The definitive account of existential psychotherapy.
Existential therapy has been practiced and continues to be practiced in many forms and situations throughout the world. But until now, it has lacked a coherent structure, an analysis of its tenets, and an evaluation of its usefulness. Irvin Yalom, whose Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy has rendered such a service to that discipline since 1970, provides existential psychotherapy with a background, a synthesis and a framework.
Organized around what Yalom identifies as the four “ultimate concerns of life”—death, freedom, existential isolation, and meaninglessness—the book takes up the meaning of each existential concern and the type of conflict that springs from our confrontation with each. He shows how these concerns are manifested in personality and psychopathology, and how treatment can be helped by our knowledge of them.
Drawing from clinical experience, empirical research , philosophy, and great literature, Yalom has written a broad and comprehensive book. It will provide an intellectual home base for those psychotherapists who have sensed the incompatibility of orthodox theories with their own clinical experience, and it opens new doors for empirical research. The fundamental concerns of therapy and the central issues of human existence are woven together here as never before, with intellectual and clinical results that will surprise and enlighten all readers.
“I believe this excellent book will become a classic for those studying existential psychotherapy and indeed for all clinicians. But it would be a mistake to relegate it to psychiatrists and psychologists alone—any person interested in what makes people act as they do will find help here. I found it so readable that I could scarcely put it down.”
Jerome D. Frank
“This remarkable treatise explores psychotherapy in the context of its relevance to the major problems of human existence. The product of extensive clinical experience, evaluated and integrated by a sensitive, well-informed and powerful mind, it is an impressive achievement. The style is eloquent, lucid and enlivened by flashes of wit. This book offers much of value to psychotherapists preoccupied with the daily task...and will be an exceptionally enriching reading experience for everyone who reflects on the broader issues of human life.”
“Professor Yalom’s book is one of the irreducible classics of psychotherapy—wise, sensitive, scholarly, and beautifully written—not least in his gentle humor with psychiatric and philosophical emperors who have no clothes on.”
H. Keith H. Brodie
“Once again Irvin Yalom has produced a volume of great meaning and timeliness. He has crystallized the essence of existential psychotherapy. With numerous clinical illustrations and a thorough review of the literature, he has constructed a volume on conflicts which flow from the individual’s confrontations with certain ultimate concerns: death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness.
“This book should be read by every psychiatry resident and every clinical psychology intern. It belongs in the library of every psychotherapist.”