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

— Irvin D. Yalom

The most competitive Irvin D. Yalom quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

Only the wounded healer can truly heal. (97)

65

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.

64

Live your life to the fullest; and then, and only then, die. Don't leave any unlived life behind.

52

Life is a spark between two identical voids, the darkness before birth and the one after death.

46

Despair is the price one pays for self-awareness.

Look deeply into life, and you'll always find despair.

43

The spirit of a man is constructed out of his choices.

35

The death anxiety of many people is fueled .

.. by disappointment at never having fulfilled their potential. Many people are in despair because their dreams didn't come true, and they despair even more that they did not make them come true. A focus on this deep dissatisfaction is often the starting point in overcoming death anxiety.

35

I think we ripple on into others, just like a stone puts its ripples into a brook. That, for me, too, is a source of comfort. It kind of, in a sense, negates the sense of total oblivion. Some piece of ourselves, not necessarily our consciousness, but some piece of ourselves gets passed on and on and on.

23

If one is to love oneself one must behave in ways that one can admire.

11

Death anxiety is the mother of all religions, which, in one way or another, attempt to temper the anguish of our finitude.

11

Psychiatry is a strange field because, unlike any other field of medicine, you never really finish. Your greatest instrument is you, yourself, and the work of self-understanding is endless. I'm still learning.

11

Perhaps the single most important therapeutic credo that I have is that the unexamined life is not worth living.

11

About Irvin D. Yalom

Quotes 72 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday June 13, 1931

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.

10

Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death may save us.

9

It is wrong to bear children out of need, wrong to use a child to alleviate loneliness, wrong to provide purpose in life by reproducing another copy of oneself. It is wrong also to seek immortality by spewing one's germ into the future as though sperm contains your consciousness!

9

Marriage and its entourage of possession and jealousy enslave the spirit.

9

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

8

Psychotherapy is a cyclical process from isolation into relationship.

It is cyclical because the patient, in terror of existential isolation, relates deeply and meaningfully to the therapist and then, strengthened by this encounter, is led back again to a confrontation with existential isolation.

7

I think my quarry is illusion. I war against magic. I believe that, though illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and invariably weakens and constricts the spirit.

4

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.

4

Absolute power, as we have always known, corrupts absolutely;

it corrupts because it does not do the trick for the individual. Reality always creeps in--the reality of our helplessness and our mortality; the reality that, despite our reach for the stars, a creaturely fate awaits us.

3

If we look at life in its small details, how ridiculous it all seems.

It is like a drop of water seen through a microscope, a single drop teeming with protozoa. How we laugh as they bustle about so eagerly and struggle with one another. Whether here, or in the little span of human life, this terrible activity produces a comic effect

3

Death, however, does itch. It itches all the time. It is always with us, scratching at some inner door. Mirroring, softly, barely audibly, just under the membrane of consciousness. Hidden in disguise, leaking out in a variety of symptoms. It is the wellspring of many of our worries, stresses, and conflicts.

3

I don't let any personal views about religion cause me to want to take away something that's offering the patient comfort. I never want to take away something when I don't have anything better to offer him in a way.

3

Were not teaching our students the importance of relationships with other people: how you work with them, what the relational pathology consists of, how you examine your own conscience, how you examine the inner world, how you examine your dreams.

2

Religion has everything on its side: revelation, prophecies, government protection, the highest dignity and eminence. . . and more than this, the invaluable prerogative of being allowed to imprint its doctrines on the mind at a tender age of childhood, whereby they become almost innate ideas.

1

To love means to be actively concerned for the life and the growth of another.

0

Love is not just a passion spark between two people;

there is infinite difference between falling in love and standing in love. Rather, love is a way of being, a "giving to," not a 'falling for"; a mode of relating at large, not an act limited to a single person.

0

When people don't have any curiosity about themselves, that is always a bad sign.

0

Living safely is dangerous.

0

The more unlived your life, the greater your death anxiety.

0

Despite the staunchest, most venerable defenses, we can never completely subdue death anxiety: it is always there, lurking in some hidden ravine of the mind.

0

One doesn't do existential therapy as a freestanding separate theory;

rather it informs your approach to such issues as death, which many therapists tend to shy away from.

0

One reason patients are reluctant to work in a therapy group is they fear that things will go too far, that the powerful therapist or the collective group might coerce them to lose control--to say or think or feel things that will be catastrophic. The therapist can make the group feel safer by allowing each patient to set his or her limits and by emphasizing the patient's control over every interaction.

0

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.

0

To the best of my knowledge, every acute inpatient ward offers some inpatient group therapy experience. Indeed, the evidence supporting the efficacy of group therapy, and the prevailing sentiment of the mental health profession, are sufficiently strong that it would be difficult to defend the adequacy of the inpatient unit that attempted to operate without a small group program.

0

If you want to choose the pleasure of growth, prepare yourself for some pain.

0

To care of another individual means to know and to experience the other as fully as possible.

0

Death cures psychoneurosis. In a sense all these neurotic concerns--fear of rejection, interpersonal concerns--seem to melt away, and people get another perspective on their lives. The important things are really important, and the trivia of life is trivialized.

0

To the extent that one is responsible for one's life, one is alone.

0

One comprehends oneself in order not to be preoccupied with oneself.

0

Mature love is loving, not being loved.

0

Does a being who requires meaning find meaning in a universe that has no meaning?

0

A curious thought experiment. . . Nietzsche's message to us was to live life in such a way that we would be willing to repeat the same life eternally

0

Every person must choose how much truth he can stand.

0

If I had to pick out a therapist in a movie that I'd like to go see as a personal therapist, it would be Robin Williams in Goodwill Hunting.

0

It's not easy to live every moment wholly aware of death.

It's like trying to stare the sun in the face: you can stand only so much of it. Because we cannot live frozen in fear, we generate methods to soften death's terror. We project ourselves into the future through our children; we grow rich, famous, ever larger; we develop compulsive protective rituals; or we embrace an impregnable belief in an ultimate rescuer.

0

Never take away anything if you have nothing better to offer

0

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.

0
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