Penny Brohn UK

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Book review: Staring at the Sun

‘Staring at the sun’ is a non-fiction book, written by renowned American existential Psychotherapist, Dr Irvin Yalom.

Yalom sets out to explore the subject that many of us shun; ‘the dread of death’, and how one can best overcome this fear.

He advocates the existentialist approach as the most effective psychotherapy tool for overcoming death anxiety; the anxiety which he argues is at the root of all our fears. He summarises existential psychotherapy, as focusing on issues related to our existence; ‘we humans are the only creatures for whom our existence is the problem’.

Yalom states that humans are ‘hardwired to connect with others’, making death the loneliest event, as it separates us from others and from the world itself.

Yalom writes with warmth and benevolence; making complex philosophical and psychological ideas easily accessible, communicating his beliefs with clarity and humanity. He supports his clinical findings with wide reference to the arts and to nature, giving the sense that the book is written from the heart, and in some way has fulfilled a personal as well as a professional objective.

I would recommend ‘Staring at the Sun’, not only as a valuable starting point to those with a fear of death, or indeed those faced with imminent death, but also to those who are willing to explore the subject of death as an awakening experience, to add new quality to their daily existence.

Written by Janey Barrett, Core Therapist

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