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

Book cover image of Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin Yalom

Authors: Irvin Yalom
ISBN-13: 9780061719615, ISBN-10: 0061719617
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date Published: May 2009
Edition: (Non-applicable)

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Author Biography: Irvin Yalom

Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., is the author of Love's Executioner, Momma and the Meaning of Life, Lying on the Couch, The Schopenhauer Cure, When Nietzsche Wept, as well as several classic textbooks on psychotherapy, including The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, considered the foremost work on group therapy. The Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University, he divides his practice between Palo Alto, where he lives, and San Francisco, California.

Book Synopsis

Anyone interested in psychotherapy or personal growth will rejoice at The Gift of Therapy, a masterwork from one of the most accomplished psychological thinkers of our day. As an award-winning author of both nonfiction and fiction, and a psychiatrist in practice for 35 years, Yalom imparts his unique wisdom in this remarkable guidebook for successful therapy.

At once startlingly profound and irresistibly practical, Yalom's insights—let the patient matter to you; create a n ew kind of therapy for each patient; how and how not to use self-disclosure—will help enrich the therapeutic process for both patient and counselor.

Publishers Weekly

If the future of psychotherapy lies in psychopharmaceuticals and the short-term therapies stipulated by HMOs, argues Yalom, then the profession is in trouble. Yalom, the recipient of both major awards given by the American Psychiatric Association, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford and the author of both fiction and nonfiction volumes about psychotherapy, writes this book in response to that crisis. Based on knowledge gained from his 35 years of practice, the resulting book of tips (a "gift" for the next generation of therapists) is an enlightening refutation of "brief, superficial, and insubstantial" forms of therapy. Yalom, who references Rilke and Nietzsche as well as Freud's protege Karen Horney and the founder of client-centered therapy, Carl Rogers, describes therapy as "a genuine encounter with another person." He suggests that therapists avoid making DSM IV diagnoses (except for insurance purposes), since these "threaten the human, the spontaneous, the creative and uncertain nature of the therapeutic venture." He also encourages psychotherapists to use dream analysis, group therapy and, when appropriate, wholly inventive forms of treatment. Traditionalists will probably squirm at some of his suggestions (particularly "Revealing the Therapist's Personal Life" and "Don't Be Afraid of Touching Your Patient"). Other tips, though, such as "Never Be Sexual with Patients" are no-brainers. Although the book dies somewhat in the second half, and not much here is new, the wise ideas are perfectly accessible. (Jan.) Forecast: Yalom has explored many of these ideas before. His followers will certainly be charmed, and newcomers patients as much as therapists may be won over by his openness and tender tone. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Table of Contents

Ch. 1Remove the Obstacles to Growth1
Ch. 2Avoid Diagnosis (Except for Insurance Companies)4
Ch. 3Therapist and Patient as "Fellow Travelers,"6
Ch. 4Engage the Patient11
Ch. 5Be Supportive13
Ch. 6Empathy: Looking Out the Patient's Window17
Ch. 7Teach Empathy23
Ch. 8Let the Patient Matter to You26
Ch. 9Acknowledge Your Errors30
Ch. 10Create a New Therapy for Each Patient33
Ch. 11The Therapeutic Act, Not the Therapeutic Word37
Ch. 12Engage in Personal Therapy40
Ch. 13The Therapist Has Many Patients; The Patient, One Therapist44
Ch. 14The Here-and-Now - Use It, Use It, Use It46
Ch. 15Why Use the Here-and-Now?47
Ch. 16Using the Here-and-Now - Grow Rabbit Ears49
Ch. 17Search for Here-and-Now Equivalents52
Ch. 18Working Through Issues in the Here-and-Now58
Ch. 19The Here-and-Now Energizes Therapy62
Ch. 20Use Your Own Feelings as Data65
Ch. 21Frame Here-and-Now Comments Carefully68
Ch. 22All Is Grist for the Here-and-Now Mill70
Ch. 23Check into the Here-and-Now Each Hour72
Ch. 24What Lies Have You Told Me?74
Ch. 25Blank Screen? Forget It! Be Real75
Ch. 26Three Kinds of Therapist Self-Disclosure83
Ch. 27The Mechanism of Therapy - Be Transparent84
Ch. 28Revealing Here-and-Now Feelings - Use Discretion87
Ch. 29Revealing the Therapist's Personal Life - Use Caution90
Ch. 30Revealing Your Personal Life - Caveats94
Ch. 31Therapist Transparency and Universality97
Ch. 32Patients Will Resist Your Disclosure99
Ch. 33Avoid the Crooked Cure102
Ch. 34On Taking Patients Further Than You Have Gone104
Ch. 35On Being Helped by Your Patient106
Ch. 36Encourage Patient Self-Disclosure109
Ch. 37Feedback in Psychotherapy112
Ch. 38Provide Feedback Effectively and Gently115
Ch. 39Increase Receptiveness to Feedback by Using "Parts,"119
Ch. 40Feedback: Strike When the Iron Is Cold121
Ch. 41Talk About Death124
Ch. 42Death and Life Enhancement126
Ch. 43How to Talk About Death129
Ch. 44Talk About Life Meaning133
Ch. 45Freedom137
Ch. 46Helping Patients Assume Responsibility139
Ch. 47Never (Almost Never) Make Decisions for the Patient142
Ch. 48Decisions: A Via Regia into Existential Bedrock146
Ch. 49Focus on Resistance to Decision148
Ch. 50Facilitating Awareness by Advice Giving150
Ch. 51Facilitating Decisions - Other Devices155
Ch. 52Conduct Therapy as a Continuous Session158
Ch. 53Take Notes of Each Session160
Ch. 54Encourage Self-Monitoring162
Ch. 55When Your Patient Weeps164
Ch. 56Give Yourself Time Between Patients166
Ch. 57Express Your Dilemmas Openly168
Ch. 58Do Home Visits171
Ch. 59Don't Take Explanation Too Seriously174
Ch. 60Therapy-Accelerating Devices179
Ch. 61Therapy as a Dress Rehearsal for Life182
Ch. 62Use the Initial Complaint as Leverage184
Ch. 63Don't Be Afraid of Touching Your Patient187
Ch. 64Never Be Sexual with Patients191
Ch. 65Look for Anniversary and Life-Stage Issues195
Ch. 66Never Ignore "Therapy Anxiety,"197
Ch. 67Doctor, Take Away My Anxiety200
Ch. 68On Being Love's Executioner201
Ch. 69Taking a History206
Ch. 70A History of the Patient's Daily Schedule208
Ch. 71How Is the Patient's Life Peopled?210
Ch. 72Interview the Significant Other211
Ch. 73Explore Previous Therapy213
Ch. 74Sharing the Shade of the Shadow215
Ch. 75Freud Was Not Always Wrong217
Ch. 76CBT Is Not What It's Cracked Up to Be ... Or, Don't Be Afraid of the EVT Boogeyman222
Ch. 77Dreams - Use Them, Use Them, Use Them225
Ch. 78Full Interpretation of a Dream? Forget It!227
Ch. 79Use Dreams Pragmatically: Pillage and Loot228
Ch. 80Master Some Dream Navigational Skills235
Ch. 81Learn About the Patients's Life from Dreams238
Ch. 82Pay Attention to the First Dream243
Ch. 83Attend Carefully to Dreams About the Therapist246
Ch. 84Beware the Occupational Hazards251
Ch. 85Cherish the Occupational Privileges256