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Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy

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The collection of ten absorbing tales by master psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom uncovers the mysteries, frustrations, pathos, and humor at the heart of the therapeutic encounter.  In recounting his patients' dilemmas, Yalom not only gives us a rare and enthralling glimpse into their personal desires and motivations but also tells us his own story as he struggles to reconcile his all-too human responses with his sensibility as a psychiatrist.  Not since Freud has an author done so much to clarify what goes on between a psychotherapist and a patient.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1989

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About the author

Irvin D. Yalom

79 books7,848 followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,546 reviews
Profile Image for Greta G.
337 reviews243 followers
December 3, 2019
Psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom is married to a feminist scholar, which is highly surprising considering the fact that he regards women in a very sexualized and demeaning way.
Unless they were attractive women, he displayed a worrying degree of contempt towards his patients. He seemed to have one derogatory thought after another about them.
In the story ‘The Fat Lady’ he even admits that his contempt for fat ladies ‘surpassed all cultural norms’. But the fat lady, Betty, offered him an opportunity to improve his personal skills as a therapist. She represented to him the ‘ultimate countertransference challenge’ and for that very reason he offered to be her therapist.

“I have always been repelled by fat women. I find them repulsive : their absurd sidewise waddle, their absence of body contour — breasts, laps, buttocks, shoulders, jawlines, cheekbones, everything, everything I like to see in a woman, obscured in an avalanche of flesh. And I hate their clothes — the shapeless, baggy dresses or, worse, the stiff elephantine blue jeans. How dare they impose that body on the rest of us.”

“I have always admired, perhaps more than many men, the woman’s body. No, not just admired : I have elevated, idealized, ecstacized it to a level and a goal that exceeds all reason. Do I resent the fat woman for her desecration of my desire, for bloating and profaning each lovely feature that I cherish? For stripping away my sweet illusion and revealing its base of flesh — flesh on the rampage?”

Even after finishing this book a few months ago, this fat-lady-case is still on my mind from time to time. Reading about these ten psychotherapeutic cases was interesting ; the repeated denigratory comments on his patients however were often painful to read.
To be honest, I wouldn’t want to lie down on his couch!

Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,176 followers
August 30, 2020
I had originally started Irvin D. Yalom's newest release Becoming Myself, where he mentioned this collection of stories which sounded more fitting because my attention span was slight at the time.

Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy offers a keen insight on ten patients, from all walks of life, who turned to therapy, “all ten were suffering the common problems of everyday life: loneliness, self-contempt, impotence, migraine headaches, sexual compulsivity, obesity, hypertension, grief, a consuming love obsession, mood swings, depression. Yet somehow (a “somehow” that unfolds differently in each story), therapy uncovered deep roots of these everyday problems—roots stretching down to the bedrock of existence.”

Though the problems may be considered “common problems of everyday life,” Love's Executioner made them seem like anything but. Yalom writes his patients with the utmost respect and interest.

I'd like to mention in particular one story that started off the collection on a bang for me with Thelma, “a depressed, suicidal, seventy-year-old woman,” who for the past eight years “could not relinquish her obsessive love for a man thirty-five years younger.”

“Perhaps the function of the obsession was simply to provide intimacy: it bonded her to another—but not to a real person, to a fantasy.”

My attention was riveted to her. I went through a turmoil of emotions reading her story, and came out of it with a changed perspective of my own. It was such a wild ride that in the end I felt like both the doctor and the patient being treated. The longest piece, deservingly so.

“You are you, you have your own existence, you continue to be the person you are from moment to moment, from day to day. Basically your existence is impervious to the fleeting thoughts, to the electromagnetic ripples occurring in some unknown mind. Try to see that. All this power that Matthew has—you’ve given it to him—every bit of it!”
“What goes on in another person’s mind, someone you never even see, who probably isn’t even aware of your existence, who is caught up in his own life struggles, doesn’t change the person you are.”

I was easily swept away into the pensive and therapeutic writing style. It offered an introspective look into moments not many of us get to see represented. The book also had many noteworthy lines that left an imprint on me, such as:

“You know, there is no one alive now who was grown-up when I was a child. So I, as a child, am dead. Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead—when I exist in no one’s memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that old person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?”

This precise piece of commentary struck me.

Speaking of which, this note on experiencing “love at first sight” was so satisfying to agree on: “You don’t know this person. In a Proustian way, you’ve packed this creature full of the attributes you so desire. You’ve fallen in love with your own creation.”

At the expense of sounding a bit abrasive, this book was perfect for my nosy self that likes to hear personal stories without having to share something of myself in exchange. And though I did not agree with the tactics used in certain tales, I read on in fascination of the differing views of reality presented. Now, I can move on to Yalom's newest release.

Oh, and one last thing I have to highlight upon ending my review, this piece on experiencing "crushes":

“At a conference approximately two years prior to meeting Thelma, I had encountered a woman who subsequently invaded my mind, my thoughts, my dreams. Her image took up housekeeping in my mind and defied all my efforts to dislodge it. But, for a time, that was all right: I liked the obsession and savored it afresh again and again. A few weeks later, I went on a week’s vacation with my family to a beautiful Caribbean island. It was only after several days that I realized I was missing everything on the trip—the beauty of the beach, the lush and exotic vegetation, even the thrill of snorkeling and entering the underwater world. All this rich reality had been blotted out by my obsession. I had been absent. I had been encased in my mind, watching replays over and over again of the same and, by then, pointless fantasy. Anxious and thoroughly fed up with myself, I entered therapy (yet again), and after several hard months, my mind was my own again and I was able to return to the exciting business of experiencing my life as it was happening.”

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Profile Image for Tracy Sherman.
75 reviews5 followers
January 4, 2023
There is no adventure more exciting, nothing so wonderful and frightening, and so fraught with danger, as delving into the mind of a human being.
On that point alone this book is moving and emotional and funny as few works of fiction can be.

When going on such a perilous journey into the true heart of darkness it behooves one to have an experienced and trustworthy guide.
Dr. Irving Yalom knows the terrain and the beasts that lurk within... yet I would prefer having Fred C. Dobbs showing me the way in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. At least with Dobbs you know where you stand.

