Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D.

American Existentialist Psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, Fiction and Nonfiction Author

Author Quotes

I wonder if you can ever be at home anywhere, because home is not a place - it's a state of mind. Being at home really is feeling at home in your own skin... Perhaps you have been searching for home in the wrong place all your life.

If you make a mistake, admit it. Any attempt at cover-up will ultimately backfire. At some level the patient will sense you are acting in bad faith, and therapy will suffer. Furthermore, an open admission of error is good model-setting for patients and another sign that they matter to you.

Life as a therapist is a life of service in which we daily transcend our personal wishes and turn our gaze toward the needs and growth of the other. We take pleasure not only in the growth of our patient but also in the ripple effect?the salutary influence our patients have upon those whom they touch in life.

Marriage shouldn?t be a prison, but a garden in which something higher is cultivated.

Nonetheless, the past is part of your present consciousness-it forms the spectacles through which you experience the present.

People usually love to say goodbye words to express who deny the continuity of the event. Separated from one another Auf Wiedersehen, i.e., until meet again, they say. The new plans come together in a hurry to act, but they are more quick to forget it. I'm not from these people. I prefer to tell the truth also true that we are more likely to be met.

Some people are wish-blocked, knowing neither what they feel nor what they want. Without opinions, without impulses, without inclinations, they become parasites on the desires of others.

That was the question. What was I looking at them? What was I missing? Did I have a good life? Who do I tell my life is being turned into an increasingly shrinking corridor in an irrevocable way back? I take torture, my sleepless night, flirting with suicide who could understand me?

The loss is beyond ownership.

The truth was that I had before me a very boring woman, and had to give her to understand in some acceptable manner. Could n 'denies responsibility for anything -for lack friends in her life, for the world is hard on people without a partner, for the horrors of life in proastia- but would not allow her to deny the responsibility that It made ??me bored. There dared spelled out the word boring - was too vague and digressive. I had to be accurate and constructive. I asked myself what was so boring with her, and picked out two very prominent features. First of all, never reveal anything strictly personal to herself. Second, blame this stupid giggle, her forced cheerfulness, the unwillingness to be severe, as befits the occasion. It would be difficult to the point of these features, without being hurt. I decided to follow a general strategy: my basic position would be that I want to come closer, but that its behavior with blocks. I thought how difficult would offend any criticism, if you deliver in this context. Only happy might have been that I wanted to get to know better. I decided to start with how little revealed about herself and, towards the end of the exceptionally hypnotic session, I took the risk.

To fully relate to another, one must first relate to oneself. If we cannot embrace our own aloneness, we will simply use the other as a shield against isolation.

What an existential approach is about is positing that our bad feelings, our dysphoria, our despair, our anxiety emanates not only from our own life history and all the traumas we may have had in the past, and not only from the figures that we have introjected ? many of these figures being unloving, or uncaring, or neurotic on their own parts ? and emanates not only from our current life crises, but it emanates also, also, from our confrontation with the existential facts of life, with our confrontation with the human condition.

Wish gives the warmth, the content, the imagination, the child's play, the freshness, and the richness to will. Will gives the self-direction, the maturity, to wish. Without wish, will Loses its life-blood, its viability, and Tends to expire in self-contradiction. If you have only will and no wish, you have the dried-up, Victorian, Neopuritan man. If you have only wish and no will, you have the driven, unfree, infantile person who, as an adult-remaining-an-infant, the robot may become Man.

I?m looking for me in you, that my hollowness makes it impossible to identify my needs and my desires,

I'm not ready for a committed relationship with anyone and that I have a ton of work to do on myself.

Life is a miserable thing. I have decided to spend my life thinking about it.

Mature love is loving, not being loved.

Not to take possession of your life plan is let your existence be an accident.

Perhaps the real therapy occurred at the deathbed scene, when they moved into honesty with the revelation that they were fellow travelers, both simply human, all too human.

Someday soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That's when I will be truly dead -- when I exist in no one's memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead.

The act of revealing oneself fully to another and still being accepted may be the major vehicle of therapeutic help.

The meaning of patient to remember! It means that we must against the beliefs of others, even if they are deemed to be patient irrational

The ultimate goal of therapy ... it's too hard a question. The words come to me like tranquility, like fulfillment, like realizing your potential. Things that Freud used to say; being able to work and to love, that's pretty good summary of it right there. But mainly it's this idea I tried to explain ... you have to develop a separate new therapy for every single patient. So for some patients the goal will be this and for some the goal will be that. For one patient I have now the goal really is for him to be able to discuss some of his vulnerabilities with his wife and then have a real relationship between the two of them.

To lose a parent or a close friend often equates to loss of the past: the man who died was perhaps the only other living witness of past happy events. But to lose a child means that you lose the future: what is lost is the entire plan of your life - what we live, how you project yourself in the future, how you hope they will transcend death (actually, the child becomes your view to immortality).

What has been given is a new perspective on living life, and what has been taken away is the illusion of limitless life and the belief in a personal specialness exempting us from natural law.

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Irvin D.
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American Existentialist Psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, Fiction and Nonfiction Author