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The Gift Of Therapy By Irvin D, Yalom, M.D

The Gift of Therapy book contains 85 short essays on Yalom’s experience during his psychotherapy practice. It is the culmination of Dr Irvin’s thirty-five years of work in therapy. It illustrates the real case studies on how both therapists can gain the most from therapy sessions. It is a widely known book, which is termed an open letter, that provides tips on new-generation therapy. The book enriches the therapeutic processes for counsellors and patients and provides a guide to the relationship between therapists and their clients. Yalom is a prolific author who lays out simple but vital ideas aimed at enriching the therapeutic process by blending personal experience with professional objectivity.

I like this book. It is one of the best books on therapy, which gives wonderful insights into the difficult subjects for a neophyte and reminds therapists of what should be at the forefront during their profession. I openly recommend it to everyone in therapy or starting therapy. Although the book is designed for psychiatrists, non-professional psychiatrists and clients can reap a lot from reading this book. In eighty-five chapters, he offers manageable advice, which is embedded within the intriguing stories of reality with patients’ dealings.

I like how Yalom presents the book in succinct and short chapters, which are enriched with useful tips and the authors’ knowledge of the psychotherapeutic milieu. These quick-read tips include reminders, obstacles to avert errors while carrying out therapy, acknowledging and establishing new therapy for each patient, setting up enough time for patients, and letting the patients matter. Additionally, He holds an exceptional approach and idea to psychotherapy, which is different from the current evidence-based practices and the managed care influence on today’s therapy sessions. He seeks to re-generate the relationship between the two therapeutic parties by metaphorically terming them as “two travellers.” The book effectively explores the relationship between patients and counsellors as well as therapist self-disclosure.

Moreover, what strikes me most about the gift of therapy book is how the author strives for authenticity and fearlessness. All throughout the reading, Yalom gives numerous examples of the incidences in which he had to be honest and fearless in his dealings with his clients on personal issues such as dreams, thoughts, and feelings. Throughout his sessions, Yalom seeks to learn more about the client’s experience of the sessions as well as personal feelings and ideas by asking them to write them in letters. In return, he agreed to write them, exchange the letters on a regular basis, and converse about the discrepancies. According to the author, therapist self-disclosure would be significant in ensuring openness between the involved parties. In other words, Yalom uses these words to depict that a fruitful therapeutic relationship calls for togetherness between the parties involved to ensure and allow for fruitful therapy sessions. The author overshadowed the client’s vulnerability and feelings by asking him to critique and share his own experience. The author’s story inspires people to be authentic and fearless while setting up relationships.

I also liked Yalom’s transparency in conversing with patients. Through this, he encourages physiologists to emphasize and discuss what happens between the therapists and the patients during the therapy sessions. The author provides examples of the many instances when he was transparent when dealing and associating with clients. Throughout Yalom’s sessions, he is bold and transparent and opens dialogues about what happens in the therapy rooms. He also tries to encourage and educate on the significance of transparency between clients and psychiatrists. On the other hand, he criticizes and advises retrieval from the old ways of dealing with clients.

I also like the author’s writing style. His personal and engaging style shines through his writing. Additionally, his sense of humour is evident throughout the book chapters. Each chapter is written in a down-to-earth fashion, making one desire to read it again and again. While the title is The Gift of Therapy, it is really Yalom’s gift to therapists. The book’s wise ideas are perfectly accessible, and the upcoming therapists can be charmed and won over by his tender tone. Therefore, for the people interested in therapy, there is no any other interesting book and writer than Irvin.

I find Irvin’s writing sensitive and incredibly insightful. It is remarkable that the writing provides vital information and experiences of therapy sessions. The Gift of Therapy Book is a practical book which is easily accessible and packed with insightful nuggets of wisdom from the therapy’s greatest legends. Irvin’s book is illuminating and sets forth interesting ideas for helping people to change for the better. He is a gifted writer who has provided aspiring therapists with an incredible gift to guide them throughout their profession and what should transpire between parties involved in psychotherapy to help heal.

What I don’t like about the book is that Yalom criticizes the old ideas and approaches to psychotherapy. He also criticized young therapists, claiming that they lacked the desired knowledge in carrying out therapy and dealing with patients. This is evident when he terms the old therapy ways as “old baggage.” Instead, he should have incorporated them into his new ideas in order to come up with outstanding ideas, approaches, and strategies for improving the therapeutic process. Additionally, the book provides short chapters that do not provide sufficient information on the therapy field. In my opinion, Yalom should have written long and wordy texts which can fully supplement the therapeutic processes by supplying enough information which is applicable during therapy.

I also dislike the fact that Yalom discloses his clients’ information and experiences, which should otherwise be kept confidential. This violates the therapy ethics that oversee the confidentiality of clients’ vital information. Additionally, the book is, in most cases, viewed to be written from a self-elective perspective and hence seeks to praise and brag about his achievements, experiences, and knowledge of therapy.

In conclusion, although written from a self-indulgence and interpersonal framework and perspective, The Gift of Therapy book is no doubt a fascinating and important book which therapists should read as it gives insights on how to conduct therapeutic processes and ensure both parties achieve their goals. The book also provides tips on the don’ts and dos’ during the therapy process. For instance, it emphasizes self-disclosure, transparency, fearlessness, and humility while dealing with patients. In other words, the gift of therapy book by Irvin D, Yalom, M.D is worth reading by clients and psychiatrists in order to reap the best from the therapy sessions.

Work Cited

Yalom, Irvin D. The gift of therapy. London: Piatkus, 2010.



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