Love's Executioner: & Other Tales of Psychotherapy

Love's Executioner: & Other Tales of Psychotherapy

by Irvin D. Yalom
4.5 2

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Love's Executioner: & Other Tales of Psychotherapy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
DebraR More than 1 year ago
A great read with some great insight!
ECottrell_RiverwoodWriter More than 1 year ago
Rare and fascinating glimpse into a psychotherapist's world. This book was a fascinating glimpse into the sometimes bizarre relationship between psychotherapist and patient. While I appreciated Yalom's candor about his own feelings and reactions to his patients and what they divulged, I was frankly taken aback at the transferrance he described as sometimes flowing both ways. It seemed at first highly unprofessional, yet after reflection, it would be unrealistic to think even the most dedicated professional could empathetically listen to his patients' complex web of emotion and pathology without becoming involved in more than a superficial way. As Yalom describes it, his willingness to dig deep with his patients and immerse himself in their relationship was critical to their trust and cooperation. In the introduction, the author offered a mind-expanding discussion about psychotherapy, its essence, and its goals. I felt greatly edified from having read it. A few of the highlights: "So much wanting. So much longing. And so much pain, so close to the surface, only minutes deep." "My primary clinical assumption -- an assumption on which I based my technique -- is that basic anxiety emerges from a person's endeavors, conscious and unconscious -- to cope with the harsh facts of life, the 'givens' of existence...I hope to demonstrate, in these ten tales of psychoterapy, that it is possible to confront the truths of existence and harness their power in the service of personal change and growth." "In my many years of work with cancer patients facing imminent death, I have noted two particularly powerful and common methods of allaying fears about death, two beliefs, or delusions, that afford a sense of safety. One is the belief in personal specialness; the other, the belief in an ultimate rescuer." "Since patients tend to resist assuming responsibility, therapists must develop techniques to make patients aware of how they themselves create their own problems." "While the assumption of responsibility brings the patient into the vestibule of change, it is not synonymous with change. And it is change that is always the true quarry, however much a therapist may court insight, responsibility assumption, and self-actualization." I highlighted some other tidbits in the book I found interesting, but they mean much less out of context. "As a general rule, the less one's sense of life fulfillment, the greater one's death anxiety." [It was] "Nietzsche who said somewhere that when you first meet someone, you know all about him; on subsequent meetings, you blind yourself to your own wisdom." "People who feel empty never heal by merging with another incomplete person. On the contrary, two broken-winged birds coupled into 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." Of a patient who could not get past the death of a child to cancer, he said, "She had that very hour give me a concept that would serve me in good stead in all my future work with the bereaved: if one is to learn to live with the dead, one must first learn to live with the living." In this book, Yalom is highly successful in his goal of providing for the layperson a glimpse into the methods and efficacy of psychotherapy. As Austin said in his review, I suspect many readers will feel they might benefit from some time with a good therapist too.