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on 3 May 2017
I'm a huge fan of Irvin Yalom's writing and approached this book with highest expectations, which it has easily met. The chapters are short, but comprehensive and the book is therefore easy to read when you have spare time, whether it is five minutes or an hour. I've read a couple of chapters several times and have taken more from them with each read. Regardless of if you have read work by Yalom before or if this is likely to be your first purchase, it is likely to be equally accessible and rewarding.
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on 27 April 2017
This was a recommended read and finding it very useful
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on 7 July 2017
This book is amazingly helpful, honest and enjoyable for those who are training to be a counsellor. I have yet to sit down and read it from front to back but having flicked through it for my dissertation it is full of useful, interesting information I will sit down to read throughly soon!
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on 11 August 2017
Love Irvin Yalom
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on 19 July 2017
Amazing summary of therapeutic wisdom and experience. I have already found it valuable in my work with clients.
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on 12 February 2013
A fascinating insight into therapy today and some thought provoking Areas to consider, a must read for all counsellors, counsellors trainee and established.
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on 22 February 2011
This is a book borne of experience rather than theory. What Irvin D Yalom does here is offer counsellors and psychotherapists the benefit of his own discoveries about what works. While he does make occasional reference to various schools of thought (e.g. neo-Freudian) it is clear that his interest is in getting 'alongside' people rather than in analysing or diagnosing them. Indeed, he cautions against diagnoses and advises therapists to view those who seek their help as 'fellow travellers' (rather than as afflicted clients).

Not being a therapist myself, I am not able to comment from that particular perspective, but it seems to me that what Yalom is writing about is the kind of pastoral care that, in the past, many people may have sought from their priests, ministers or rabbis. It is interesting that Yalom dislikes the term 'client' (which suggests a business relationship), preferring instead to use the term 'patient' (which seems rather more clinical) - but 'parishioner' might almost be a more fitting expression (though, presumably, there cannot be too great a 'flock' of 'parishioners' at any one time!). I make this comment because Yalom appears, essentially, to be urging therapists to act as secular clergy, supporting and empathising with individuals and, on occasions, giving them direction.

Given his relational/pastoral emphasis, it is unsurprising that he is dismissive of particular fixed approaches to therapy. He is certainly critical of the Person-Centred Approach pioneered by Carl Rogers, but he reserves some of his most scathing remarks for formulaic 'evidence-based therapies' such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

The Gift of Therapy is actually an enjoyable as well as informative read, precisely because it stresses relationship with the human subject rather than adherence to a method.
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on 28 April 2003
As always, Yalom's writing is immediately accessible and free from jargon. As is his thinking. What I most like about this book is his honesty; the fact that he sometimes goes overtime on sessions with clients; that he sometimes double-books his appointments; that he sometimes gets bored with clients. What I also like is what he suggests as creative ways to work with all of the above. This is the voice of an experienced therapist who has learned the 'rules' well, and can now play with them. I guess for therapists who are less well experienced, it may not be wise to become too idiosyncratic until we have the years of experience that Yalom does - but at least he keeps alive the awareness that therapy does not exist for the sake of the therapist or his/her school of training, but for the client. My favourite quote: "the difference between good mothers and bad mothers (and hence therapists) is not in the commission of errors, but in what they do with them".
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on 7 June 2013
How much would I have appreciated this book at the start of my therapist training, instead of the garbage I was given on "randomised control trial proves this" and "evidence supports wholeheartedly this intervention". Was to find out later these statements were brainwashing - exaggerations at best, and downright lies at worse. This book describes so brilliantly why people are barking up the wrong tree, if they're saying things like this.

I'm an experienced therapist and psychologist now. This is the kind of book that as a therapist, you will read differently over time, and see new meanings in the same words, depending on your stage of training. I look forward to seeing ever more new meanings as I progress in future.

Irvin is one of the greatest therapeutic authors of our time, and that's not an exaggeration. Invest in this, and you invest in your patient's future.
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on 19 November 2015
Exellent!
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