Yalom is duplicitous and self aggrandizing, his writing screams contempt and distain for all but his most attractive female patients.
At the same time his writing, when keeping to the trail of his client's problems is compelling and insightful.
But it is Yalom's incessant and obnoxious inner monologue that ruins this book for me.

Yalom is smarmy and lascivious to women he finds attractive, and dismissive and cruel in his descriptions of those who don't match his standards. He compartmentalizes men in the same way.
When one women, far below his standards and the first of the ten case studies that make up the book says her last therapist called her on her "...shitty habits" Yalom tells us, “This phrase startled me. It didn’t fit with the rest of her presentation.” That's how I felt about him throughout the book. The insight he shows in the introduction of the book is waylaid time and time again by his incessant, obnoxious, and judgmental inner monologue. This, along with his ego and self-centeredness proved for a very unenjoyable read.

If I want to read the musings of a horndog I'll stick with Errol Flynn's "My Wicked Wicked Ways" and be spared the hubris.

But wait! What's this, an afterword! Ah, written 25 years after the book was first published. Now I'll see the wisdom of the man who wrote the introduction! Now, matured and distilled by age and experience, I'll see the wise reflections on his egotistic, insulting asides and comments of his freshman book.
But what to my wondering eyes do appear? He actually envies and praises his writing. He makes a very backhanded apology for what he wrote about one of his clients but finds room to lionize himself even there.

I don't care about his experience, reputation or certifications.
"If it looks like a schmuck, and it quacks like a schmuck, then it probably is a schmuck."
Profile Image for Maria Bikaki.
793 reviews384 followers
December 18, 2018
Μετά από δύο όχι και τόσο πειστικές προσπάθειες για τα δικά μου γούστα τουλάχιστον νομίζω ότι σε τούτο δω το βιβλίο σαν να τα ξαναβρήκαμε σε μεγάλο βαθμό με τον Κύριο Γιάλομ. Μου άρεσε πολύ και νομίζω ότι μαζί με το όταν έκλαψε ο Νίτσε ο δήμιος του έρωτα είναι από τα πιο αντιπροσωπευτικά του βιβλία, αν θες τουλάχιστον να ξεκινήσεις από κάπου με τέτοιου είδους βιβλία. 10 διαφορετικές ιστορίες ψυχοθεραπείας, προσωπικά μου έκαναν ιδιαίτερο κλικ η ιστορία του ονειρευτή και αυτή της χοντρής κυρίας μέσα από τις οποίες ο Γιάλομ καταπιάνεται με τις ανθρώπινες σχέσεις, ασκεί τη δική του κριτική και μάλιστα τολμά να πληροφορήσει τον αναγνώστη για τον αντίκτυπο που έχουν σε εκείνον οι ιστορίες των ασθενών του και το κάνει με ένα τρόπο περισσότερο ας πούμε λογοτεχνικό παρά επιστημονικό πράγμα που έκανε σε μένα την ανάγνωση πολύ πιο ευχάριστη και εύπεπτη. Αν μη τι άλλω δεν μπορεί κανείς να κατηγορήσει το Γιάλομ ότι δεν είναι ένας ιδιαίτερα ικανός αφηγητής. Οι ιστορίες του χορταστικές θα μπορούσαν η καθεμία να σταθεί χωριστά ως ξεχωριστές διηγήσεις, το σχόλιο του καυστικό και άμεσο ενώ ιδιαίτερη εντύπωση μου κάνει κάθε φορά το γεγονός ότι δε διστάζει ν’ ανοίξει τα χαρτιά του στον αναγνώστη αποκαλύπτοντας του τις μεθόδους που ακολουθεί κατά τη διάρκεια μιας συνεδρίας, τους τρόπους που προσεγγίζει κάθε φορά τους ασθενείς του καθώς και την ειλικρίνεια με την οποία παραδέχεται τα λάθη του, όλα για ένα σκοπό να προσεγγίσει με όσο το δυνατόν περισσότερη πειστικότητα ζητήματα που κακά τα ψέμματα απασχολούν τον περισσότερο κόσμο και ιδιαίτερα κάποιων διαμορφώνει την ποιότητα ζωής. Ίσως και αυτός να είναι ο λόγος που είναι τόσο αποδεκτός ο λόγος και ακόμα και τα βιβλία του που σε μένα τουλάχιστον δεν έκαναν ιδιαίτερη αίσθηση δεν έπαυαν να έχουν ειλικρίνεια και συνέπεια τουλάχιστον ως προς το σκοπό που ο συγγραφέας είχε σκεφτεί ότι θέλει να εξυπηρετήσει.
Προτείνεται ανεπιφύλακτα. Περιττό να σας πω ότι εγώ προσωπικά μεταξύ άλλων έπαθα το σοκ της ζωής μου καθώς στο κεφάλαιο του ονειρευτή περιγράφεται ένα όνειρο του ασθενούς το οποίο έχω περάσει πάνω από τη μισή μου ζωή να το βλέπω ανά διαστήματα χωρίς ποτέ να μπορούσα να το ερμηνεύσω. Τώρα ξέρω και δυστυχώς έχετε τόσο δίκιο κύριε Γιάλομ, τόσο δίκιο.
Profile Image for Chris Coffman.
Author 2 books35 followers
July 22, 2007
A friend gave me this book a few days ago. My friend is very well-educated, has lived all over the world, and has experienced more than most people. When he gave me the book, he said to me, "This book reflects my vision of the world".

How could I help but be intrigued?

Opening the book, he then read the following passage from the Preface: "Four givens are particularly relevant for psycho-therapy: the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life."

When I recently read the novel LIFE AND FATE, which takes its characters through the massive Battle of Stalingrad and Stalin's Great Terror, I couldn't help thinking how poor in material for great novels is the typical life of a prosperous, well-educated professional living today in the OECD. Compared to the intensity of the experiences described in LIFE AND FATE, even wonderful writers like Ian McEwan are boring.

But, as the Preface accurately foreshadows, there is nothing boring about LOVE'S EXECUTIONER, because my friend is right-- the four issues described in the Preface do indeed define the human condition.

