The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s more than thirty-five years in clinical practice, The Gift of Therapy is a remarkable and essential guidebook that illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. The bestselling author of Love’s Executioner shares his uniquely fresh approach and the valuable insights he has gained—presented as eighty-five personal and provocative “tips for beginner therapists,” including:
Let the patient matter to you
Acknowledge your errors
Create a new therapy for each patient
Do home visits
(Almost) never make decisions for the patient
Freud was not always wrong
A book aimed at enriching the therapeutic process for a new generation of patients and counselors, Yalom’s Gift of Therapy is an entertaining, informative, and insightful read for anyone with an interest in the subject.
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
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