11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2011
The book is exactly as described in the pracy, however one feature was omitted. This book is distincly american in flavour, the chatty easy going style is a little hard to take for an english reader like myself, however it is well worth perseverance. The authors' own struggle with search for meaning and self-doubt let you know that he understands from a personal level. The fact that he takes the 'Guru/Teacher/God' status from therapists (although he himself is a therapist) is both humble and elucidating. Most recommended.
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
I work as a speechwriter and I love this type of book because it's full of quotable stuff.
Lines like, 'You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.'
or, 'You can't make anyone love you. You just have to reveal who your are and take your chances.'
He illustrates his theories using some of the Great Classics of Western Literature - Chaucer's Wife of Bath, Kafka's The Castle, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Shakespeare's Macbeth.
The thrust of the book is 'The secret is that there is no secret'. We must all face our problems, there are no real gurus with all the answers. Life is complex, difficult, unpredictable, confusing - fun sometimes - harrowing and depressing at others. We have to find temporary solutions in ourselves. Stories, maxims and metaphors help us do this. It all ends with Kopp's Laundry List - a number of short phrases which sum up his theses. A super book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2011
Excuse the capitalisation but I feel totally justified in the use of having enjoyed this book as much as I did.
The book was recommended by the presenter of a podcast I listen to and as a curious individual who always looks for ways to expand and improve my mind I ordered it immediately.
There is not one thing I can criticise this book, I would describe it as an anti-selfhelp-selfhelp book. None of the outrageous unsubstantiated claims made by many books in the "selfhelp" section of many bookshops. Beware such books and beware the gurus who try to sell you self improvement that will "give you all you need to change your life for good".
Sheldon wrote this in the early 1970s and it appears that he had the foresight to see what an industry would be created from optimising people's potential, the nonsense "you only use 10% of your brain" sellers who base their writings on what is a myth. Ask any neuroscientist.
Buy this book, enjoy the fantastic use of language, enjoy the reality of how to improve yourself and your life. From the teachings of the toaist monks to discussions of psychoanalysis this book provides a history of and a future for selfhelp.
Your mind is yours, YOU are in the driving seat. Read this book, take control and enjoy the journey.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 1998
The subtitle, "The Pilgramage of Psychotherapy Patients," belies the essence of this highly literate hymn to authenticity and self-governance: each of us must look within to find our own answers. Drawing from the Bible, the I Ching, Siddhartha, Jung and too many others to name, the author urges that living fully requires us to let go of concepts of fairness, perfection and control and embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity of our journey. A liberating, thought provoking paean to autonomy, self acceptance and personal growth. Life Changing!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2013
I first read this book some years ago and found it fascinating, wise and often moving, but hadn't looked at it in a long while. When I read the review by Ecosurfer I was therefore a little perplexed. I certainly didn't remember Sheldon Kopp 'justifying' convicted paedophiles or saying that beating children was fine, so decided to go back to the book and check out some of Ecosurfer's comments. It turned out that these are either based on misunderstandings of what Kopp says, or are blatant attempts to misrepresent or mislead.
First of all, the accusation that Kopp is patronising to women and tells them to join the Women's Movement. Actually, what the author says is 'In my own work with female patients, I try to encourage them to sort out those parts of the problem that belong to all women, to seek the support of their sisterhood, to explore Women's Liberation Movement meetings if they wish, and to find political solutions for the political problems'. There's more on this subject, but I don't see that the tone of any of it is patronising, and Kopp plainly isn't 'telling' anyone to do anything.
There are two cases in the book concerning convicted sex offenders who might be described as 'male paedophiles'. At no point does Kopp say that paedophiles 'are no better or worse than the rest of us'; he does not purport to 'understand' the serial raping of children, or to suggest that paedophiles should have children and families of their own. Ecosurfer says in his (her?) review 'one of his patients...convicted of raping young boys.. who on Kopp's recommendation is paroled, moves in with a single mother'. Kopp apparently also says that the single mother should not be allowed to know that the man moving in with her is a paedophile and that the child rapist 'deserves a second chance'. All of this is complete rubbish. What Kopp actually says is this: 'Eventually, a short while before his release, he (Ross, the paedophile) began to talk longingly about a young woman he had known, a widow left with two small kids when her husband was drowned at sea. I never did find out how it all worked out. Ross never called or wrote once he hit the streets'. So, no 'recommendations' from Kopp (as to 'parole', or anything else), and we have no idea whether Ross got together with the young widow at all.