In a sense, LOVE'S EXECUTIONER offers, in the broadest possible sense, the ancient wisdom found in Psalms 90: "Teach us to number our days: that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Dr. Yalom is quite frank about what he considers the "magical" thinking and "delusion" involved in religious belief, however. Aside from his commitment to unflinchingly acknowledge the truths he describes in his Preface (and therefore, "Teach us to number our days"), Dr. Yalom's faith resides in the healing potential of the relationship between the therapist and the patient. This could be generalised to incorporate the Second Commandment to "Love thy neighbour as thyself" with its emphasis on human relationships and mutual openness, but one senses that Dr. Yalom would acknowledge this point, at best, with a sardonic shrug--"Whatever gets you through the night."

Yalom is his own main character, and LOVE'S EXECUTIONER is a dramatic account of how the "character" Dr. Yalom undergoes dramatic encounters with deeply troubled characters not unlike the way the "character" Dante encounters vividly depicted souls in Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.

Like Dante's DIVINE COMEDY, LOVE'S EXECUTIONER is episodic. The ten tales all vary and will affect individual reader's differently. For some reason, I found the case of the morbidly obsese woman deeply moving, while being most unsettled by the cases of the elderly neurobiologist and the elderly accountant--perhaps because they were the patients most similar to me.


Profile Image for Thomas.
1,457 reviews8,562 followers
December 31, 2014
"From both my personal and professional experience, I had come to believe that the fear of death is always greatest in those who feel that they have not lived their life fully. A good working formula is: the more unlived life, or unrealized potential, the greater one's death anxiety."

In his book Love's Executioner, Irvin Yalom, a psychotherapist with several decades of experience, shares ten stories of individuals he counseled in a professional setting. Each of these tales revolves around different presenting problems, ranging from a man whose cancer has left him ravenous for sex to a woman who blames herself for her daughter's death years after her passing. Yalom ties together all of these unique clients with overarching themes pertaining to how we must accept and conquer our fear of death, how we must assume responsibility for the course of our lives, and how we must construct meaning within ourselves in order to thrive.

While some of those concepts might sound cliche - "how we must construct meaning," "assume responsibility for the course of our lives," "accept and conquer our fear of death" - Yalom presents them in fascinating, complex, and unpretentious ways. He examines his clients with an insightful lens, treats them like humans in an understanding and open relationship, and uses skilled therapeutic techniques to provoke insight and growth. Not all of his stories end on a clean note, and their ambiguous resolutions exemplify the complex and bumpy nature of therapy, similar to the convoluted quality of humans themselves.

Yalom's openness stands out as a strong point in this book. In his afterword, in which he reflects on writing this book at 55 after reading it again at 80, he admits to feeling embarrassed due to some of the content in Love's Executioner. Throughout the ten tales he discloses information such as how he had to work through his prejudice against fat people, how he urged a woman to put her dog to rest, and how he himself would get bored by certain clients. His honesty, his willingness to scrutinize himself, and his commitment to positive self-growth show that therapists, even experienced ones, still remain human. We all progress and learn together, even in a therapist-client relationship.

Recommended to those interested in psychology, therapy, and reading about people. A fascinating book that makes me want to read more of Yalom's writing, including his fiction.
April 18, 2020
Executing love, rationally.
Overcoming the fear of death. Accepting one's mortality...
Psychologists get some interesting tasks in their workdays, don't they?

That's when I will be truly dead - when I exist in no one's memory. (c)
I think my quarry is illusion. I war against magic. I believe that, though illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and invariably weakens and constricts the spirit. (c)
I do not like to work with patients who are in love. Perhaps it is because of envy—I, too, crave enchantment. Perhaps it is because love and psychotherapy are fundamentally incompatible. The good therapist fights darkness and seeks illumination, while romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection. I hate to be love’s executioner. (c)
One of the great paradoxes of life is that self-awareness breeds anxiety. (c)
Some people are wish-blocked, knowing neither what they feel nor what they want. Without opinions, without impulses, without inclinations, they become parasites on the desires of others. (c)
People who feel empty never heal by merging with another incomplete person. On the contrary, two broken-winged birds coupled into one make for clumsy flight. No amount of patience will help it fly; and, ultimately, each must be pried from the other, and wounds separately splinted. (c)
... the fear of death is always greatest in those who feel that they have not lived their life fully. A good working formula is: the more unlived life, or unrealized potential, the greater one’s death anxiety. (c)
Я был так уверен в своей правоте. Боже, какое высокомерие! А сейчас что за истину я преследую? Думаю, моя добыча иллюзорна. Я борюсь против магии. Я верю, что хотя иллюзия часто ободряет и успокаивает, она в конце концов неизбежно ослабляет и ограничивает человеческий дух.
Но всему свое время. Никогда нельзя отнимать ничего у человека, если вам нечего предложить ему взамен. Остерегайтесь срывать с пациента покров иллюзии, если не уверены, что он сможет выдержать холод реальности. И не изнуряйте себя сражениями с религиозными предрассудками: это вам не по зубам. Религиозная жажда слишком сильна, ее корни слишком глубоки, а культурное подкрепление слишком мощно.
Но я не считаю себя неверующим. Моя молитва – это высказывание Сократа: «Непознанная жизнь не стоит того, чтобы быть прожитой». Но Дэйв не разделял мою веру. Поэтому я обуздал свои порывы. Дэйв не был способен понять подлинное значение своей привязанности к письмам и сейчас, зажатый и ранимый, не выдержал бы такого расследования. Оно не принесло бы пользы – сейчас, а, возможно, и никогда.
Кроме того, мои вопросы не были искренними. Я знал, что у нас с Дэйвом много общего и моему лицемерию есть пределы. У меня тоже была пачка писем от давно утраченной возлюбленной. Я тоже хитроумно прятал их (по моей системе на букву "X", означающую «Холодный дом», мой любимый роман Диккенса, чтобы читать, когда жизнь покажется совсем унылой). Я тоже никогда не перечитывал письма. Всякий раз, когда я пытался делать это, то испытывал боль вместо утешения. Они лежали нетронутыми пятнадцать лет, и я тоже не мог уничтожить их. (c)
Profile Image for Mahsa.
307 reviews337 followers
March 1, 2017
بیماری را که نمی تواند سرمای واقعیت را تحمل کند هرگز عریان نکنید.

