Creatures of a Day : And Other Tales of Psychotherapy
In this stunning collection of stories, renowned psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom describes his patients' struggles--as well as his own--to come to terms with the two great challenges of existence: how to have a meaningful life yet reckon with its inevitable end. We meet a nurse who must stifle the pain of losing her son in order to comfort her patients' pains, a newly minted psychologist whose studies damage her treasured memories of a lost friend, and a man whose rejection of psychological inquiry forces even Yalom himself into a crisis of confidence. Creatures of a Day is a radically honest statement about the difficulties of human life, but also a celebration of some of the finest fruits--love, family, friendship--it can offer. Marcus Aurelius has written that "we are all creatures of a day." With Yalom as our guide, we will find the means to make our own day not only bearable, but also meaningful and joyful.
- Paperback | 240 pages
- 140 x 205 x 16mm | 254g
- 15 Mar 2016
- INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
- BASIC BOOKS
- New York, United States
"[A] collection of insightful case studies that read like life-affirming short stories. It's a must-read for human psyche buffs." --Express in the UK, one of the best books of 2015 "With every page come new introspections, each retelling reveals more of Yalom's genius therapy techniques and of the human capacity for mental healing and growth...The book as a whole is simultaneously quite intellectual and astoundingly accessible." --San Francisco Book Review "[A] highly engaging book... Whether Yalom has figured out how therapy works will probably be less important to most readers than his brilliant writing, deep insight, and candid sharing of occasional clinical errors. As he's done in popular offerings such as Love's Executioner..., the author employs colorful prose and a practiced eye to make each client full blooded... By sharing his fascinating interior monologues from the clinical hour, Yalom also offers a master class in how to do good therapy. This is one of those rare books of equal interest to beginning therapists, advanced practitioners, and nonprofessionals curious to learn what goes on behind closed doors in the sanctity of the therapy chamber." --PsycCRITIQUES "Creatures of a Day is a series of moving, if partly fictionalized, tales illuminating Yalom's hand-crafted approach to treating grief, loss, regret and, above all, encroaching mortality... [Yalom] is a student of the human condition whose literary, as well as therapeutic, voice mixes wonder and humility." --Boston Globe "[Creatures of a Day is] a book that circles around the crisis of our mortality and finds redemption in our capacity for growth, in love and in language... [Yalom] tempers his admissions of his shortcomings with a confident narrative voice and a generous attitude toward both himself and his patients." --Palo Alto Weekly "Like Love's Executioner, which established Yalom's preeminence as a storyteller illuminating the drama of existential therapy, Creatures of a Day is funny, earthy, and often shocking; it is a radically honest statement about the difficulties of human life, but also a celebration of some of the finest fruits -- love, family, friendship -- that life can bear. We are all creatures of a day. With Yalom as a guide, we can find in this book the means not just to make our own day bearable, but meaningful -- and perhaps even joyful." --Between the Covers blog "In a profession that exists exclusively behind closed doors, it's rare and precious to get a real peek through the window to witness the raw power of the therapeutic process... This book is the best of its kind I've read to date, offering a tender and credible look behind the curtain, through a powerful series of vignettes." --Miranda Palmer, PsychCentral "Creatures of a Day serves as something of a companion volume to Love's Executioner, again offering 10 revealing and creatively crafted clinical case studies of real people... Throughout, Yalom is wise and well-read, citing passages from Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marcus Aurelius, Yeats and Greek mythology... Through Yalom's gentle wisdom, expertise and leading -- coupled with dream recognition and patients taking him through the minutiae of a day in their lives -- bonding and healing occurs... [He] welcomes each new case and patient dilemma with an analytical mind, personal empathy and an innate curiosity that drives and shapes the two-person narrative dramas that fill this book." --Kathleen Gerard, Shelf Awareness "Novelist and psychiatrist Yalom offers 10 tales from his clients that illuminate the gifts of psychotherapy, particularly the hopeful lessons one can glean from it in the context of aging and death... [He] has genuinely inspiring insights to share about the value of therapy... The stories Yalom offers of his patients' failures and triumphs are frequently moving and will invoke the reader's empathy." --Publisher's Weekly "Poignant and beautiful insights from a wise therapist looking back on a career, a therapist who happens to be a writer I greatly admire -- Creatures of a Day is just what the Doctor ordered!" --Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone "In Love's Executioner, Irv Yalom invented a new literary genre: narratives of psychotherapy with the pathos of great fiction and the insight of great essays. For those of us who learned so much about human nature and the human condition from Yalom, the publication of Creatures of a Day is a reason to celebrate." --Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Sense of Style "Personal, honest, sensitive, and respectful, Yalom, now in his 80s, describes frustration and mistakes amid much success. His combination of confidence and humility shows how