This text doesn't just provide "compelling reading for all trainee and practising counsellors and psychotherapists" (as it says in the blurb). It's very compelling reading for anyone wanting to explore and consider what matters in life and the belief systems that underpin how we approach existence. Van Deurzen's account of the interplay between philosophy and therapy invites all of us, from any 'theoretical approach', to reflect on and explore what we might previously have taken for granted.
This is a really timely book in view of the increasingly utilitarian approach to psychotherapy. It offers a broader vision of what therapy could be, and though it may seem idealistic in a world that seems suspicious of even the concepts of 'values' and 'meaning', it is a breath of fresh air. I've always thought that therapy should be about more than quick fixes; and while I completely understand that most clients (of whom I was one) want nothing more than to get out of the agony they're in, many of them also want to live authentic lives, not the kind of zombied-out half-lives that some mental health professionals seem to think is acceptable for their clients. "Into each life some rain must fall," so the song says; Emmy van Deurzen and her colleagues in this field show us how best to weather the inevitable storms without avoiding or surrendering to them. If you want shiny, happy therapy, avoid this book like the plague; if you want clear, compassionate truth, you'll find plenty to feast on here.