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If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him: The Pilgrimage Of Psychotherapy Patients

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Therapists do not and cannot give answers. Explore the true nature of the therapeutic relationship, and realize that the guru is no Buddha. He is just another human struggling. Understanding the shape of your own personal ills will lead you on your journey to recovery. Sheldon Kopp has a realistic approach to altering one's destiny and accepting the responsibility that gro Therapists do not and cannot give answers. Explore the true nature of the therapeutic relationship, and realize that the guru is no Buddha. He is just another human struggling. Understanding the shape of your own personal ills will lead you on your journey to recovery. Sheldon Kopp has a realistic approach to altering one's destiny and accepting the responsibility that grows with freedom.


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Therapists do not and cannot give answers. Explore the true nature of the therapeutic relationship, and realize that the guru is no Buddha. He is just another human struggling. Understanding the shape of your own personal ills will lead you on your journey to recovery. Sheldon Kopp has a realistic approach to altering one's destiny and accepting the responsibility that gro Therapists do not and cannot give answers. Explore the true nature of the therapeutic relationship, and realize that the guru is no Buddha. He is just another human struggling. Understanding the shape of your own personal ills will lead you on your journey to recovery. Sheldon Kopp has a realistic approach to altering one's destiny and accepting the responsibility that grows with freedom.

30 review for If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him: The Pilgrimage Of Psychotherapy Patients

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    When I started the book, I felt this guy has something new to say, or may be something new about Zen, as the title was confluence of zen and psychotherapy. But it turned out it was not about zen. The book captures the essence of therapist-client as a parallel journey of two human beings in a relationship dependent upon the ability of both to become careful (full of care) for the other while traveling through metaphors, symbols, sagas and myths, each telling their stories along the way. This book When I started the book, I felt this guy has something new to say, or may be something new about Zen, as the title was confluence of zen and psychotherapy. But it turned out it was not about zen. The book captures the essence of therapist-client as a parallel journey of two human beings in a relationship dependent upon the ability of both to become careful (full of care) for the other while traveling through metaphors, symbols, sagas and myths, each telling their stories along the way. This book reminds us that we are all humans, that nobody has all the answers. Even a teacher or a guru or a psychotherapist is a struggling human being, just like you and me. Well it sounds depressing but in it is also implied that one is no more wiser or no less fool than anyone else. Life is a series of struggles that one has to face alone, all by himself. The book started really well. But it was the middle, part II of the book, that was full of important suggestions, revelations, and wisdom. It was 11 tales that made part II of this book. Each tale has some important message. And it is here book comes in all its glory, as everything that author wants to convey is contained in these 11 tales. There are two more parts in the book which contains nothing but author's personal accounts and revelations about himself, which are pretty depressing and no useful in any sense; and in my opinion, can be skipped. In the last pages author provides some of the most important maxims which he have stumbled upon during those 11 tales and they are as follows: 1. This is it! 2. There are no hidden meanings 3. You can't get there from here, and besides, there's no place else to go 4. We are all already dying and we'll be dead for a long time. 5. Nothing lasts! 6. There is no way of getting all you want. 7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it. 8. You only get to keep what you give away. 9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things. 10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune. 11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless. 12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning. 13. You don't really control anything. and many more. Read the book to find it out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Peas

    An old professor stood in front of our class and pointed to this book, saying, "This is what separates the therapists from the advice givers." It's also the book that lead me to define better my role as a therapist...and making VERY clear the separation with friends who know me as a "thoughful friend who happens to also be a therapist." An old professor stood in front of our class and pointed to this book, saying, "This is what separates the therapists from the advice givers." It's also the book that lead me to define better my role as a therapist...and making VERY clear the separation with friends who know me as a "thoughful friend who happens to also be a therapist."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Haider Al-Mosawi

