Speaking directly to the current generation of counselors, The Gift of Therapy lays out simple suggestions that blend personal experience with professional objectivity. This is a book that will remind you why you entered the field in the first place. With tips on avoiding diagnosis (except for insurance purposes), when to disclose personal information, and why it's important to leave time between patient appointments, the recommendations are aimed at therapists, but they may be useful to patients who want to know what to expect from their counselors. Some references to the DSM-IV may be a little over the laypersons head, but in general the writing is clear and understandable for lay readers as well as professionals. Each chapter is just a few pages long, a nice format for busy folks whose reading time occurs in snippets. A single topic is addressed in each chapter, and author Irvin Yalom doesn't waste any time in getting to the point. Many of the sections revolve around balancing the "magic, mystery, and authority" that come with the job of freeing your clients of their reliance on you. From when to offer an occasional hug to finding the perfect time for deeper questioning, Yalom's experienced observations will help you achieve even greater professional effectiveness while avoiding some of the more obvious traps in this HMO-directed age of mental health care. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
If the future of psychotherapy lies in psychopharmaceuticals and the short-term therapies stipulated by HMOs, argues Yalom, then the profession is in trouble. Yalom, the recipient of both major awards given by the American Psychiatric Association, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford and the author of both fiction and nonfiction volumes about psychotherapy, writes this book in response to that crisis. Based on knowledge gained from his 35 years of practice, the resulting book of tips (a "gift" for the next generation of therapists) is an enlightening refutation of "brief, superficial, and insubstantial" forms of therapy. Yalom, who references Rilke and Nietzsche as well as Freud's protege Karen Horney and the founder of client-centered therapy, Carl Rogers, describes therapy as "a genuine encounter with another person." He suggests that therapists avoid making DSM IV diagnoses (except for insurance purposes), since these "threaten the human, the spontaneous, the creative and uncertain nature of the therapeutic venture." He also encourages psychotherapists to use dream analysis, group therapy and, when appropriate, wholly inventive forms of treatment. Traditionalists will probably squirm at some of his suggestions (particularly "Revealing the Therapist's Personal Life" and "Don't Be Afraid of Touching Your Patient"). Other tips, though, such as "Never Be Sexual with Patients" are no-brainers. Although the book dies somewhat in the second half, and not much here is new, the wise ideas are perfectly accessible. (Jan.)Forecast: Yalom has explored many of these ideas before. His followers will certainly be charmed, and newcomers patients as much as therapists may be won over by his openness and tender tone.Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.