as a fellow traveler, not as your follower; 4. Engage your patient in a deeply personal relationship through discussion; 5. Be supportive; 6. Do not only practice but also teach empathy; 8. Let the patient matter to you; 9.

Acknowledge your errors: mistakes bring people closer; Treat all of your patients as individuals: create a new therapy for each of them; Talk the talk, but also walk the walk; Engage in personal therapy; Never forget that while the therapist has many patients, the patient has only one therapist; 14 — Forget the blank screen: instead of being a robot, be your very self to your patient; 26 — Avoid the crooked cure; If you can — and it is possible — take your patients further than you have gone; Sometimes allow your patient to help you; Encourage patient self-disclosure; Use the Johari window for feedback; Provide feedback effectively and gently; As far as feedback is concerned — strike when the iron is cold.

Content 41 — 51 The second part comprises eleven pieces of advice. The first three 41 — 43 concern the first given of existence: death. It is discussions about death which help us move from our everyday mode of existence full of distractions with our material surroundings to an ontologic mode of being filled with wonderment and readiness for change.

Unlike other beings, humans are unique in the fact that they are meaning-seeking creatures. However, as Joseph Campbell often reminds us , the goal of the journey is the journey itself. After this, the book includes several chapters 45 — 51 dealing with the last of the givens of existence — freedom — and its corollaries: responsibility and decision-making. Yalom understands freedom in the way most existential philosophers understand it: as a way of assuming responsibility for your life in a chaotic, unstructured world.

The psychology of decision making is also glanced upon since it is another boundary experience, located somewhere between freedom and death.

Everyday Therapy 52 — 76 The third section 52 — 76 is, not even arguably, the most random one. Here they are: Conduct therapy as a continuous session; Take notes of each session; Encourage self-monitoring: may your patients take notes as well; When your patient weeps, encourage him to go even deeper; Give yourself some time for repose between patients; Express your dilemmas openly with the patient; When you can, do home visits; Consider therapy a dress rehearsal for life; Use complaints as leverages; However, unlike Jung, never be sexual with patients; Look for anniversary and life-stage issues; Ask your patient what you should say to make him feel better; Share the shade of your shadow with your patient; Freud was wrong about many things — but he was not always wrong; Use dreams pragmatically: first master some dream navigational skills, then pay attention to the narrative and then pillage and loot through them!

Hazards and Privileges 84 — 85 In the last two chapters, Yalom unearths the occupational hazards and privileges of being a therapist. Why bother being a therapist if this is the cost? Well, Yalom has an answer for that in the final chapter: Life as a therapist is a life of service in which we daily transcend our personal wishes and turn our gaze toward the needs and growth of the other.

Existential and Group Therapy 2. The Four Givens of Existence 3. Therapists Are Descendants of Jesus and Buddha According to Irvin Yalom, therapists are privileged with hearing out the deepest and most intimate secrets of their subject; and they should act accordingly. He writes: We therapists are part of a tradition reaching back not only to our immediate psychotherapy ancestors, beginning with Freud and Jung and all their ancestors — Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard — but also to Jesus, the Buddha, Plato, Socrates, Galen, Hippocrates, and all the other great religious leaders, philosophers, and physicians who have, since the beginning of time, ministered to human despair.

Like this summary? Click To Tweet As long as he denies his own agency, real change is unlikely because his attention will be directed toward changing his environment rather than himself. Try to see the world as your patient sees it. Click To Tweet Sometimes I simply remind patients that sooner or later they will have to relinquish the goal of having a better past. Click To Tweet Too often, we therapists neglect our personal relationships. Our work becomes our life. Yalom is right: The Gift of Therapy is perfect as a supplement to a comprehensive psychotherapy training program.

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The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients



The Gift of Therapy : An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients


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