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Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy [Hardcover]

Irvin D. Yalom
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Nov 1989
Yalom provides ten powerful and moving accounts of a master therapist and hispatients confronting themselves and each other.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (5 Nov 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465042805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465042807
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 510,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Irvin Yalom is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University. He has won two major awards from the American Psychiatric Association. He continues to run his clinical practice and lectures widely.

Product Description


"Dr. Yalom demonstrates once again that in the right hands, the stuff of therapy has the interest of the richest and most inventive fiction."-New York Times "Like Freud, Yalom is a graceful and canny writer. The fascinating, moving, enervating, inspiring, unexpected stuff of psychotherapy is told with economy and, most surprising, with humor."-Washington Post Book World "Yalom is a gifted storyteller, and from the sound of these tales, a no-less-gifted psychotherapist. He restores a sense of awe and mystery to an endeavor that all too often gets mired in the muck of jargon and categorization... In addition to bringing the reader up close to his patients, and to a process often (necessarily) cloaked in secrecy, he gives the reader an un-airbrushed picture of the therapist, warts and all."-Los Angeles Times "Here is the naked therapist, stripped of the armor of god-like omniscience, aware of his flaws..."-Chicago Tribune "Inspired...Yalom writes with the narrative wit of O. Henry and the earthy humor of Isaac Bashevis Singer."-San Francisco Chronicle "Love's Executioner is Yalom's wise, humane, stirring and utterly absorbing account of how 10 of his patients try to cope with what he calls 'existence pain'-the knowledge that death is inevitable, that each of us is ultimately alone, that life has no clear meaning, but that we nonetheless have the freedom 'to make our lives as we will'...Irvin Yalom's book is charged with hope and generosity of spirit."-Newsday "By his honesty and literary talent, Yalom convinces us that these are, in his words, 'everyman, everywoman stories' and that in each of these 'crazies,' in my word, is a little bit of you and me."-Miami Herald "Dr. Irvin Yalom ... bravely steps into this chaotic void in Love's Executioner ... [H]e brings understanding, order, and the 'feel' of the process of psychotherapy as few before him have done."-Toronto Star "Dr. Yalom's point is not to merely document psychological abnormality, it is to demonstrate that 'it is possible to confront the truths of existence and harness their power in the service of personal change and growth.' Read Love's Executioner, and weep."-Globe and Mail "[Yalom's] honesty can be unnerving ... Love's Executioner offers a tragic, deeply felt vision of the human condition. In demystifying the therapist-patient encounter, Dr Yalom brings us into broader territory: he reminds us of our need for intimacy and trust and the struggle necessary to achieve them."-Sunday Herald (Melbourne, Australia) "The vicissitudes of neurosis and its treatment have always provided irresistible material for dramatic narratives. In Love's Executioner Yalom demonstrates that in the right hands, the stuff of therapy has the interest of the richest and most inventive fiction."-Arkansas Democrat-Gazette "[I]nsightful."-Monterey County Herald (California) "In Love's Executioner I marvelled at Yalom's courage in writing about therapeutic relationships which had not been a great success and also at his skill in bringing these encounters to life."-Existential Analysis (London) "Irvin Yalom writes like an angel about the devils that besiege us. These beautifully wrought true stories go way beyond therapy; they are incisive and moving tales of life, by a wise psychotherapist."-Rollo May "Love's Executioner is one of those rare books that suggests both the mystery and the poetry of the psychotherapeutic process. The best therapists are at least partly poets. With this riveting and beautifully written book, Irvin Yalom has joined their ranks."-Erica Jong "These stories are wonderful. They make us realize that within every human being lie the pain and beauty that make life worthwhile."-Bernie S. Siegel "This is an impressive transformation of clinical experience into literature. Dr. Yalom's case histories are more gripping than 98 percent of the fiction published today, and he has gone to amazing lengths of honesty to depict himself as a realistic flesh-and-blood character: funny, flawed, perverse, and above all, understanding."-Phillip Lopate "These remarkably moving and instructive tales of the psychiatric encounter bring the reader into novel territories of the mind-and the landscape is truly unforgettable."-Maggie Scarf "Dr. Yalom is unusually honest, both with his patients and about himself."-Anthony Storr "I loved Love's Executioner. Dr. Yalom has learned something that fiction writers learned years ago-that people's mistakes are a lot more interesting than their triumphs."-Joanne Greenberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, The Gift of Therapy, and When Nietzsche Wept. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
I DO NOT LIKE to work with patients who are in love. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a really easy read 1 Jun 2005
If you like reading case histories, then this is the book for you. It is a series of case histories with Irvin Yaloms thoughts included as part of the narrative. It tells you what happened, what he was thinking while it happened, what he was aiming for with his responses and where he occasionally went wrong! As a trainee counsellor, I found this a very refreshing and honest read. I also found it useful as a loose guide for hints and tips. It may not be an ideal practical skills manual, but it was entertaining, thought provoking and a wonderful insight to existentialism. Like one of the other reviewers, it was on my required reading list for my course, and also like that reviewer, it is the only one I picked up and read cover to cover within a few days - it really made me care about the clients he wrote about and I wanted to see what happened to them - luckily Irvin Yalom tells you!
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating 31 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Only once in a while do you come across a book -- in a shop, library, or friend's collection -- and find that, within just a few lines, it's prose jumps out at you from the page, haunting you, until you posess and devour it for yourself. This is such a book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 19 Nov 2006
This book was recommended to me by my tutor because i was having difficulty understanding existential counselling, not anymore!

