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Hardcover Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales from Psychotherapy Book

ISBN: 0465043860

ISBN13: 9780465043866

Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales from Psychotherapy

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Bestselling author of Love's Executioner and The Gift of Therapy, psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom probes further into the mysteries of the therapeutic encounter in this entertaining and thoughtful... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A great read!

Once again Yalom has written a book that holds our interest, and informs us at the same time. His intimate story about his mother must strike a cord in most of us who are told by society we should love our mother. (maybe she wasn't so loveable a lot of the time). The other stories are very entertaining, and informative; revealing what the psychiatrist is thinking about during and between sessions.

Yalom produces a surprisingly revealing account of therapy

Some of Yalom's previous writings (such as "Love's Executioner") led me to perceive him as a skilled, although somewhat narcissistic, therapist. But this recent volume changed my mind. Yalom provides an unusually revealing look into the mind of a therapist as he struggles to help his patients, while dealing with his own his mortality and losses. The chapter describing his work with a troubled but courageous young widow is particularly moving. The inclusion of fictional short stories (the last two chapters of the book) was interesting, but did not flow well with the other real-life vignettes. I recommend reading the first four chapters, putting the book aside for a couple of weeks, then finishing the the last two. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone interested in therapy, mortality, and the search for meaning in life.

More tales from master psychotherapist and storyteller Yalom

Not so long ago a paper was presented at a large psychological conference in America intriguingly entitled "Professors' office door decorations: what do they tell?" One wonders at the cryptic meanings to be read from the various brass, plastic, glass and wooden runes on professorial doors scattered across the land. Beyond door decorations, and into the seemingly mysterious world of human relations behind the therapy door, we are fortunate to have the doubly gifted storyteller and psychotherapist Irvin Yalom to let us in. His new book `Momma and the Meaning of Life' is a second collection of therapy tales which, I am glad to say, carry the same spellbinding quality, grasp and erudition as his first collection contained in `Love's Executioner'. For reader's unfamiliar to Yalom the pleasure of his writing is his darned ability to pull out sparkling insights from the darkest of places. Add to that a genius for telling stories and you are a little closer to understanding why this man's writing is so compelling. What is special about this book is that he reveals more about himself, through `Momma', than any of his other books. His mother and a dream are the start of a trail that criss-crosses his life.What about momma, what was she like? Yalom draws a picture of an ill tempered, overpowering and vain woman with whom he never remembers sharing `a warm moment'. But she's not all-bad. Yalom shares a moment of them together, a moment when she enjoying her son's books. Unable to read them because of a sight problem, she handles then tenderly and says, "Big books. Beautiful books". The rational son, on the other hand, points out that it is what is 'in' the books that is important not how they feel. "Oyvin, don't talk narishkeit - foolishness. Beautiful books!" This motherly sense and presence is a quality that returns in different shapes to all of the six tales in the book. The tales being: 'Momma and the Meaning of Life'; 'Travels with Paula': 'Southern Comfort'; 'Seven Advanced Lessons in the Therapy of Grief'; 'Double Exposure'; and 'The Hungarian Cat Curse'. All the tales have elements, in varying degrees, of non-fiction. Some like 'Southern Comfort' (my favourite), a story concerning a remarkable black woman in inpatient psychotherapy, are pure non-fiction `flecked only with fiction to conceal the patients' identity'. But, as the author also says, `not only does fiction have its own truth, but every story, no matter how "true," is a lie because it omits so much.' Yalom is both a storyteller and teacher. His `academic' books succeed, having sold in thousands and having been translated in some twenty languages, because they impart knowledge through stories. These stories engage us regardless of whether or not we are health professionals because the only qualification we need are that we are human. His other books, not so `Big books,' novels and collections of tales, like `Momma and the Meaning of Life', find more r

a rave

This book is a marvel of characterization and artful narrative. So many storytellers have as unconscious agenda the wish to make themselves and their characters likeable; Yalom is far beyond that. He has the gift of making them intensely interesting. The final story, The Hungarian Cat Curse, is an unbelievably skillful use of fiction to describe what an emotional healer does, what the practice demands of him. It's also deliciously successful on its face as story, rich and strange with a surreal mitteleeropean flavor. An unforgettable book, and one that no one without Yalom's unique combination of gifts could have written.

Immensely readable & deeply involving collection of stories

Once again I find myself deeply drawn to the stories of Irvin Yalom. For those unfamiliar with his work, he is one of the most pre-eminent psychotherapists living today, who has published several groundbreaking books on Group Psychotherapy and Existential Psychotherapy. But when he turned to writing his personal stories and then original fiction stories, as he does again in this book, any reader interested in therapy or dreams will find themselves involved in both an intellectual and intriguing way. His honest thoughts about his own patients, and the way he exposes his own vulnerabilites as a therapist are a fascinating method of exploring what actually goes on in the mental life of a therapist. And as any person who has ever been in therapy, or curious about the process of psychotherapy, one can become involved in both an intellectually satisfying and entertaining way as they read this collection of six stories. This is definitely one of the best books I have read which enters and then explores thelives and minds of a therapist and his patients.
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