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The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients
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The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients [Paperback]

Irvin Yalom
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 customer reviews)

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The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients 4.7 out of 5 stars (331)
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Book Description

January 7, 2003

Anyone interested in psychotherapy or personal growth will rejoice at the publication of The Gift of Therapy, a masterwork from one of today's most accomplished psychological thinkers.

From his thirty-five years as a practicing psychiatrist and as an award-winning author, Irvin D. Yalom imparts his unique wisdom in The Gift of Therapy. This remarkable guidebook for successful therapy is, as Yalom remarks, "an idiosyncratic mÉlange of ideas and techniques that I have found useful in my work. These ideas are so personal, opinionated, and occasionally original that the reader is unlikely to encounter them elsewhere. I selected the eighty-five categories in this volume randomly guided by my passion for the task rather than any particular order or system."

At once startlingly profound and irresistibly practical, Yalom's insights will help enrich the therapeutic process for a new generation of patients and counselors.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Speaking directly to the current generation of counselors, The Gift of Therapy lays out simple suggestions that blend personal experience with professional objectivity. This is a book that will remind you why you entered the field in the first place. With tips on avoiding diagnosis (except for insurance purposes), when to disclose personal information, and why it's important to leave time between patient appointments, the recommendations are aimed at therapists, but they may be useful to patients who want to know what to expect from their counselors. Some references to the DSM-IV may be a little over the layperson’s head, but in general the writing is clear and understandable for lay readers as well as professionals.

Each chapter is just a few pages long, a nice format for busy folks whose reading time occurs in snippets. A single topic is addressed in each chapter, and author Irvin Yalom doesn't waste any time in getting to the point. Many of the sections revolve around balancing the "magic, mystery, and authority" that come with the job of freeing your clients of their reliance on you.

From when to offer an occasional hug to finding the perfect time for deeper questioning, Yalom's experienced observations will help you achieve even greater professional effectiveness while avoiding some of the more obvious traps in this HMO-directed age of mental health care. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

If the future of psychotherapy lies in psychopharmaceuticals and the short-term therapies stipulated by HMOs, argues Yalom, then the profession is in trouble. Yalom, the recipient of both major awards given by the American Psychiatric Association, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford and the author of both fiction and nonfiction volumes about psychotherapy, writes this book in response to that crisis. Based on knowledge gained from his 35 years of practice, the resulting book of tips (a "gift" for the next generation of therapists) is an enlightening refutation of "brief, superficial, and insubstantial" forms of therapy. Yalom, who references Rilke and Nietzsche as well as Freud's protege Karen Horney and the founder of client-centered therapy, Carl Rogers, describes therapy as "a genuine encounter with another person." He suggests that therapists avoid making DSM IV diagnoses (except for insurance purposes), since these "threaten the human, the spontaneous, the creative and uncertain nature of the therapeutic venture." He also encourages psychotherapists to use dream analysis, group therapy and, when appropriate, wholly inventive forms of treatment. Traditionalists will probably squirm at some of his suggestions (particularly "Revealing the Therapist's Personal Life" and "Don't Be Afraid of Touching Your Patient"). Other tips, though, such as "Never Be Sexual with Patients" are no-brainers. Although the book dies somewhat in the second half, and not much here is new, the wise ideas are perfectly accessible. (Jan.)Forecast: Yalom has explored many of these ideas before. His followers will certainly be charmed, and newcomers patients as much as therapists may be won over by his openness and tender tone.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful May 8, 2017
By Jeanie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was required reading for a psychotherapy class that I took, but I would have enjoyed reading it either way. The chapters were short, the language was easy, and the writing felt very intimate. I found it infinitely interesting to hear about the experiences of someone who has practiced psychotherapy for so long, there were many things I would have never even considered - either as patient or therapist. This is definitely a book I plan to keep near by throughout the remainder of my coursework and hopefully into my own practice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read. May 22, 2016
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This is a good book but keep in mind that the theorist behind it is from the existentialist school of thought and much of what is discussed related to that particular theory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Gertie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
80% Great insights
10% Narcissistic ramblings
10% Just ramblings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than a job September 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I began reading this book several years ago when finishing my degree in counseling. The book was recommended by my mentor and I had enjoyed other Yalom works. It has been a pleasure gaining inspiration from Yalom through his written word and illuminating stories. While experience has changed my perspective on this book, the essential enjoyment of one's work and creativity in pursuing excellence in therapy transcends the limiting factors (the main being that many people do not get to work with clients who want treatment, so many of us work with mandated clients these days). For anyone in this field or interested in how therapy 'should' work, I strongly recommend this book. My sister, who does not fit into either category, but does enjoy reading and learning, also enjoyed the book; such is the testament of Yalom's writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed reading some of the entries April 6, 2017
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This book was assigned for my Master's Advanced Abnormal Psychology class, otherwise, I probably would never have purchased it. Having said that, I have enjoyed reading some of the entries, and it has helped with some valuable lessons that will be utilized later in my career.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Therapy Unwrapped January 9, 2011
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For anyone who has earned any sort of therapeutic degree, Dr. Yalom is known. In particular, he is the "guru" of group therapy, having written what is the standard textbook and reference on group therapy.

