Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous.
The first-generation child of immigrant Russian Jews, Yalom grew up in a lower-class neighbourhood in Washington DC. Determined to escape its confines, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. An incredible ascent followed: we witness his start at Stanford Medical School amid the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, his turn to writing fiction as a means of furthering his exploration of the human psyche and his rise to international prominence.
Yalom recounts his revolutionary work in group psychotherapy and how he became the foremost practitioner of existential psychotherapy, a method that draws on the wisdom of great thinkers over the ages. He reveals the inspiration for his many seminal books, including Love’s Executioner and When Nietzche Wept, which meld psychology and philosophy to arrive at arresting new insights into the human condition. Interweaving the stories of his most memorable patients with personal tales of love and regret, Becoming Myself brings readers close to Yalom’s therapeutic technique, his writing process and his family life.
In this, his final work, Yalom finds wisdom in a line from Charles Dickens: 'For, as I draw closer and closer to the end, I travel in the circle nearer and nearer to the beginning’. Following Yalom back to his beginnings is an invitation to travel nearer to our own, and the opportunity will stand as one of his most profound gifts.