As the public grows disillusioned with therapeutic quick fixes, people are looking for a deeper psychotherapeutic experience to make life more meaningful and satisfying. What really happens in therapy? What promises and perils does it hold for them?No one writes about therapy - or indeed the dilemmas of the human condition - with more acuity, style, and heart than Irvin Yalom. Here he combines the storytelling skills so widely praised in Love’s Executioner with the wisdom of the compassionate and fully engaged psychotherapist.In these six compelling tales of therapy, Yalom introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Paula, who faces death and stares it down; Magnolia, into whose ample lap Yalom longs to pour his own sorrows; Irene, who learns to seek out anger and plunge into it. And there’s Momma, old-fashioned, ill-tempered, who drifts into Yalom’s dreams and tramples through his thoughts. At once wildly entertaining and deeply thoughtful, Momma and the Meaning of Life is a work of rare insight and imagination.
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Tales of therapy are also tales of therapists, and Irvin D. Yalom--author of much bestselling psychiatric fiction and nonfiction--is a seasoned storyteller. This new collection of "tales from the couch," part memoir and part fiction, is the work of a therapist unafraid to become deeply engaged with his patients; people, not pathology, are the stuff of Yalom's psychotherapy. Ego, doubt, and fantasy are rarely confined to the couch, and the doctor learns as much from his patients as they from him.
Here Yalom introduces us to Paula, whose losing fight against cancer teaches us that fear is only one of the many colors that brighten our dying; to Irene, a skilled surgeon whose dreams provide tantalizing clues for the psychological gumshoe intent on discovering the irrational terror behind her impressive intellect; to Magnolia, the earth mother whose inexplicable paralysis and imaginary infestations seemed her body's way of punishing her for aspirations aimed too high; and to Momma herself, half protector, half mythological monster, guardian at the gates of the psychotherapist's own unconscious. And, opening up the case files of the fictional Ernest Lash, Yalom reminds us that psychiatrists, too, are human. Like Oliver Sacks, Yalom spins the labyrinth threads of consciousness into the rich tapestry of something much grander. Therapy is not for the weak of heart, doctor or patient; in these pages, the journey toward healing and self-awareness reveals itself to be not about passivity, but courage. --Patrizia DiLucchioAbout the Author:
Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was the recipient of the 1974 Edward Strecker Award and the 1979 Foundation's Fund Prize in Psychiatry. He is the author of When Nietzche Wept (winner of the 1993 Commonwealth Club gold medal for fiction), Love's Executioner, Every Day Gets a Little Closer (with Ginny Elkin), and the classic textbooks Inpatient Group Psychotherapy and Existential Psychotherapy.
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