دومین کتابی که از روایت های روان درمانی یالوم خوندم... و باید بگم فکر نمیکنم هیچوقت از خوندن اتفاقاتی که توی اتاق درمان میگذره خسته بشم.
چهار ستاره دادم بخاطر علاقه ی ویژه م به روان درمانی و لذت خاصی که خوندن هر روایت برام داشت؛ و چون حس و حال من طی تمام داستان های کتاب، بستن چشم هام بود و تصور خودم توی متن هر داستان بعنوان درمانگر...
خوندن سرگذشت آدم هایی که یه جایی از مسیر اشتباه کردن و راه رو اشتباه رفتن - اون هم از زبان و نگاه یه درمانگر - در عین دردناک بودن میتونه کمک باشه؛ شاید چون گاهی تموم چیزی که احتیاج داریم یه تلنگره... یه تلنگر از طرف کسانی که جرئت اعتراف به اشتباه بودن مسیرشون رو داشتن، که شک کردن، ایستادن و کمک خواستن...

درمانگران می دانند که اولین قدم مهم در کار درمان این است که بیمار مسئولیت گرفتاری هایش را بپذیرد. تا زمانی که بیمار معتقد باشد که مشکلاتش ناشی از عوامل بیرونی است روان درمانی هیچ تاثیری نخواهد داشت.
Profile Image for Fatma Al Zahraa Yehia.
436 reviews480 followers
April 3, 2023
كانت لغة الكتاب صعبة الى حد كبير بالنسبة لي، وللأسف لم استطع العثور على نسخة مترجمة من الكتاب. أثار الكاتب اهتمامي بالحالات اللي عرضها للقارىء.
كانت محاولاته للوصول الى أصل مشكلة كل حالة أشبه بلغز يحاول تلك الطبيب كشف غموضه في جلسةٍ تلو الأخرى. وكان ذلك بمثابة تجربة من التجارب القرائية المحفزة لعقلي، فقد كنت اكتشف معه جوانب اخرى للمشاعر والاحاسيس البشرية التي كان تكشفها بصراحة مجهدة جلسات لمرضاه طالت لسنوات في بعض الأحيان.

كانت الحكايات الخمس الأولى مثيرة للاهتمام لدرجة جعلتني اتجاوز عن مدى صعوبة اللغة لكي اتابع القراءة. ولكن بعد ذلك، اصبحت الكتابة شديدة الملل والرتابة واستعراض لرغبة الكاتب الطبيب في الثرثرة بلا معنى ولا داع بدون حتى فهم مشكلة الحالة التي سيتم عرضها في تلك الحكاية. فتوقفت عن القراءة في الثلث الأخير واكتفيت بما طالعته.

قرأت لإرفين يالوم قبل ذلك روايته العظيمة "مشكلة سبينوزا". وأرى أنه كاتب متميز لولا رغبته العارمة في الاستطراد، ومحلل نفسي ذكي وبارع جدير بالاعجاب.
Profile Image for Jennie.
284 reviews10 followers
January 8, 2017
Ugh, I am so disappointed. I very, very badly wanted to love this book. Staring at the Sun was revolutionary, and The Gift of Therapy unequivocally changed who I am as a mental health professional.

One of Yalom's greatest assets is that he has always been very open about his flaws, judgments, and humanness. But in this book, he reveals that he has many flaws and more judgments than most people I know. I started reading (well, listening, actually - I did this one on audiobook and managed to mostly ignore mispronunciations of words like "Rogerian" and "Marin County") with stars in my eyes. I was excited to be reading Yalom, who I've always placed on a pedestal as a therapy role model. And I was good for the first 3 or so stories... until "Fat Lady".

Maybe it's because I'm coming off the tails of "Shrill" by Lindy West, where she beautifully depicts the radical notion that a woman of any size has value. One of the best lines in Shrill, to paraphrase, is when Lindy says that her entire body is her - when she is at her thinnest, her body is all her. When she is at her fattest, her body is all her - there is not a thin lady waiting to come out. She talked about fat as a feminist issue, and how it plays into the objectification of women, and how women are taught that to have value, they have to deprive themselves, to hate their bodies, to tailor make themselves for the male gaze.

By contrast, Yalom's story of the "Fat Lady" describes, in detail, the disgust he has always felt towards obese women. I was with him at the beginning - a lot of people feel this way, and after all, everyone loves a reformed sinner, right? Yalom is known for telling stories of learning from the experiences of working with his clients. But the thing is... he never got reformed. As he tells the story of working with this fat woman, he talks about how she got motivated, joined the eating disorders program at a hospital he's affiliated with, and went on a liquid diet - ate literally no food for 6 months. HOW IS THAT OK??? (Also, how can a place that purports that this is healthy call itself an eating disorders treatment facility??) Yalom then goes on to describe how the pounds began to fall off this woman - she went from about 240 pounds to about 150 - and how she got more and more depressed as this happened, even having flashbacks of things that happened to her at the point in her life when she was at each weight as she hit it. But his description of her weight loss? "Slowly, I noticed a person was beginning to emerge." She was a person when she came to see you, you misogynistic jerk!

I tried listening to the stories after that, but I felt myself skipping parts, and forcing myself to pick up the book. It was really hard, because I saw everything through the lens of his telling of this story. I started to notice themes in other stories that told tales of his objectification of women: his counseling a man who viewed women as sex objects to think of women as human not in their own right, but because he has a daughter... his sexual attraction to several of his female clients, and his decision to keep difficult clients who were possibly beyond his scope of competence, simply because he found them physically attractive.

It's genuinely disappointing, because Yalom is a huge part of my therapy home. His ideas - the idea that therapy is a relationship (and works for that very reason), that authenticity and genuineness are key... these are the things I learned from reading his books and seeing him speak when I was a brand new baby therapist.

