The definitive account of existential psychotherapy.
First published in 1980, Existential Psychotherapy is widely considered to be the foundational text in its field— the first to offer a methodology for helping patients to develop more adaptive responses to life’s core existential dilemmas. In this seminal work, American psychiatrist Irvin Yalom finds the essence of existential psychotherapy and gives it a coherent structure, synthesizing its historical background, core tenets, and usefulness to the practice.
Organized around what Yalom identifies as the four "ultimate concerns of life"—death, freedom, 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 manifest 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 provides an intellectual home base for those psychotherapists who have sensed the incompatibility of orthodox theories with their own clinical experience, and 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 have surprised and enlightened generations of readers.
About the Author
Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. He is the author of numerous books, including the international bestseller Love's Executioner and the classic textbook, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
"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."—Rollo May
"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."—Jerome D. Frank
"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."—Alex Comfort
"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 inter. It belongs in the library of every psychotherapist."—H. Keith H. Brodie