Yet this wonderful little book is different. A highly individualized look at what therapists do, The Gift of Therapy is a clear and unburdened look into a world that is so misunderstood and often parodied in our society.

This is the third copy I have purchased. I give it to others. As a practitioner, I find this look at therapy to be extremely useful to help clients and administrative people in my circle to better understand the reality of the work. In particular, those non-clinical people around me who need to wrestle with the realities of fund raising, receiving fair compensation from insurance companies and other such unpleasant tasks are amazed to see the difference between what happens in their work and the atmosphere that needs to be created in the therapy space in order to allow the process to work. In addition, anyone looking for a therapist or in therapy could use this to help guide them in their selection process and in the work itself.

I recommend this book highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Yalom is absolutely amazing, and this book does not disappoint! He is a leader in the field, a talented clinician who is timeless and ageless. I'll read any of his stuff!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yalom's gift to therapy July 27, 2013
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Irvin Yalom is a prolific author, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and at the time of writing this book had over 35 years of clinical practice.

His book is essentially 85 tips for professional counselors on how to get the most out of therapy. Each tip is a chapter so you get a tip and then an explanation of the tip. Although the book is designed for professional counselors, non-professional counselors and even clients of counselors can benefit from giving this little book a read.

Some of the tips to counselors include:

Let the patient matter to you

Do home visits

Acknowledge your errors

Create a new therapy for each patient

Give yourself time between patients

Yalom's writing style is personal and engaging. His sense of humor shines through his writing and each chapter is written in a no-nonsense, down-to-earth fashion. In this little book I have found a tome in which I will return to again and again.

While the title is The Gift of Therapy, in reality it is Yalom's gift to therapy.

Highly Recommended
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for PMHNP student
I was assigned to read this book for orientation to my future PMHNP role. The book is excellent. So much wisdom and many helpful tips.
Published 4 days ago by Jason
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all new therapists
I really enjoyed this book! Any student therapist who would like to improve and is interested in learning should read this book. Dr. Yalom is an awesome writer and story teller.
Published 17 days ago by Joe Nijmeh
5.0 out of 5 stars Altered my practice as a psychotherapist
Dr. Yalom makes it safe for therapists to be human, and to exist in a relationship of equanimity with clients. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Vincent F
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I loved this book. I gave it to one of my clients and it contributed well to therapy. I can't wait to read more of his work.
Published 23 days ago by Carrie_1208
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 2 months ago by Yoheved Arzi
5.0 out of 5 stars It was very interesting and informative, and made me ...
It was very interesting and informative, and made me feel hopeful, in a time when therapy is being held to
a short number of visits, with an emphasis on medication.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read. Practical and compelling.
Published 2 months ago by GardenState 88
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Asena Mercan-Weldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book!
Published 4 months ago by Wendy L Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Good therapy is truly a gift for all parties involved!
As others have already pointed out, Dr. Yalom has certainly mastered the art of being a great and sensitive provider of therapy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
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