I hope I can manage not to throw the baby out with the bathwater - to keep The Gift of Therapy and Staring at the Sun on my bookshelf, and maybe even reread them. Maybe even to try one of his other books. But I'm not sure I can compartmentalize how appalled I was at this book, and I'm not 100% sure I should.
Profile Image for Angel.
126 reviews16 followers
February 1, 2020
Δεν ξέρω αν, τελικά, πρέπει να βαθμολογούνται τέτοιου είδους βιβλία. Αυτό που ξέρω είναι πως κάθε βιβλίο έρχεται στα χέρια μας την στιγμή που πρέπει να έρθει και μακάρι όλοι και όλες να έχουν, εκτός από την οικονομική δυνατότητα, τη θέληση να κάνουν στον εαυτό τους «δώρο» την ψυχοθεραπεία.
Profile Image for OKSANA ATAMANIUK.
163 reviews60 followers
March 30, 2023
«Ліки від кохання та інші оповіді психотерапевта»
Ірвін Ялом,
Видавництво Книжковий клуб "Клуб Сімейного Дозвілля", 2020

«Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy»
Book by Irvin D. Yalom, 1989

«Пам‘ятай, ти не можеш зробити всю роботу за них. Тобі потрібно лише допомогти пацієнту усвідомити, що йому належить зробити, а потім довіритися його власному бажанню розвиватися та змінюватися.»

Мені дуже сподобалась ця книжка.

Особисто для мене, психологічні ситуації з оповідань не були близькі, але вони були цікавими знаннями. Новим досвідом, цікаво та легко викладеним.

Висновок - психотерапевти теж люди, іноді їм теж дуже складно.

Психотерапія - потрібна. Навіть не так - ДУЖЕ потрібна!

Найбільше мене сколихнули наступні оповіді:
• Якби зґвалтування не забороняли
• Померла не та дитина
• Товстунка
• У пошуках сновидця

Колись я дуже скептично ставилася до терапії, доки в складній життєвій ситуації не знайшла для себе свого терапевта.

Якщо вас цікавить психологія - щиро раджу. Не дивлячись на те, що ця книжка була вперше видана 1989 року, вона досі дуже актуальна та цікава.


«Спершу ми проаналізували провину - стан, який буває майже в кожного. Пенні відчувала провину через свою амнезію, через те, що не поговорила про смерть зі своєю донькою. Інші люди в подібній ситуації відчувають провину за щось інше: за те, що не зробили чогось вчасно, не надали медичну допомогу, не дбали достатньо чи не доглядали краще. Одна моя пацієнтка, вкрай уважна дружина, не відходила від свого чоловіка в лікарні тижнями, але роками страждала від докорів сумління за те, що невчасно вибігла купити газету і він помер саме в той момент.»

Про книгу:

Вам завжди було цікаво, як працює психотерапія? Ірвін Ялом у книзі «Ліки від кохання та інші оповіді психотерапевта» розповість три історії абсолютно різних людей та розкриє особливий підхід, який він використовував на них.
Три історії про шлях до щастя, одужання та перемоги над комплексами.

23 reviews
August 22, 2011
This book gave a lot of insights into the therapeutic process, but I found the guy a total putz--very self-aware of his own reactions to the patients he describes, but not so concerned about their own experience of the process that he wouldn't describe them in great detail to the world at large. Also, just comes off as self-satisfied; it made the reading distasteful, and I didn't finish in the end. I couldn't stand the supercilious sense he gives of being in some way, better than his clients.
Profile Image for Natalie.
246 reviews29 followers
February 24, 2021
Υπέροχο βιβλίο! Αγαπημένος Yalom! Μέσα από τις ιστορίες ανακαλύπτεις στοιχεία του εαυτού σου που δεν ήξερες και επιβεβαιώνεις άλλα που ήξερες!
Profile Image for Παύλος.
233 reviews31 followers
September 13, 2019
Μετά από χρόνια ξαναδίαβασα κάτι από Γιάλομ. Η αλήθεια είναι πως από τα λίγα δικά του που έχω διαβάσει, έχω διαπιστώσει πόσο σημαντικό είναι για έναν ψυχοθεραπευτή να εξωτερικεύει όσα βιώνει κατά την διάρκεια της ψυχοθεραπείας με τους ασθενείς του.
Το ίδιο συμβαίνει και στο ανα χείρας βιβλίο το οποίο στις περισσότερες ιστορίες περιλαμβάνει ιστορίες που άπτονται του έρωτα αλλά και του θανάτου. Είναι εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον το τι συμβαίνει στο μπερδεμένο μυαλό ενός ανθρώπου που πάσχει από κατάθλιψη. Και φυσικά δεν αναφέρομαι στην κλειδαρότρυπα αλλά στην ουσία του πράγματος και στην δυσκολία του να δεις παραπάνω από τις σκέψεις και την απελπισία που σε έχει κατακλύσει...
Profile Image for Dar vieną puslapį.
348 reviews544 followers
February 28, 2019
Psichinė sveikata - vis dar tabu tema mūsų visuomenėje. Nors susilaužius koją kreipiamės į gydytoją ir net nesusimąstom, jog tai kažkokia gėda. Psichologiniai sunkumai vis dar kartu su gėdos jausmu ieškoti pagalbos. Aišku, ir plačios paletės visų kitų.

Amerikietis psichoterapeutas Yalom turi išskirtinę dovaną. Greta to, jog yra puikus savo srities specialistas, jis puikiai valdo plunksną. Tai jam leidžia sukurti naują literatūros žanrą- psichoterapines noveles. Knygoje autorius pateikia 10 skirtingų istorijų, kurios leidžia tarsi užmesti akį į tai, kas vyksta psichoterapeuto kabinete. Paliečiamos labai įvairios temos: meilė, liga, mirtis, valgymo sutrikimai, seksas, vaikai ir t.t. Manau, kiekvienas ras jam daugiau ar mažiau artimą temą. Yalom atviras- jis atskleidžia savo jausmus klientų atžvilgiu ir juos analizuoja. Tikiu, kad iššauks labai aštrių jausmų. Pavyzdžiui, pasipiktinimą ir smerkimą. Štai vienoje istorijoje gydytojas atvirauja kaip labai jam atgrasi jo antsvorio turinti pacientė Betė. Plunksnos aštrumas leidžia tuos jausmus nušviesti gana vaizdžiai. Mes pripratę prie filmų suformuoto psichologo įvaizdžio, kad jie pabalnoję savo nosytes dailiais akinukais raginiai rėmeliais, nutaisę profesionalią emocijų neišduodančią veido kaukę klauso ir profesionaliai patarinėja. Pasirodo ne- jie gali kažką jausti. Paskui lyg ir suvoki kad viskas gerai- jie juk žmonės. Pyktį gydytojui nusveria pagarba, kai jis atskleidžia kaip su kiekvienu pacientu auga, kaip sužino kažką naujo apie gyvenimą, apie save.