Yalom writes honestly and beautifully about the client/counsellor relationship.

He is able to perfectly describe the therapeutic process each client goes through as well as being honest about the feelings each client envokes in himself.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for trainee counsellors 17 Feb 2001
what can I say, I have been training as a counsellor for three years and this is the first book which was on the college book list that I could not put down. The other books on the list are still unread in my bookcase. Though reading Yalom I now understand existentialism . It was wonderful, very easy to read. the book was delivered on Thursday and I finished it on Friday, which is amazing for me as I live in a household of 4 young children. Buy it tommorrow, I'm going to buy more copies for all my friends as I promised them they could read mine when I had finished with it but I'm afraid that I won't get it back so they will have to have their own copy. If anyone knows of an address where I can write to Irvin Yalom let me know. By the way I have just ordered the rest of his books
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant & Engaging 3 Jan 2007
Love's Executioner is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It was engaging, interesting and I couldn't put it down. I read the entire book in two days. I also found it helpful in highlighting the therapeutic relationship, which students of psychotherapy will find helpful. Overall an excellent book!!!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic account of psychotherapy in action 19 Feb 2000
By A Customer
For anyone who is training as a therapist or counsellor, undergoing therapy, or thinking of doing so, this book is a must-read. It describes case studies in absorbing detail, but it is also peppered with psychotherapeutic insights, so much so that it serves as a training manual for the trainee therapist. A brilliant work of psychology and literature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soft, deep touch, to the human soul. 17 Aug 1999
By A Customer
In the last 10 years I read a lot about psychotherapy and most of the time I learned something new and useful. However, most often, the author would try to "sell you" his truth, his method as something truly superior to all the others. His method should be present in everybody's life like the water on our planet. Instead Dr. Yalom's book is full of stimulating doubts. The question we should ask ourselves to get our answers and live to the fullest. It's an honest, warm book
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Dr Carl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read most of Yalom's other books, I expected this to be an insightful and instructive read. And so it proved. Yalom's ten 'cases' are recounted with gentleness, caring and consideration. The author does not cast himself in the role of the psychiatrist-God who has all the answers but as a person with likes and dislikes, with successes and failures, someone whose best intentions at times backfire and who can hit the spot with some of his patients through sheer accident. He treats his patients with consideration and respect without romanticizing the despair and anxiety he faces in his work. The book offers an interesting counter-part to Freud's classic case studies, which evoked the detective story genre as the psychoanalyst seeks to put together the clues offered him/her by the patient. Here too there is suspense. But the answers come from unexpected, sometimes accidental, quarters. Yet, each and every one of these cases provides a meaningful story with a beginning, a middle and, always, a satisfying end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book.
Published 19 days ago by Lilacthing
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, fast delivery, excellent book.
I would recommend this to anyone with a penchant for psych or therapy, professionals or non-professionals. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kalin
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Illuminating and thought provoking work. I read this after The Examined Life, which I would also recommend, although, even as a therapist myself, I still question whether talking... Read more
Published 11 months ago by alliep
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic and easy to read
It is reassuring to read about Irvin Yalom's approach in each of these tales. He talks openly about his feelings toward his clients which makes him refreshingly human.
Published 15 months ago by Julia
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing
this is a wonderful collection of first hand accounts written by a very skilled psychotherapist about what his clients bring out in him.Fascinating. Made me laugh, made me cry.
Published 15 months ago by Ms. L. Pasternack
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and very interesting
A very accessible, easy to read book, which includes many interesting insights into what the therapist was thinking during these fascinating case studies. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Elizabeth bustard
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing title for a set of good case summaries
I was impressed by the willingness of Irvin to admit to his own shortcomings! In this set of case studies he chooses from complex issues and takes the reader carefully through the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ashcroftian
4.0 out of 5 stars First Psychotherapy read!
M studying a counselling course at Uni and my lecturer suggested we read this book.
Thoroughly enjoyed it and you can pick it up and read it in stages as its not an... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Beth Thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars Love's Executioner
I enjoyed this book very much. It is a great demonstration of humanity and there is some shocking but refreshing honesty from the author too.
Published 16 months ago by Mrs. A. Hurl
5.0 out of 5 stars Love`s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy
I first read this book years ago and have never forgotten it so when i saw it on Amazon I ordered it and read it again. Read more
Published 17 months ago by G. H. Herts.
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