Bookshelf Additions- Winter 2016

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The Gift of Therapy, Irvin Yalom

This is a re-read, and every time I read it I tell myself to revisit it the following year.  It’s an inspirational account of therapy and the therapeutic relationship.  I love this description of a patient of his, who happens to also be a therapist:

“Moreover she felt more confident that she had much to offer:  she had grown wise, she had learned how to live more keenly, and felt dedicated to sharing her wisdom.  But most striking was her willingness to remain in uncertainty, not only uncertainly in her own life, but uncertainly in the therapeutic process.  No longer did she feel pressed to search for explanations, to make connections, to summarize and tie things neatly together.  As she put it, she was more comfortable holding uncertainly and, liberated from the task of explanation, was more able to offer powerful presence to her clients.”

As I tell each person who comes through the door, it really does always come back to relationship.

Yalom also quotes some of his favorite authors and thinkers:

“Become who you are.” – Nietsche

“Have patience with everything unresolved and try to love the questions themselves.” –Rilke

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Drive, Daniel Pink

This was an interesting book about motivation.  My take-aways:

  • The old way of motivating people (carrots & sticks) can be effective for routine tasks that are boring and can be done autonomously, BUT they can crush creativity, extinguish intrinsic motivation, and encourage unethical behaviors and even addiction.
  • 3 things most important to motivation:
    1. Autonomy– Our default setting is to be autonomous and self-directed
    2. Mastery– Only engagement can produce mastery: becoming great at something that matters.  Mastery begins with “flow”- optimal experiences when the challenges we face are matched to our abilities.
    3. Purpose– Humans by their nature seek purpose- a cause greater and more enduring than themselves.