Buvo vietų, kai pagalvojau, jog psichologo/psichoterapeuto darbas tarsi intelektinė kova. Lyg kokie šachmatai. Specialistas narplioja jūsų gyvenimo, minčių ir jausmų labirintą. Pacientas kartais tam priešinasi. Laaabai įdomu. Taip pat Yalomas pateikia nemažai filosofinių pamąstymų apie gyvenimą, apie dažniausiai žmones kamuojančias problemas.

Manau, turint galvoje, kad psichologiškai visi esame tokie jau “labai sveiki” ir niekam pagalbos atseit nereikia - tai vieniems ši knyga galėtų tapti puikia paspirtimi kreiptis į specialistus pagalbos, kitiems gal jos ir nereikia, tačiau, jei bent kartais pafilosofuojate su savimi, atskleis atsakymą į ne vieną klausimą, o dar kitiems tiesiog padės legaliai paklausyti, kas gi tokio vyksta tuose paichoterapijos kabinetuose. Gero skaitymo!
Profile Image for April.
154 reviews41 followers
March 25, 2008
The stories of 10 patients' experiences in psychotherapy - but they feel like much more.
The stories offer a surprisingly engaging window to peek into the struggles of patients w/ the very same existential pains and miseries everyone experiences. The author is a practicing therapist, and he based these stories on his patients (suitably amended to ensure anonymity). He reflects much on his own role in the therapeutic relationship, and these reflections are often as interesting as the stories of his patients.
Each person's story is engaging - their narrative just as intriguing as fiction. They each come to therapy to, somewhat, deal with their issues, and get better and move on. But some are really ready to see - and take in even painful insights about themselves; and ready to take painful steps to change. Others...sadly...are not. In this sense, these stories represent very nicely the same phenomenon in the rest of the human race. We are all getting older; and a few....are growing up.
Profile Image for Kelly.
6 reviews11 followers
November 2, 2018
I could get long winded here (in fact my colleagues and I half joked about writing a response to this book called “Yalom’s Executioner” in which we deconstruct everything wrong with it) but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say that Yalom, while a phenomenal writer, is a despicable and morally repugnant person. As a counselor I felt repulsed by how he described his clients. His hubris and inability to check his privilege made this incredibly difficult to read. In fact, I stopped reading it halfway through because it was so upsetting, and I’m someone who hates leaving things unfinished. The fact that this is used in educational settings and that Yalom is well renowned and holds so much power in the field... WHY?! I actually regret buying this book because I put more money into this man’s pockets.
Profile Image for Georgia  Zarkadaki .
403 reviews100 followers
June 11, 2018
Ο Ίρβιν Γιάλομ έχει γίνει εδώ και καιρό ένας από τους αγαπημένους μου συγγραφείς. Κάθε φορά που βρίσκω κάποιο από τα βιβλία του είτε σε προσφορά, μεταχειρισμένα ή καινούργια το αρπάζω και το φυλάω για την στιγμή που θα με φωνάξει κοντά του. «Ο δήμιος του έρωτα» ήταν μια παρορμητική αγορά αλλά δεν την μετάνιωσα καθόλου μιας και είναι ένα από τα αγαπημένα μου μη μυθιστορηματικά βιβλία που έχει γράψει ο Γιάλομ.

Το βιβλίο περιλαμβάνει δέκα αληθινές ιστορίες ψυχοθεραπείας με βασικό τους πυρήνα τις ανθρώπινες σχέσεις αλλά και την αντίληψη των ανθρώπων για τον ίδιο τους τον εαυτό. Ο Γιάλομ στον «Δήμιο του ερωτα» περιλαμβάνει και τις δικές του σκέψεις που έχει για τους ασθενείς του και τον τρόπο με τον οποίο αλληλεπιδρούν μαζί του. Συχνά είναι καυστικός, άδικος και μπορεί να δημιουργεί μια λάθος εικόνα για την ικανότητα σου σαν θεραπευτής στους νέους του αναγνώστες αλλά βλέποντας πως δουλεύει με τον εαυτό του για να ξεπεράσει αυτές του τις τάσεις και να βοηθήσει τους ασθενείς του δείχνουν πως πρόκειται για έναν εκπληκτικό άνθρωπο.

Νομίζω ότι απόλαυσα τόσο το βιβλίο αυτό γιατί ο Γιάλομ έκανε ένα διάλειμμα από το αγαπημένο του θέμα – τον θάνατο – και ασχολήθηκε με μια γκάμα προβλημάτων που τα βρήκα αρκετά ενδιαφέροντα. Ήταν μια ανάγνωση που μου πρόσφερε πολλές ώρες βαθιάς ικανοποίησης. Η μετάφραση και η επιμέλεια του κειμένου ήταν όπως πάντα εξαιρετική. Η βιβλιοδεσία επίσης.

Το προτείνω σε όλους όσους αγαπούν τα βιβλία ψυχολογίας και τους ενδιαφέρει να ανακαλύψουν πως είναι μια συνεδρία με έναν ψυχίατρο. Επίσης θεωρώ πως μπορεί να προτρέψει κάποιον αναγνώστη να ζητήσει και εκείνος βοήθεια!

