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The Gift of Therapy

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  6,658 ratings  ·  243 reviews
The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom's more than thirty-five years in clinical practice, The Gift of Therapy is a remarkable and essential guidebook that illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. The bestselling author of Love's Executioner shares his uniquely fresh approach and the valuabl ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published December 24th 2001)
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Sally McRogerson
Pushes the boundaries of modern therapy. The man touches his clients! Physically! OMG! Not only that, but he recommends that therapists should allow space between clients to digest and record and not fill every available therapeutic minute chasing another $! How wonderful, that we can still behave like humans in a field where that is what is so often needed. Validation. If therapists can't connect with clients how the hell is therapy supposed to work? Be where the client is. I think that's the m ...more
A fabulous book I would recommend to any aspiring or current therapist. Irvin Yalom writes concise and easy-to-read chapters that span several pertinent psychological topics, such as how to exude empathy and when to self-disclose. He hits on unique subjects like the relationship between sex and therapy, as well as the role of research in a therapeutic setting. His advice to focus on the present and to engage with clients in a way that transcends typical boundaries shows his expertise and insight ...more
My fourth Yalom book, this text was the perfect supplement to my Masters course in Psychology (actually sometimes the uni course felt like a supplement to the book!). In an age of “don’t touch your clients” and “don’t let your clients into your life”, comes such advice as “Let your patients matter to you”, “Be transparent” and “Make home visits”. While I wouldn’t agree with everything in this book, it is nonetheless a much-needed antidote to the rigid and restrictive formal training young therap ...more
I have the impression that many books on therapy in the self-help section are full of watered-down insight and oft-repeated platitudes,like clever pats on the back repackaged a thousand times before---but this book is nothing like that. Yalom is widely considered a contemporary genius in the field when it comes to group therapy (which he is often credited with formulating for contemporary contexts), and this book, despite his occasional self-indulgences, is a testament to his brilliant self-effa ...more
I enjoyed this book when I started. However, as with all non fiction books I started loosing focus by the end of it. Not the books fault, I just have a short attention span when it comes to non-fiction.

Therapy from Yalom's point of view, is exactly how I always dreamed it should be. Humane and non-commercial. He really cares about reaching out to his clients and exploring his relationship with them, rather than the cold and aloof manner therapists seem to adopt with their patients. Dissecting th
I started this book in an independent study in the last semester of a my MSSW. This was an exciting and wholly overwhelming time as season of school was ending and the season of getting a job and actually "doing the damn thing" was starting. I felt like I had a precious handful things I that I knew and a bathtub full of knowing of what I don't know. I had (and still sort of have) an urgency to get more, know more and "cram" in anything to quiet the panic of "doing the damn thing" with so much le ...more
Oct 25, 2007 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: MSW students, anyone in the "helping" professions
A professor recommended How Can I Help? to budding social workers, and I'm recommending The Gift of Therapy. It's quite possible that no one in the world can really understand why we do what we do except for others in the profession, and this "open letter" is an excellent resource to remind us to keep on keeping on with a sense of humor and open hearts and minds.

I give it two very solid thumbs up.
*The critical "throw-ins" of therapy*

In the introduction of his _Existential Psychotherapy_ text, Yalom recounts how in a cooking class he discovered that it was the instructor's "surreptitious throw-ins (that) made all the difference." He then makes the parallel that the "critical ingredients" of effective psychotherapy are the therapist's intuitive "throw-ins" that exist outside of formal training and "are hard to describe, even harder to define."

Fortunately, in _The Gift of Therapy_, Yalom h
Christine Olson
Aug 14, 2007 Christine Olson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone working in a "helping profession"
This is my all time favorite of Irvin Yalom's books.

