Irvin Yalom

We discussed Yalom’s 11 therapeutic factors in class yesterday and it got me interested in his outlook in life and work.  I liked the quotes from him my classmate presented in class and proceeded to hunt him down.  Here are a few things I found over the internet.  I’ll be following his works for sure.

Quotes from the internet:

If Epicurus were speaking to you at this moment, he would urge you to simplify life. Here’s how he might put it if he were standing here today : “Lads, your needs are few, they are easily attained, and any necessary suffering can be easily tolerated.  Don’t complicate your life with such trivial goals as riches and fame: they are the enemy of ATARAXIA.  Fame, for example, consist of the opinions of
others and requires that we must live our life as others wish.  To achieve and maintain fame, we must like what others like and shun whatever it is that they shun.  Hence, a life of fame or a life in politics?  Flee from it.  And wealth?  Avoid it!  It is a trap.  The more we acquire the more we crave, and the deeper our sadness when our yearning is not satisfied. Lads, listen to me: If you crave happiness, do not waste your life struggling for that which you really do not need. ― Irvin D. YalomThe Spinoza Problem: A Novel

“Despair is the price one pays for self-awareness. Look deeply into life, and you’ll always find despair.”
― Irvin D. YalomWhen Nietzsche Wept

Quote I heard in class and really love:

Many clients who complain of meaninglessness are immersed in a morbid self-absorption, which takes the form of obsessive introspection or a teeth-gritting effort to actualize oneself.  I agree with Victor Frankl that 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.  A focus on life meaning and altruism are particularly important components of the group psychotherapies provided to patients coping with life-threatening medical illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.


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