Profile Image for Zahra Dashti.
362 reviews106 followers
April 8, 2019
هم داستان های خوبی بودند هم به عنوان داستان آموزشی واضح و آموزنده بود
اما چیزی که برام خیلی تحسین برانگیز بود جسارت و شجاعت یالوم در این همه خودافشا گری در سراسر کتاب بود
در این کتاب روان درمانگر (که در حقیقت خود یالوم هست) یک موجود ماورایی و ابرقدرت و بی عیب و نقص نیست. دقیقا یکی شبیه خود ماست با عیب ها و ضعف های شخصی اش که صمیمانه و صادقانه تلاش می کنه با بیمارش همراه بشه و بهش کمک کنه. و همین باعث می شه بیشتر برای آدم قابل احترام باشه.
Profile Image for Sonya.
455 reviews295 followers
September 18, 2017
اين اثر اورين يالوم توصيف ماجراي روان درماني، ده بيماري است كه به درمان روي آورده اند. اين اثر پر از " خواستن" هاي انسان و تلاش او براي مقابله با اضطراب اگزيستانسياليس است كه هر كدام به نوعي با مرگ، تنهايي، آزادي و جستجوي معناي زندگي درگير هستند. اين كتاب مانند ساير آثار اروين يالوم جذاب و سرشار از نكات روانشناختي مفيد مي باشد.
Profile Image for Jack M.
260 reviews11 followers
February 16, 2018
Turns out it's no fun reading about peoples mental afflictions or a creepy psychoanalyst therapy session. Here's what you'll get in every chapter: The author introducing a patient, then berating them (with the exception of if they are a 'sexy' attractive women - then author will muse if he is helping the patient out of the goodness of his heart or because the patient is a sexy woman). God help you if you're a fat woman, Mr. Yalom is absolutely sickened by this filth. You'll hear the patient describe vividly a dream they had (yawn), at which point Mr. Yalom goes on to analyze this dream and self-proclaim his genius.

Profile Image for M&A Ed.
295 reviews52 followers
November 2, 2019
کتاب شامل چندین داستان بود. این داستان ها خاطرات اروین یالوم از جلسات روان درمانگری اش است. "دژخیم عشق" اولین داستان کتاب است که درباره فردی به نام تلما می باشد و نام کتاب نیز تحت تاثیر همین داستان انتخاب می شود.
از قسمت های جالب و قابل تامل کتاب درباره ی مساله مرگ بود و اینکه آدمی چرا نسبت به این موضوع هراسان است و آن را به عنوان بخشی از زندگی نمی پذیرد.
اما به نظرم"درمان شوپنهاور" یالوم خیلی قوی تر بود.
Profile Image for Emily.
22 reviews11 followers
May 7, 2010
This is not the book to read while you are actually in therapy. Although I think Love's Executioner Other Tales of Psychotherapy was meant to show people the "behind the scenes" of psychology, Dr. Yalom will make you question the motives of any practitioner, no matter how saintly. That's not to say that the book isn't intriguing, informative, or balanced; it is all of those things. It's just that Yalom comes across as unbearably arrogant in many of the case studies, which belies the work he's trying to do. According to him, he hides his feelings well, to which I say, I hope so, because if I knew a therapist was looking at me with the same sort of misogyny, boredom, and disgust, I'd certainly never be back.

The book is a compilation of ten case studies of ten patients, although some patients do pop up in more than one place. Each has a unique problem, ranging from the insufferable Carlos, dying of cancer but hoping to nail every woman he sees, to Thelma, with her obsession with a month-long fling she had eight years prior, to the obese Betty (here the disgust is palpable). Their stories are all compelling, in the same way that true crime books are compelling: we can relate to the victims - they're just normal people - but it's still the kind of thing that we love to read about but never live through.

Ultimately, I think my problems with the book stem from the fact that Dr. Yalom expresses feelings that are just so very human (he even fantasizes about a patient at one point - the only beautiful one, of course), and I'm not used to thinking of psychologists as anything other than their professional fronts. It's like finding out that your grade school teacher doesn't actually live in the classroom. Of course not, but it's strange nonetheless. Admirably, he admits to having these faults, so kudos to him for that. Still, you get the feeling that he's descended from his alabaster tower to bestow this book on the reading populace.

First lines:

"I do not like to work with patients who are in love. Perhaps it is because of envy - I, too, crave enchantment. Perhaps it is because love and psychotherapy are fundamentally incompatible. The good therapist fights darkness and seeks illumination, while romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection. I hate to be love's executioner."

Other lines:
"Every one of my notes of these early sessions contains phrases such as: 'Another boring session'; 'Looked at the clock about every three minutes today'; 'The most boring patient I have ever seen'; 'Almost fell asleep today - had to sit up in my chair to stay awake'; 'Almost fell off my chair today.'"

"My quarry when I was a novitiate was the truth of the past, to trace all of a life's coordinates and, thereby, to locate and to explain a person's current life, pathology, motivation, and actions. I used to be so sure. What arrogance!...[now:] my quarry is illusion. I war against magic. I believe that, though illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and invariably weakens and constricts the spirit."

Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 18 books1,279 followers
January 19, 2016
Last year I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life, although not by deliberate choice but rather as a side benefit of something else -- namely, I attended one of those "computer coding bootcamp" programs here in Chicago, and one of the things they provide for their students for no cost is a licensed therapist on staff for weekly sessions. I ended up responding so well to the process, though, that I've continued seeing her in private practice ever since.

As part of this therapy process, I've recently become fascinated with the idea of how my particular experience has compared to others; and it turns out that my own therapist is what's known as an "existential therapist," and decided to start loaning me books on the subject by one of her heroes, Irvin Yalom who essentially coined the phrase and was the first one to define it. The great thing about Yalom (for patients of psychotherapy, that is) is that he's written a series of narrative-based books over the years about his various experiences with his patients, ostensibly designed for fellow therapists but well-written enough and entertaining enough for general audience members like myself.