these qualities work in psychotherapy -- a process too often burdened with theory and/or mystique... This book will inspire therapists at any stage along with lay readers intrigued by the psyche, relationships, and the possibilities of change." --Library Journal (starred review) "[Yalom] writes amiably, certainly sympathetically, and always wisely from his point of view as an octogenarian therapist who has seen it all -- well, maybe almost all -- and who has some useful thoughts about the mysteries of the mind... [He] offers plenty of pointers for up-and-coming therapists and does so without staking out ideological territory in the ongoing battles among post-Freudians, post-Jungians, and post-everyone-elsians. A humane, highly knowledgeable glimpse of the therapist's couch." --Kirkus Reviews "Reading these tales is like having a quiet chat with someone who has had a very interesting day. There is no scholarly effort needed; the stories speak for themselves. They also offer a dividend -- greater insight into life in general and perhaps a situation in particular, with some pretty vivid characters along for the journey." --Buffalo News "Yalom keeps the reader enticed with personal narratives that are concise, profound and well-woven into his overarching theme... Rather than adopting a fatalistic view of the inevitable, Creatures of a Day embraces the power of human resilience. And by demonstrating the capacity to repair and better ourselves through an authentic healing relationship, this book presents us with a remedy more powerful than any fad or pill could promise." --Washington Post "Irvin Yalom has, over the last 40 years, become a master of the art of psychotherapy storytelling. To his latest collection of clinical tales, Creatures of a Day, Dr. Yalom has brought his characteristic warmth and wisdom, but there is something new here as well: urgency... The result is a collection of tightly written and deeply moving testaments to the brevity of life and the existential imperative to live it well." --New York Journal of Books "Yalom is a magisterial writer, of both novels and psychological nonfiction. And he has done it again in this well-crafted, beautifully written, and thoughtful compilation of 10 different case studies of patients dealing with their anxieties about death, loss, and the passage of time, all highlighting the importance of coming to grips with our brief span of life in the psychiatric therapeutic encounter... This is an erudite book, profound yet straightforwardly conceived and captivatingly executed." --American Journal of Psychiatry "[A] poignant and bracing collection of stories based on [Yalom's] therapeutic work. Yalom, a published novelist with decades of clinical experience, offers vivid and generous descriptions of patients brought face-to-face with their mortality... Watching 'Irv,' as his patients call him, convince patients to unpack their baggage is the chief pleasure of this book. He is overtly kind, sympathetic, and generous, but subtly merciless." --Los Angeles Review of Books "[A] stunning collection of essays chronicling [Yalom's] years as a therapist." --Salon "Yalom presents case histories like puzzles needing to be solved, stories in which Detective Yalom reveals his methodology while highlighting the sometimes frustrating yet ultimately fascinating uncertainties of his profession... [T]his is a wizard who pulls back his own curtain, allowing readers an intimate behind-the-scenes view of the elusive therapeutic process." --Barnes & Noble Review "A quarter of a century ago, I wrote a review in the Tribune of Yalom's first book for the general public, Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy, a similar collection of case studies. What struck me then and what strikes me now with his latest book is Yalom's willingness to expose his flaws and failures... Just as Yalom's description of the hard-working but flawed therapist rings true, so do his descriptions of his patients and their struggles, especially their struggles with the reality of death... Yalom sees the therapist as a poet. He sees therapy as an art. And he sees his clients as fellow poets, working the high wire, alone and with him. In their sessions, he and they are alive to the moment -- or trying to be. And that's what life is, isn't it?" --Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune "Irvin Yalom has produced a book of such piercing depth that to enter into it is transformative. You feel less like you are reading Creatures of a Day than that it is reading you. Only a handful of books can accomplish such a feat. Give praise that one more has entered this rare and precious list." --Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, MacArthur Fellow and author of Plato at the Googleplex and Betraying Spinoza "I've been a deep admirer of Irvin D. Yalom's writing -- in fiction and nonfiction -- for many years. In Creatures of a Day, he brings together his profound sense of human suffering and joy with a novelist's eye for detail, for narrative moment. These tales of therapy ring with truth, inviting us to consider the most pressing (moral, spiritual) questions with awe, with hope for transformation. A moving and original work." --Jay Parini, author of The Last Station "These individual accounts of emotional challenges and resolutions shine a brilliant light on what it means to be human and to need help. Together they disprove the book's title in a glorious way: they are a permanent beacon of sanity and compassion and thus transcend the very fact of mortality that they often concern." --Daniel Menaker, author of The Treatment and My Mistake: A Memoir
About Irvin D. Yalom
Dr Irvin Yalom is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University. He has won two major awards from the American Psychiatric Association. He continues to run his clinical practice and lectures widely.