It's true that the account of Ross is not unsympathetic, but it's made clear that he had an appalling childhood at the hands of a violent foster mother who subjected him to repeated beatings. The context of Ross's crimes is that he was a merchant sailor who on arrival in foreign ports would seek out underage boys, usually ones that looked ill-fed and uncared for, for sex. The account says 'Having thus captivated the boy, he would take him to eat as much as he could hold of whatever he wanted, buy him the clothes he most admired, give him more money than he had ever possessed, and then take him to a furnished room...He insisted that very few of the boys left, and so he knew for sure that many wanted his love'. The last part might be self-deluding, but the point is that Ross does not appear to have used violence. Obviously it could be argued that having sex with young boys is in itself to ill-treat them, but from the long and detailed account of Ross in the book, he hardly fits into the same category as a 'serial rapist'.
Finally, Ecosurfer suggests Kopp says that beating children is fine. Kopp does not say this. The point he is trying to make is that physical beatings, in and of themselves, may not be the worst things that parents do to their children because they are at least a relatively 'honest and open' sort of punishment. He's not advocating beatings or saying they are a good thing, just that the various psychological pressures/terrors that parents sometimes inflict on their offspring are insidious and may in the long run be far more damaging to the child. Ross recounts how, after he had received yet another severe beating from his foster mother,'she'd make me come over to her and tell her that I loved her and was sorry for being so ungrateful to the only good mother God gave me'. At this point (but not before), Kopp says there were groans of pain from every man in the therapy group and gasps of 'what a thing to do to a kid' and 'You poor bastard'
In short, Ecosurfer's review imputes to Kopp views that the latter does not hold, and that indeed seem to be largely the product of Ecosurfer's own imagination (or invention). His comments, I suggest, are best ignored.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2009
This is basically a fantastic book about the journey of psychotherapy patients and their therapist, using literary archetypes and real case histories. It seems a little dated (was written in the hippy 70s when anything went!) and the second hand copy I ordered was a cheap imprint with tiny typeface, hard to read... still worth the trouble.
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 1998
Just as Rogers was said to have taken the patient off the couch, Sheldon Kopp takes the therapist off his/her pedestal. A must-read for anyone who has ever struggled with the conflictual aims of the therapist and client in a therapeutic process. Unfortunately the latter chapters tend to be more autobiographical and the book loses some of it's impact.
on 5 April 2015
It was purely the title that attracted me to this book -- it is a Zen saying whose basic meaning is that humans should not attach themselves to a guru or hero but, if they want to grow, must find resources solely within themselves.
A therapist is a catalyst; he has no power to cure a patient. He must, however, be a fellow--traveller in the search for wholeness or he will be adopting handed down rituals which he has not experienced existentially and will be of no use (like the difference between the charismatic founder of a religion and the priests who wrap up the teachings in elaborate but dead ceremony)
The wisdom of the wise sounds foolish when repeated -- it has to be learned by each individual by himself -- he outlines Hesse's Siddharta as an illustration of this. The therapist thus has to enable the patient to learn and experience, not tell him answers to questions he not yet asking.
The therapist needs to be a fool like Don Quixote; when he becomes respectable and 'realistic' he is no longer able to help people. The sick man needs, not help to stop being neurotic, odd or whatever but, to be able to love himself as he is. It may be society which is sick and the richness of the individual is needed to change it. He needs to discover the dark side of himself and to love it (he uses Conrad's Heart of Darkness to illustrate several points).
By using several themes in modern and in classical literature he concludes that religions are ways of externalising our inner conflict and that he, as a psychotherapist, has to help people realise that there are no external remedies to their worries and that life is about coming to terms with just that -- and finding the fact to be liberating.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2008
This is an okay book for the psychological novice. But even to the novice the author presents his case pretentiously and disorderly.
What's worse, the persona of the author is very present in the text, in every anecdote, in every point which makes it hard to seperate the author from the points he is trying to make. - If you happen to like his persona you might give this book a higher rating, yet he rubbed me the wrong way; he struck me as an unrepentant lightweight with a Louis XIV complex. - I *did* enjoy parts of his message but I also kept wishing that he would have taken the trouble of getting his act together and delivering his message in a more disciplined and less self-centered fashion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2013
The product arrived in great time and excellent condition.
I am not going to attempt to write a literature review as i am not as good with words and analysis as some.
I found the book really interesting and made some great points. The use of classic stories, legends and myths is thoroughly enjoyable and makes the text really easy to read and relate to.
Overall an enjoyable read