"Love's Executioner" is the second such book of his I've read, after the illuminating 1970s experiment "Every Day Gets a Little Closer" (in which he invited a patient who's a creative writer to write a journal about what each of her sessions was like for her, then wrote such a journal himself, not comparing each other's notes until the entire year-long experiment was over), and both are hugely eye-opening experiences for those like me who are going through existential-type therapy themselves. Yalom talks candidly about the various problems that come with certain therapy sessions, and how these can become exacerbated by the biases and weaknesses of the therapists themselves; and unlike what you might expect from a book like this, not all the ten case studies presented here have happy endings, Yalom being quite clear about the various breakdowns on both his and his patients' parts when one of them ends up leaving therapy without being "cured" (however you want to define that). Illuminating like a textbook but engrossing like a novel, all of his books are highly recommended to those who are curious to learn more about how the psychotherapeutic process actually works, and I'm now looking forward to making my way through more of his oeuvre as 2016 continues.
Profile Image for Maxime.
16 reviews12 followers
October 12, 2012
Love's Executioner. God that's a good title. Vaguely profound statements are the best. (Fortune cookies anyone?) In this book, Yalom gives accounts of patients he has had. I am not sure what criteria were used in picking the case studies he did for the book; I imagine he has rich history of intriguing patients and these are no exception. In Love's Executioner you will read about interesting characters and their neuroses and watch from behind the scenes as Yalom applies his psychological scalpel (or in some cases sledge hammer). It all feels very voyeuristic, not only from peering inside Yalom's office, but also from experiencing his inner dialogue. Understanding the intense challenge of psychotherapy is interesting, especially for those who enjoy psychology, but it is Yalom's refreshing honesty, bordering on the uncomfortable, that makes this book such a great read. You do not need to point out that the statement he just made regarding his patient might be egotistical or potentially inaccurate. He knows it. And he will proceed to lay out counter arguments to himself better articulated than you ever could have. Reading Love's Executioner, you are given an inside view of someone who has made a successful career at trying to understand and categorize something that cannot ever be understood or explained: the human mind. Ironically, while Love's Executioner strongly demonstrates psychology's ineptitude at understanding the mind, the book also shows that when applied in therapy, psychology remains mysteriously effective.
Profile Image for Michelle.
85 reviews
April 4, 2018
Oh man. Did I hate this book. Yalom is a turd. I really tried. I really did, but I cannot. We're meant to appreciate his honesty and study his counter-transference, but I'm telling you right now. Any other therapist could have written a brutally honest account of their work, and not come off as such a whiny, self-aggrandizing putz. All Yalom does is piss and moan that he's bored in sessions because his client is ugly, or a fatty, or whatever else is not the height of entertainment for him. Then he pats himself on the back for whatever nonremarkable accomplishment he does make. I'm told he's one of the greatest psychotherapists in all the land, but this book does nothing to illustrate that, as far as I can tell. I like to donate books, not ever throw them away, but this one here....pfffffft. Guinea pig litter. Everyone always says things in reviews like, "I wish I could give such-and-such book negative stars!" Well this time, I'm deathly serious. No, really.
January 3, 2022
Λίγο που έχω μέρες να βγω από σπίτι (άτιμη καραντίνα και δουλειά εξ αποστάσεως) λίγο που οι ταχυμεταφορές έχουν σηκώσει πλέον τα χέρια ψηλά αδυνατώντας να διαχειριστούν τον όγκο των προϊόντων που καλούνται να παραδώσουν καθημερινά, έμεινα χωρίς "προμήθειες εκτάκτου ανάγκης". Όμως το καλό το παλικάρι, ή μάλλον το κορίτσι...😁 Έτσι σκάλισα λίγο το ράφι και τράβηξα ένα από τα διαβασμένα. Πριν τη βουτιά στα γνώριμα νερά, ας συνοψίσω την αίσθηση που αποκόμισα κατά την πρώτη ανάγνωση.
Δεν θα μπορούσα να πω ότι θυμάμαι την κάθε ιστορία που περιγράφεται με λεπτομέρειες, όμως μου έχουν μείνει τα γενικά στοιχεία και τα συναισθήματα που μου άφησαν. Άλλοτε μελαγχολικά, άλλοτε αισιόδοξα, κάποιες φορές ανήσυχα ως προς τα κοινά χαρακτηριστικά που προσδιορίζουν την ανθρώπινη φύση και μερικές φορές τόσο βίαια και πιεστικά προς την εκδήλωσή τους, που ήμουν σίγουρη πως θα με έκαναν να εκραγώ σε δεκάδες κομμάτια αν έμεναν κρυμμένα ή πως σίγουρα θα με κυνηγούσαν την νύχτα στον ύπνο μου με τη μορφή εφιάλτη...
Είναι όμορφο να διαβάζεις τη φαντασία ενός συγγραφέα.
Είναι όμως παράξενο και κάπως τρομαχτικό να σε διαβάζει αυτός και να βλέπεις αποτυπωμένα μπροστά σου τις φοβίες σου, τις νευρώσεις, τις καταπιεσμένες επιθυμίες, τα κρυφά πάθη σου.
Πολύ καλή δουλειά στη μετάφραση και την επιμέλεια, κάτι που δε θα μπορούσα να πω για το πρώτο βιβλίο της σειράς που διάβασα (όταν έκλαψε ο Νίτσε) και με άφησε να αναρωτιέμαι για τις συγγραφικές ικανότητες του ψυχολόγου. Υπάρχουν. Και είναι εξαιρετικές!
Από εμένα είναι ναι!!!
Καλή συνέχεια σε όλους.
Profile Image for Jolanta.
331 reviews24 followers
January 15, 2022
❝ Meilė- tai ne aistros blyksnis tarp dviejų žmonių; yra didžiulis skirtumas tarp įsimylėjimo ir meilės. Meilė- veikiau būsena, davimas, o ne potraukis; santykis su visuma, o ne su pavieniu žmogumi.
Profile Image for Night0vvl.
132 reviews24 followers
December 12, 2018
ترجمه ای که من از کتاب خوندم، ترجمه ی آقای غلامحسین سدیر عابدی بود و ترجمه ی خوب و قابل قبولی بود.
اما در مورد خود کتاب، داستانها جذاب هستن و با شیوه ای هنرمندانه بیان شده اند البته با توجه به سال نگارش کتاب، به نظرم میشد جزو اولین آثار بودن رو حس کرد و طبیعتا نباید انتظار پختگی کتابهای بعدی یالوم رو ازش داشت.
نکته ی دیگه در مورد کتاب اینه که شاید به نظر بعضی و در نگاه اول، بیان تفکرات درمانگر در مورد مراجعانش امر زننده ای به نظر بیاد اما برعکس در نظر من هنر نویسنده در این کتاب جسارت بیان همین تفکرات و در واقع شکستن جایگاه تخیلی درمانگر در دید مردمه. درسته که بیمار شاید علاقه داشته باشه که درمانگر رو موجودی با جایگاه خاصی که حتما قادر به حل مشکل اون هست، ببینه؛ اما حقیقت اینه که درمانگر هم انسانی ست مثل سایر انسانها، پر از تفکرات و احساسات انسانی!
و به قول خود یالوم در بازخوانی انتهایی کتاب، این کتاب در مورد درمانگره نه بیمار!
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