At 74, Yalom has penned a book that is the climax of his lifework, focusing on the universal human issues of mortality and death. He suggests that what he calls the "awakening experience" can help us acknowledge, accept, and utilize our fear of death in a very positive manner. Such an awakening experience can be as simple as a dream, or quick as a sudden insight. It is often a loss, a trauma, or just plain aging that can prompt an awakening experience that is a turning point for a more meaningful life. He discusses how people can make lasting changes in their lives, rearrange their priorities, communicate more deeply with those they love, eliminate interpersonal fears of rejection, and increase a willingness to take risks for personal fulfillment and a life filled with love.
©2009 Irvin D. Yalom; (P)2009 BBC Audio
Let me start by saying that the title of this book and the publisher's summary makes it seem that it will be dark and scary territory. While there is an open discussion about fear, anxiety and death the book is very positive and life affirming.
Yalom offers a balanced, insightful and humane approach. More importantly his long career as a therapist and a professor/trainer of other therapists brings into play a rich background of actual experience. I really enjoyed the case study approach of this book. To me, hearing about the concerns and struggles of real people takes the material out of theory and makes it both tangible and useable.
Recommended if you are a therapist or are interested in working with panic and anxiety issues on a personal level. Fascinating and engaging concepts to assist in focusing on living life fully not fearfully.
This book is awesomely thought provoking and is greet for all aspiring counselors and therapists or anyone looking at working in the helping profession with those facing end of life and those who are grieving
This was a good book, but not as good as I was expecting from Dr. Yalom on the subject. I've enjoyed many of his other books more and felt like I got more from them. My real complaint was with the reader. I felt the accents he assumed for patients sounded silly and were distracting. Also, the voice inflection he gave Dr. Yalom as therapist sounded patronizing and insincere.
While another excellent book by Irvin Yalom, Staring at the Sun, falls short of maintaining the same momentum as other texts by Yalom like The Gift of Therapy, Love's Executioner, and Creatures of a Day. A useful tool for therapists and counselors, the book presents and engaging and thought provoking discussion about the death that does not allow you to look away from the sun.
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