The Yalom Reader
In both his nonfiction and his fiction, Yalom uses the lens of psychotherapy to explore human nature and shows us that the line between the true and the imagined is not always easy to distinguish.
In this anthology of Irvin Yalom's most influential work to date, readers will experience the diversity of his writings with pieces that range from the highly concrete and clinical to the abstract and theoretical and, of course, even to the literary.
Yalom opens with a frank and enlightening autobiographical introduction and then proceeds through three distinctive parts: “Group Psychotherapy,” “Existential Psychotherapy,” and “On Writing.”
The structure of the book follows the trajectory of Yalom’s career in many ways, and the selections include excerpts from his textbooks, an award-winning monograph on existential group therapy, previously unpublished case studies, and excerpts from Love’s Executioner, When Nietzsche Wept, and Lying on the Couch. In addition, Dr. Yalom has written new introductory essays for each of his trade books, which focus on the evolution of his career and thinking since the books were originally published.
In both his nonfiction and fiction, Yalom uses the lens of psychotherapy to explore human nature and shows us that the line between the true and the imagined is not always easily distinguished. What has driven Dr. Yalom from the beginning of his career is a powerful interest in narrative and it is this passion that ties these selections together. It is possible to come to The Yalom Reader from many different backgrounds and be richly rewarded. Readers of Dr. Yalom’s clinical texts will be intrigued by the fictional works; general readers will gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the practice of psychotherapy.
When Basic Books, my publisher for the past three decades, first proposed this book, I shuddered. I had always thought an anthology to be a posthumous collection of a writer's work. Or, if not posthumous, then a retrospective—a collection compiled at the very end of one’s writing career. So it seemed to me that the proposal was just one more life stage marker, another melancholy reminder of aging—like retiring from Stanford University; developing senile plaques and aching knees; saying farewell to tennis; watching my children marry, settle into professions, and have children themselves.
Gradually, however, I warmed to the idea of a reader-cum-retrospective because I thought it offered a curtain call for many beloved, long-forgotten works …