Yalom is probably best known for his Existential Psychotherapy and The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy texts, which are viewed as classics for counseling theory/practice courses. His recent (2002) publication, The Gift of Therapy, is my favorite because he--in a frank, very readable, and knowledgeable way--shares insights about the dynamics of therapeutic change that he has acquired from 45+ years of clinical practice. The short "ch
jessi lee
Jan 28, 2008 jessi lee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in therapy process
a series or really short (most 2-3 pages) meditations on different aspects of therapy, focusing alot on the therapist's use of their own self & the here-and-now experience of therapy.

i like yalom, and he shares my interest in questions of how to really use yourself & your experience of the client to move therapy. also, he's a really engaging writer, sprinkling the text with interesting examples from his life & practice.

i like to think that people who aren't therapists could also u
Jennifer Kronk
From the book:,
"Lastly, it has always struck me as an extraordinary privilege to belong to the vernable and honorable guild of healers. We therapists are part of a tradition reaching back not only to our immediate 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, m
The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients is a great book. A few years ago I had to read pieces of this book for a psychology class and enjoyed those so much that I went out and bought it. Now I've finally read it. Though I no longer want to be a therapist, I found that this book helped me better understand the therapeutic process. This would be a great book for anyone interested in being a therapist, going into therapy, or wanting to just understan ...more
This book is essentially a gift to therapists. Each chapter is dedicated to just one concern, and this effectively makes sure that the reader does not drift off. There are 85 or so chapters, each a page or two long. There is detailed discussion micro-concerns that each therapist has thought about. Although the discourse is existential in nature, it more or less agrees with logic because the primary underlying motivation is this - to do what is best for the client.
I don't think any other book ta
Robyn Goodwin
Encouraging and honest, Yalom complies a number of tips - some more exciting than others - into a nice package. Of course, it was all so tantalising and - being a fan of his perspective and writing style - had me wanting more, as usual.

Some of the things I particularly valued:
- His explication of giving therapy as an opportunity for transcendence.
- His pragmatic approach to dreamwork as an invaluable aid to effective therapy (reading his powerful examples has - yet again - reinvoked my motivatio
Stephen M
A conglomeration of ideas on psychotherapy and the therapeutic process. I'm very interested to read more of the actual theory behind his ideas. However, there are a handful of very powerful and moving passages here. Although it is heavy on the technicalities of psychology and frequently references other psychologists/philosophers, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in personal and relational growth in their lives.
This book is one of the textbooks I will learn at naturopathic school. And I read it prior to the class, so I might have a different view after class starts. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading the book. It's very concise and clear with rich examples and lots of useful advices for would-be therapists. I read the book, taking notes on each chapter. I once was taking a guidance about relationships from a kind of mentor who seems not having a professional learning at university or sorts and I enjoyed ...more
Bu kitapla bir kere daha anladım ki, bazen okuduğumuz için yaşadıklarımızı daha iyi anlarız bazen de yaşadıklarımız sayesinde okuduklarımızı çok kolay kavrarız. Terapistlere nazik bir şekilde sunulan tavsiyeleri okurken potansiyel hasta olarak tecrübe ettiğim birkaç terapi seansının pek çok detayını hatırlamak oldukça işime yaradı. Seanslar ve psikoterapistlerle ilgili kimi kanılarım tamamen doğrulanırken bazen de yepyeni farkındalıklar edindim. Bir psikoterapist olarak Yalom ile az çok empati g ...more
Malsam  - ملسم
شيق ونافع جدًا

كتاب علمي لا ينص عليك ما عليك أن تفعل بالحرف،إنما يدرج تجاربه التي تشمل نجحاته وفشله .. ويترك لك إمكانية التصرف فلكل مُعاِلج طريقته ولكل مُعَالج الطريقة التي تناسبه

الأمثلة أروع ما في الكتاب ،، فمنها نتعلم،، بالذات التي فشل فيها فمن الفشل نتعلم ما لا يجب علينا أن نفعله، اما النجاح فسببه قد لا يكون ما فعلنا أصلا

