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Why ‘The Gift of Therapy’ is a great read for all

Dr Courtney Raspin shares with Christine Manby a book that never fails to provide new insights

Sunday 22 November 2020 16:18
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<p>The book takes inspiration from Irvin D Yalom’s four-decade career as a therapist</p>

The book takes inspiration from Irvin D Yalom’s four-decade career as a therapist

In some ways, it was inevitable that psychologist Dr Courtney Raspin would decide to devote her career to mental health. Her mother, Dr Toni Grant, is said to have been the inspiration for the sitcom Frasier. Her sister is a psychiatrist. Dr Raspin, in turn, is the founder of Altum Health, a practice specialising in the treatment of eating disorders and body image difficulties. But, while she has plenty of family support for her endeavours, the book to which Dr Raspin turns again and again is The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Dr Irvin D Yalom.

First published in 2001, The Gift of Therapy takes inspiration from Dr Yalom’s four-decade long career as a therapist, using real life case studies to show how to get the most out of therapy. The book is aimed not only at professional therapists but at their clients. The material is presented in chapters devised as short lessons for a therapist just starting out. It’s a format that Dr Raspin says makes it “great toilet reading”.

“I read Yalom’s book when I was training,” she says, “and thought to myself, ‘this is the kind of therapist I want to be’. I advise the student therapists I supervise to read it and I reread it all the time. There’s always something new. I’m on a professional journey to continue becoming that therapist. I am where I need to be but there’s always somewhere to go.”

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