Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D.

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

Author Quotes

Life meaning is always a derivative phenomenon that materializes when we have transcended ourselves, when we have forgotten ourselves and become absorbed in someone (or something) outside ourselves.

Maybe you think the people you love. But to go deeper, if they like what you'll see at the end: You love the feeling created by this love inside you! We wish you love, not what is desired.

Of course I knew from the beginning that the sheer power of my arguments could not penetrate deeply enough to cause change. That almost never happens. Not for me did not work ever, as I was treated. Only when man felt the revelation deep in it, then only he holds. Only then one can act in accordance with it and to change. Lay psychologists always talk about 'responsibility', but all these are words: it is extremely difficult, even frightening, to have awareness that you and only you constructing the shot of your life. So the problem in therapy is always how to move from an inefficient mental evaluation of a truth about yourself at an emotional experience of it. Only when treatment causes deep feelings is a powerful force for change.

Philip Slate was so alienated from himself that he never thought to look within, preferring to skate on the surface of life and devote all his vital energy to fornication.

Sometimes I see so deeply the life that suddenly look around and see that nobody followed me my only companion is the time.

The capacity to tolerate uncertainty is a prerequisite... The powerful temptation to achieve certainty through embracing an ideological school and a tight therapeutic system is treacherous: such belief may block the uncertain and spontaneous encounter necessary for effective therapy? I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

The more unlived your life, the greater your death anxiety. The more you fail to experience your life fully, the more you will fear death.

Therapists need to have a long experience in personal therapy to see what it's like to be on the other side of the couch and see what they find helpful or not helpful. And if possible, get into therapy at different stages of their life with different kinds of therapists just to sample a bit.

To reveal? But if revealed herself, what would indicate? There was nothing inside. He was empty. (The word authorization would appear increasingly as progressed treatment. Psychological 'adeiosyni? is a concept that recurs when one sees patients with eating disorders.)

What? 'Borderline patients play games'? That what you said? Ernest, you'll never be a real therapist if you think like that. That's exactly what I meant earlier when I talked about the dangers of diagnosis. There are borderlines and there are borderlines. Labels do violence to people. You can't treat the label; you have to treat the person behind the label.

You will search the world over and not find a nonsuperstitious community. As long as there is ignorance, there will be adherence to superstition. Dispelling ignorance is the only solution. That is why I teach.

A person of high, rare mental gifts who is forced into a job which is merely useful is like a valuable vase decorated with the most beautiful painting and then used as a kitchen pot.

As long as he denies his own agency, real change is unlikely because his attention will be directed toward changing his environment rather than himself.

Could we foresee it, there are times when children might seem like innocent prisoners condemned not to death but to life and as yet all too unconscious of what their sentence means. Nevertheless every man desires to reach old age?a state of life of which it may be said it is bad today, and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens.

Dying loneliest, however, is the occurrence of life. We are not only by others separated, but in addition it also exposes us to an even more frightening kind of loneliness: it is a separation from the world itself.

For four years they had a wonderful relationship secret. (No great secret but wonderful secret because secrecy -and will soon say more onto self was the axis of his personality Dave around from which everything else revolved. Secrecy irritated him, fascinated him, and often cultivated at great personal cost. Many relations, especially relations with both former and the current wife, had warped and broken from its unwillingness to be open or straight about anything.)

He who would be everything cannot be anything.

A sense of life meaning ensues but cannot be deliberately pursued: life meaning is always a derivative phenomenon that materializes when we have transcended ourselves, when we have forgotten ourselves and become absorbed in someone (or something) outside ourselves.

As soon as we are born we begin to die.

Dark, you say? But ask yourself the doctor question: why all the great philosophers are they dark? Ask yourself who are the people satisfied, reassured and happy forever! Let me give you the answer: it is those who have poor eyesight - the populace and children!

Each item of your house harbored memories of which she was the sole owner. She told me that all instruments would be distributed to foreigners who would never know their stories or appreciate like it. And one day, his own death fade, finally, all the rich embedded memories on harpsichord, the cello, flutes, piccolos and in many other instruments. His past would perish along with it? Now she really knew who was also transient, just passing the house, as well as all previous residents. And the house was also temporary and would disappear someday to make way for another in the grounds. The process of giving up their property and moving was a revealing experience for Alice, who had always housed in comfortable and nurturing illusion of a richly furnished and carpeted life. Now she learned that the luxury of worldly possessions had protected the sterility of existence.

Fortified in an elaborate illusion of unlimited power and progress, each of us subscribes, at least until mid-life crisis, the belief that there is an eternal upward achievements spiral, which only depends on our will.

Heidegger makes the distinction between being absorbed in the way things are in the world and being aware that things are in the world. And if you do the latter, you're not so worried about the everyday trivialities of life, for example, petty concerns about secrecy or privacy.

Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said that if he had eight hours to cut down a tree, he?d spend several of these hours sharpening his ax.

As we reach the crest of life and look at the path before us, we apprehend that the path no longer ascends but slopes downward toward decline and diminishment. From that point on, concerns about death are never far from mind.

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