Okay, so I didn’t actually meet him, but he did sign my book! Can you tell this was an exciting experience for me? He is something of a “celebrity therapist.”
Yesterday I attended the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists annual conference where Dr. Irvin Yalom was keynote speaker. Yalom has been a highly esteemed psychiatrist and psychotherapist in the Bay Area for over 40 years and has written 13 books and dozens of articles. His work has inspired countless people, including many therapists like myself.
Listening to Dr. Yalom speak reminded me of all the ways he has influenced my work as a therapist. I’ve read several of his books and my entire graduate course in group psychotherapy was based on his textbook on the subject. Without being fully aware of it, I’ve integrated many of his therapeutic philosophies into my own work. For instance, central to his work is the idea that it is the relationship between therapist and client that is ultimately the healing agent of therapy. My practice is grounded in that belief and it explains an emphasis on having unconditional positive regard for my clients. He also stresses the importance of using the client’s experience of the here and now, the present moment. This will sound familiar to my clients, whom I often ask, “But what are you feeling now, in this moment?”
“Meeting” Dr. Yalom was a thrilling experience for me and one I will forever remember. I plan on re-reading my favorite of his books, a newly signed copy of The Gift of Therapy, next week.
For more information on Dr. Irvin Yalom visit his website at: www.yalom.com