*ملاحظة - نسخة الكتاب التي قرأت باللغة العبرية
Jacqueline Wagenstein
„Дарът на терапията“ е ярък израз на стремежа на прочутия американски психоаналитик Ървин Д. Ялом да обобщи своята клинична дейност. Написана с грижа за бъдещето на психоанализата, книгата блестящо съчетава експеримент и философия, позовавайки се на наследството на Епикур, Фройд, Ницше, Шопенхауер и Спиноза. Като се уповава на своя уникален опит и разказваческо умение, авторът изследва различните подходи – практически, философски и емоционални, които присъстват във всяка терапия.
Ървин Д. Ялом (1
Κατερίνα Τσαγκαράκη
H βασική αξία του βιβλίου για όποιον βρίσκεται σε ψυχοθεραπεία από την πλευρά του θεραπευόμενου είναι ότι παρουσιάζει το κέντρο του ενδιαφέροντος όχι τόσο στο παρελθόν και τα όποια προβλήματα του ασθενή, αλλά σε αυτή την ίδια τη σχέση θεραπευτή -θεραπευόμενου.
Περισσότερα εδώ:
May 27, 2008 Catherine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: therapists
This book helped me discover my desire to be a therapist and I continue to use it as resource. Yalom gives useful examples of how to manage countertransference and a variety of other dilemmas we frequently encounter.
Chosen profession

I have enjoyed reading this book. I read Yalom's Group Therapy book and was strongly influenced by it when I began as a counselor. This book was often inspiring and enjoyable to read. The short chapters made it easy to dip into piecemeal. As I read this off and on, truly growing as a professional during each interval, I began to see the truth and differences between Yalom's experiences and my own. Despite these differences, I am always comforted and inspired by this book. While
heather van de  mark
i basically want to give a copy of this book to everyone. it's for therapists and patients--and really, we should all be therapy patients at some point, everyone has issues--thus, this book is for everyone. and actually, if you're new to therapy, it's a great book on what the clandestine therapist/patient relationship is all about. i know when i walked into my first therapy session, i told the therapist, i don't know how this works. occasionally, the book gets heavy on the therapy/theory talk, b ...more
This is a book I imagine that I'll come back to again and again.
Sudha Shashwati
This book did to my therapist self what ‘Letters to a young poet’ had done a few months back to my writer self. And the mention of the latter in the introduction only increased the appeal of this book for me. The dedication- “To Marilyn, soul-mate for over fifty years and still counting” touched me and set the path for the pages following it.

I found resonance with my ideas about what a therapist actually is as well as tremendous expansion of my horizons right from the ‘contents’ chapter of this
”We (therapists) are cradlers of secrets. Every day patients grace us with their secrets, often never before shared. Receiving such secrets is a privilege given to very few. The secrets provide a backstage view of the human condition without social frills, role playing,bravado, or stage posturing (...) Those who are cradlers of secrets are granted a clarifying lens through which to view the world—a view with less distortion, denial, and illusion, a view of the way things really are.Not only does ...more
Als anstrebende Psychotherapeutin habe ich "Der Panama-Hut" mit großem Interesse gelesen. Meiner Meinung nach ist es eines der besten Bücher seiner Art. Nicht nur, weil Yalom es wie kein zweiter versteht seine Leser in 80 kurzen Kapiteln zu unterhalten, sondern auch weil er dabei vor allem eines ist, nämlich authentisch.

Er kann auf eine lange Karriere zurückblicken und spricht mit einer Begeisterung über seine Erfahrungen als Therapeut, die ich mir nur wünschen kann, wenn ich eines Tages auf mei
Fred J. Fritz
Irvin Yalom is a prolific author, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and at the time of writing this book had over 35 years of clinical practice.

His book is essentially 85 tips for professional counselors on how to get the most out of therapy. Each tip is a chapter so you get a tip and then an explanation of the tip. Although the book is designed for professional counselors, non-professional counselors and even clients of counselors can benefit from giving this little book
Scott Rachui
This is essentially a book of anecdotes written by Irwin Yalom, outlining the way he does therapy and offering guidance for new therapists on the things they should consider when starting their own practice. It was my first introduction to Yalom (outside of his Group Psychotherapy tome, which is required reading in most graduate counseling programs) and now I understand what the fuss is about.

Yalom uses a flavor of counseling known as Existential Psychotherapy. He deals with the weighty issue of
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Irvin David Yalom, M.D., is an author of fiction and nonfiction, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, an existentialist, and accomplished psychotherapist.
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