    I picked this book up based on a recommendation from a friend. The book gives examples of different types of pilgrimage, and looks at the motives behind each, comparing them to the journey psychotherapy patients goes in their quest for peace of mind. The basic message behind the book is that you don't need a guru/teacher/psychotherapist to attain peace, since you already possess the knowledge you need and must look for meaning within rather than solutions from others. "If you meet the Buddha on the I picked this book up based on a recommendation from a friend. The book gives examples of different types of pilgrimage, and looks at the motives behind each, comparing them to the journey psychotherapy patients goes in their quest for peace of mind. The basic message behind the book is that you don't need a guru/teacher/psychotherapist to attain peace, since you already possess the knowledge you need and must look for meaning within rather than solutions from others. "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" is an expression that means you don't need to rely on a teacher for enlightenment. I found the book to be too simplistic, and it downplayed the role psychotherapists can play in helping their patients make sense of their pains. Yes, a psychotherapist can't solve a patient's problems, and the patient must do a great deal of the work to see results, but that doesn't mean that the patient can simply "look within" for answers. Many of the psychological problems people face are a result of destructive thinking. Introspection - in these cases - becomes even more destructive.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    I read this book about every three years when things are really rough. An engaging re think of psychotherapy that is a bit 60s glib in places but in others really deep and fun and makes you laugh at yourself. He sees psycho therapy as a wrestling match between the therapist and the patient in which the latter tries to force the therapist to make him better and the therapist keeps fighting this until finally the patient gives up fighting and realizes only they can heal themselves. Then the therap I read this book about every three years when things are really rough. An engaging re think of psychotherapy that is a bit 60s glib in places but in others really deep and fun and makes you laugh at yourself. He sees psycho therapy as a wrestling match between the therapist and the patient in which the latter tries to force the therapist to make him better and the therapist keeps fighting this until finally the patient gives up fighting and realizes only they can heal themselves. Then the therapist can go on a pilgrimage with the patient into themselves but is not acting as healer just companion on the journey. The process also involves giving up being special in your suffering: no one gets to be special as it usually involves being especially hurt and not noticing others hurts. As my late friend and one time therapist Andra told me: 'I looked at the small print in your contract and suffering is not an essential part of the deal; its largely optional, Ed'

  5. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I was one of the several who picked this up after it was mentioned on the television show "Fringe" as being the favorite book of one of the main characters. I have no background in psychology and have never been in therapy, but can say it was well worth the 2 month wait for a battered paperback to come in through interlibrary loan. Full of fantastic quotes, interspersed with narrative (which occasionally meanders a bit -- though staying true to the nature of the book), I'll agree with another rev I was one of the several who picked this up after it was mentioned on the television show "Fringe" as being the favorite book of one of the main characters. I have no background in psychology and have never been in therapy, but can say it was well worth the 2 month wait for a battered paperback to come in through interlibrary loan. Full of fantastic quotes, interspersed with narrative (which occasionally meanders a bit -- though staying true to the nature of the book), I'll agree with another reviewer and say "take what you can and discard the rest." Despite being somewhat dated in parts (being written 40 years ago, this is expected) and containing some disturbing content, there's a lot to be taken from here. I'll likely buy my own copy to re-read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nikunj

    If I Meet Sheldon B. Kopp on the Road, I will Kill Him! That's what I thought when I was halfway through the If You Meet the Buddha on the Road Kill Him. Towards the end though it completely changed my perspective. Don't be biased like I was after seeing the "The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients" in the title and the continuous mention of "in therapy" throughout the book. "The most important things that each man must learn no one can teach him. Once he accepts this disappointment, he will be If I Meet Sheldon B. Kopp on the Road, I will Kill Him! That's what I thought when I was halfway through the If You Meet the Buddha on the Road Kill Him. Towards the end though it completely changed my perspective. Don't be biased like I was after seeing the "The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients" in the title and the continuous mention of "in therapy" throughout the book. "The most important things that each man must learn no one can teach him. Once he accepts this disappointment, he will be able to stop depending on the therapist, the guru who turns out to be just another struggling human being." This is what is written at the back of the book and is emphasized throughout as well. But the message doesn't ends here and you end up knowing or rather remembering, like a forgotten dream, much more than you thought. The book is divided into four parts which I will not mention. The journey was rewarding and I just loved Part III and Part IV. Writings and tales have been included to give a fresh perspective to the book but there lies its folly as it has become rather a confused mixture and that's why Part II tends to be the weakest. But the author draws from his personal experiences as well and this is what makes this book so realistically honest. In all a must read, for towards the end you will find though you have learnt nothing new you were not aware of already. The only point being here "you were not aware of it".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nj

