The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients

Author: Irvin Yalom


Official Description: The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s more than thirty-five years in clinical practice, The Gift of Therapy is a remarkable and essential guidebook that illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. The bestselling author of Love’s Executioner shares his uniquely fresh approach and the valuable insights he has gained—presented as eighty-five personal and provocative “tips for beginner therapists,” including:

  • Let the patient matter to you
  • Acknowledge your errors
  • Create a new therapy for each patient
  • Do home visits
  • (Almost) never make decisions for the patient
  • Freud was not always wrong

A book aimed at enriching the therapeutic process for a new generation of patients and counselors, Yalom’s Gift of Therapy is an entertaining, informative, and insightful read for anyone with an interest in the subject.


Why I recommend it: This book was recommended to me by a mentor when I was a new therapist. This book helped in forming my understanding of the therapeutic process and how to best show up for my clients. It can also be read as a patient or lay person as a way to learn how to improve relationships, self-reflect, and relate to others with humility.


My favorite quote from the book: “The establishment of an authentic relationship with patients, by its very nature, demands that we forego the power of the triumvirate of magic, mystery, and authority.”