10 books like Becoming Myself

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Becoming Myself. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Gift of Therapy

By Irvin D. Yalom,

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

Probably the best place to start with Yalom, this book is a must-read for therapists, and I recommend it regularly to anyone getting started in the business, or even contemplating pursuing a career in psychotherapy. The hardest guide to write about psychotherapy is the book about “technique” - not the highfalutin theory laced with opaque language book, but the hands-on, “this is what you say when someone says this” or “here's what you can do when you run into someone in this sort of situation” book.  This is that book, and only Yalom, with his immense experience and humility, could pull off this slender guide, packed with the wisdom of decades of working, alone, in a room with another human being in pain.  I return to this book regularly and always find something new and useful in his words.

The Gift of Therapy

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gift of Therapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Gift of Therapy is the new book from the bestselling author of Love's Executioner. The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr Irvin Yalom's forty-five years' work as a therapist, this book illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. Presented as eighty-five 'tips' for 'beginner therapists', Yalom shares his own fresh approach and the insights he has gained while treating his patients. Personal, and sometimes provocative, Yalom includes some unorthodox suggestions: - Let the patient matter to you - Acknowledge your errors - Create a new therapy for each patient -…


The Schopenhauer Cure

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Book cover of The Schopenhauer Cure

Dr. Irvin Yalom is a writer and clinical practitioner who is beloved by many in the field of mental health and therapy. I, like many, admire the way in which he tackles the most difficult human dilemmas through intimate stories highlighting the universality of many of these topics. It was difficult for me to pick which of Dr. Yalom’s books to recommend, as I have thoroughly enjoyed each one I’ve read. However, The Schopenhauer Cure is particularly about confronting mortality—the realization of the ephemerality of life and the limitations and acceptance of what we can achieve. Through Dr. Yalom’s adroit depictions of Philip Slate and Julius Hertzfeld, we see the blurred edges of philosophy and psychology, where some of our most basic questions may best be addressed by the melding of the two.

The Schopenhauer Cure

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Schopenhauer Cure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the internationally bestselling author of Love's Executioner and When Nietzsche Wept, comes a novel of group therapy with a cast of memorably wounded characters struggling to heal pain and change lives

Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine checkup, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work -- and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured -- miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer -- and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training.

Philip's…


Momma and the Meaning of Life

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Book cover of Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy

I love Yalom's books of what might, in lesser hands, be termed “case studies.” I say that because Yalom is constantly writing about his work with his patients, but they never feel like a “case study” - something plodding and formulaic and one-sided. In Yalom's hands the case studies are never mere discussions of the pathologies of his patient, but rise into a magical interplay between two equals, two human beings yearning for a way to connect and heal through authentic presence, honesty, and love. If there is “classic Yalom” it is probably these books. Creatures of a Day and Loves Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy are superb as well, and frankly, I tend to think of them all as parts of a whole, one big book of Yalom's shorter pieces in which he explores his work one-on-one with the hurting human beings who show up at his door.

Momma and the Meaning of Life

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Momma and the Meaning of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using the medium of six case studies, Dr Irvin Yalom reveals the intricacies of pyschological landscapes and the unique dynamics of clients and therapists.


A Matter of Death and Life

By Irvin D. Yalom, Marilyn Yalom,

Book cover of A Matter of Death and Life

A Matter of Life and Death is a deeply personal double memoir, written in alternating chapters by a long-married couple in their late 80s. Irvin Yalom is a psychiatrist and well-respected novelist; Marilyn Yalom, diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2019, was a professor of literature and women's studies. Emotionally intelligent and unusually articulate, the couple was married for 65 years. Though plodding at times, they document in detail the last year of Marilyn's life, from diagnosis to experimental treatment to hospice to physician-assisted death. It is written as a testament as well as a guide.

A Matter of Death and Life

By Irvin D. Yalom, Marilyn Yalom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Matter of Death and Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A year-long journey by the renowned psychiatrist and his writer wife after her terminal diagnosis, as they reflect on how to love and live without regret.

Internationally acclaimed psychiatrist and author Irvin Yalom devoted his career to counseling those suffering from anxiety and grief. But never had he faced the need to counsel himself until his wife, esteemed feminist author Marilyn Yalom, was diagnosed with cancer. In A Matter of Death and Life, Marilyn and Irv share how they took on profound new struggles: Marilyn to die a good death, Irv to live on without her.

In alternating accounts of…


A Guide to Rational Living

By Albert Ellis,

Book cover of A Guide to Rational Living

Does your happiness depend on the opinion and good will of others? Or can you live a happy and fulfilled life even if others disapprove of you? Do events make you happy or sad, or do your emotions arise because of your thinking—whether rational or irrational? These are the central questions that psychologists Albert Ellis and Robert Harper address in this timeless classic of self-growth and self-care. The authors explicitly draw on the Stoic philosophers, including Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, as forerunners of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Of all the books on the subject of living happily, creatively, and meaningfully, this one is near the top of my list.

A Guide to Rational Living

By Albert Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guide to Rational Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Direct, get-to-the-heart-of-the-problem methods to teach you what you do to needless upset yourself and make yourself emotionally stronger by the creators of the most popular forms of therapy in the world.

