Author(s): Irvin D. Yalom
Julius Hertzfeld is a distinguished psychotherapist when a sudden confrontation with his own mortality forces him to re-examine his life and work. Has he really made an enduring difference to the lives of his patients? And what about those he's failed - what has happened to them?
His attempt to make sense of the past places him on a collision course with former patient Philip Slate a handsome but arrogant and misanthropic sex addict whom he had treated, unsuccessfully, 23 years before.In a profound challenge to Julius's professional status, Philip claims to have cured himself by reading the works of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Furthermore, he has become a philosophical counsellor, and asks Julius to act as his professional supervisor in order to obtain a license to practise.
Reluctantly, Julius agrees, and they strike a Faustian bargain - one which threatens to undermine his career and the well-being of his patients, but also brings with it the potential for extraordinary personal change through a unique combination of psychotherapy and philosophy.
Irvin D. Yalom is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. The author of the definitive textbook The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, which has sold 700,000 copies in eighteen languages and is now in its fifth edition, he also wrote Existential Psychotherapy, a textbook for a course that did not exist at the time. Dr Yalom has written several trade books for the general reader, including a collection of therapy tales, Love’s Executioner, which was a New York Times best seller; the novels When Nietzsche Wept, also a best seller in the United States, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, and Germany (where it sold more than a million copies); Momma and the Meaning of Life, a collection of true and fictionalised tales of therapy; The Gift of Therapy and The Schopenhauer Cure. Dr Yalom has an active but part-time private practice in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California.