From the foreword by publisher Melvin Powers:
Years ago, after two decades of burning the midnight oil, reading manuscripts which professed to have all the virtues this one actually possesses, I found the original New Guide to Rational Living—a gem that has become a classic in the field of psychology.

Since then, I am delighted to say, I have sold 1.5 million copies of this book in previous editions.…


The Other Side of Silence

By Linda Gask,

Book cover of The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression

This book is a beautiful, inspiring weaving tale of a psychiatrist who has recurrent depression and has worked with people with depression. She doesn’t disguise how hard depression is, she doesn’t patronise, she explains depression from her personal point of view, explores what happened in her childhood, and explains a clinician’s point of view of depression. 

It’s embedded with bucket loads of empathy, compassion, and hope. You hear about the patients she’s helped and you come out feeling humbled and grateful for her telling her story. Very useful for professionals working in psychiatry and mental health but equally useful for those of us with this terrible illness.

The Other Side of Silence

By Linda Gask,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Side of Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.'

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Having spent her life trying to patch up the souls of others, psychiatrist Linda Gask came to realise that being an expert in depression didn't confer any immunity from it - she had to learn take care of herself, too. Artfully crafted and told with warmth and honesty, this is the story of Linda's journey, interwoven…


Depressive Illness

By Tim Cantopher,

Book cover of Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

This book saved my life. And no, I’m not exaggerating. I read it at the peak of my depression when I’d lost all hope and my emotional pain was at its peak. I spent the whole time going ‘Yes! That’s me, that’s happening to me! Thank god someone understands’. 

It is short, so that you can actually finish it. This is SO important when your concentration has evaporated due to depression. It’s written by a psychiatrist who understands what your brain is doing but also, crucially, tells you what to do and emphasises how serious this illness is.

Depressive Illness

By Tim Cantopher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Depressive Illness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'People affected by depression tell me this is the most powerful and helpful book ever written on the topic. I keep meeting people who say this book changed their lives.' - Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2

Do you have depression?
Firstly, stop blaming yourself.
Secondly, don't struggle on alone - read this book instead. It has helped thousands of people just like you.

Dr Tim Cantopher knows two essential truths about depression and depressive illness.

One: it's strong people who are most vulnerable to it; people whose standards are high, whose ethics are powerful, who want their lives to be…


The Transforming Power of Affect

By Diana Fosha,

Book cover of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change

Before I learned about emotions, I believed my anxiety and depression had to be managed but could not be healed at the root. Learning that emotions were not under conscious control and that they were physical experiences that had purpose and meaning changed the way I understood myself for the better. It changed my mental health permanently and in the best ways. It gave me permission to be more authentic. I felt less ashamed of my feelings and more confident that I could help myself and be better in relationships.

The Transforming Power of Affect

By Diana Fosha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Transforming Power of Affect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first model of accelerated psychodynamic therapy to make the theoretical why as important as the formula for how, Fosha's original technique for catalyzing change mandates explicit empathy and radical engagement by the therapist to elicit and harness the patient's own healing affects. Its wide-open window on contemporary relational and attachment theory ushers in a safe, emotionally intense, experience-based pathway for processing previously unbearable feelings. This is a rich fusion of intellectual rigor, clinical passion, and practical moment-by-moment interventions.


How to Change Your Mind

By Michael Pollan,

Book cover of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Many people will talk about Michael Pollan’s ideas, but not actually read his books. This goes for people who have read interviews with him or articles by him, and a whole cadre of young men in business who listen to podcasts at twice the recorded speed. They will tell you they don’t have time to read his big books, and they got the ideas from these interviews, but they are wrong. Michael Pollan is many things. An amazing thinker. A prescient analyst of unfolding future trends (invest in whatever he’s writing about). A keen observer of science, and a talented journalist. But more than anything, the man is just a baller of a writer, and his books are a master class in how topical non-fiction should be done.

This book is incredibly challenging. There are dense pages of neuroscience, and long passages about chemistry and the brain that had me…

How to Change Your Mind

By Michael Pollan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Change Your Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now on Netflix as a 4-part documentary series!

"Pollan keeps you turning the pages . . . cleareyed and assured." -New York Times

A #1 New York Times Bestseller, New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2018, and New York Times Notable Book

A brilliant and brave investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs--and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such…


Existential Psychotherapy

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Book cover of Existential Psychotherapy

This is a psychology book, maybe not what some would consider about “behavior,” and it’s a fairly heavy and dense one. But I feel I must include it as it has helped me understand human mental struggles more than any other book I’ve read. And a key part of understanding human behavior, especially the broader societal and political aspects, is understanding those dark, often under-the-surface struggles that we all deal with. It is the wisest book I’ve ever read, and I have bought it for many people. Yalom has become a sort of secular guru for me. It is that good.

Existential Psychotherapy

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Existential Psychotherapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Existential therapy has been practiced and continues to be practiced in many forms and situations throughout the world. But until now, it has lacked a coherent structure, and analysis of its tenets, and an evaluation of its usefulness. Irvin Yalom, whose Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy has rendered such a service to that discipline since 1970, provides existential psychotherapy with a background, a synthesis, and a framework.Organized around what Yalom identifies as the four ultimate concerns of life",death, freedom, existential isolation, and meaninglessness,the book takes up the meaning of each existential concern and the type of conflict that springs…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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