    Wow, I first read this 28 years ago! WOW. I had been in therapy for 6 yrs at that point, and my first emotion was embarassment. When he described the initial stages of the a new patient starting in therapy, I thought, "Oh, god, you mean EVERYONE does that?!?! ARRGGHH!!" Even as I was laughing. To this day, I remember and quote lines from the Eschatological Laundry list. For someone in the working world (and ain't we all), one of the most critical and useful (however shocking I found it initially) Wow, I first read this 28 years ago! WOW. I had been in therapy for 6 yrs at that point, and my first emotion was embarassment. When he described the initial stages of the a new patient starting in therapy, I thought, "Oh, god, you mean EVERYONE does that?!?! ARRGGHH!!" Even as I was laughing. To this day, I remember and quote lines from the Eschatological Laundry list. For someone in the working world (and ain't we all), one of the most critical and useful (however shocking I found it initially) is "All decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data." So many times, I remember that. I've also found that a person's initial response to that list tells me a lot about whether we are compatible. If they say something like, "Oh, that's so negative!" then we're probably not going to be on the same wavelength very often.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Doug, wise friend from The Village Bookstore and Writers Group, recommended this book to me. It's interesting and thought-provoking. Kopp compares psychotherapy to a spiritual journey, and by the end of the book, I knew it was just that. He takes seveal classic books and shows us the pilgrim's path and compares them to different aspects of therapy and the therapeutic relationship. I love the author's honesty and openness, sharing his own life and struggles. When I saw the title, I thought, why w Doug, wise friend from The Village Bookstore and Writers Group, recommended this book to me. It's interesting and thought-provoking. Kopp compares psychotherapy to a spiritual journey, and by the end of the book, I knew it was just that. He takes seveal classic books and shows us the pilgrim's path and compares them to different aspects of therapy and the therapeutic relationship. I love the author's honesty and openness, sharing his own life and struggles. When I saw the title, I thought, why would anyone want to kill Buddha? But the main premise of the book is that one does not need a guru or a master of any kind. A therapist or teacher can be a fellow traveler, one more experienced, that can help us. But an adult can't be another adult's diciple. I really got a lot out of this book. I wish, though, that Kopp would have addressed the whole subject of the loss of the relationship when therapy ends. He talks about it ending, like ok, you're done, don't need it anymore. What about the grief that comes with losing this person you've had this amazing, intimate relationship, sometimes for years, with? I don't want to be a diciple or a follower, that seems to be the opposite reason of why I'm in therapy. But the loss of the support and insight and the presence of that person in the patient's life was never really addressed. That would be the one thing lacking in this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Eckert

    This book is a good therapy session for the atheist/agnostic who loves to deal with the ‘big questions’ inside their head, or is too poor to see a psychologist. I would not rule out that a religious person could get a lot of this book, as I’m sure they could. However, I think those with literal interpretations of holy books would have a hard time with what Dr. Kopp recognizes as the first step in any patient’s pilgrimage: there is no point to anything, and this world is all that we have. If You S This book is a good therapy session for the atheist/agnostic who loves to deal with the ‘big questions’ inside their head, or is too poor to see a psychologist. I would not rule out that a religious person could get a lot of this book, as I’m sure they could. However, I think those with literal interpretations of holy books would have a hard time with what Dr. Kopp recognizes as the first step in any patient’s pilgrimage: there is no point to anything, and this world is all that we have. If You See the Buddha On The Road, Kill Him! (hereafter referred to as ‘this book’) is a multi-layered book about Dr. Sheldon B. Kopp’s experience in psychotherapy, specifically what he sees as the pilgrimage of every patient that comes to him. Interestingly enough, his goal with his patients is to get them to the point that they realize they don’t need a guru. Each person is his own judge of what is best, so any meaning that comes from outside of himself should not be trusted (hence the attention-grabbing title of the book). In the first part of the book, Kopp lays the foundation of his goals for his patients. As already mentioned, this includes showing them that they are their own guru. But Kopp says that another important part of this is for the psychotherapist to not act like a guru. Many patients become frustrated by this, wanting instead a quick, professional answer to their problems. Kopp also maintains that the psychotherapist should be a fellow pilgrim by growing along with the patient, and sharing one’s experience when prompted by the patient. The second part of the book describes the individual components of a pilgrimage and explains each by relating the concept to classic literature such as Siddhartha, Don Quixote, Canterbury Tales, Allen Ginsburg, and others. This was a great approach for me, fiction lover that I am. However, I also thought it was a great way to explain difficult concepts by way of metaphor. In these sections Kopp tackles subjects like the quest for love, the quest for power, and the quest for meaning. One of my favorite lessons from these sections was that though Kopp recognizes life as ultimately meaningless, he still prefers someone like the character of Don Quixote who imbues his life with meaning. If I had any criticism of these sections, it would be that his recaps of the classic literature sometimes go on too long. However, his analysis of these stories were still fascinating to read, and in the end I really didn’t mind them. The last part of the book shares some specific experiences from Kopp’s psychotherapy career, and also a few personal reflections. His experience with counseling prisoners was particularly striking, as it shows how sometimes the more abrasive a man is on the outside, the more troubled he is on the inside. It reveals how hard it is for men to admit something can get to them, and it’s amazing to see the effect s childhood can have later in life. Of his personal life, Kopp’s bout with brain surgery (and his ensuing depression and hostility) makes the teachings of the book ring with authenticity. Also interesting was Kopp’s analysis of how each generation of young adults (he was a ‘hipster’ in the 40’s) leaves traces of their legacy, and in a sense teaches us all something. I often found instances of myself in between the pages of the book. The most memorable instance was when Kopp relates an experience with a patient who had himself so figured out and self-analyzed that he left no room for any other possibility. The reason I read this book was that someone handed me copied pages of the last part of this book, Kopp’s famous Eschatological Laundry List because my story “Missionary” reminded them of this book. If you don’t read the book, at least check out the Eschatological Laundry List below and you’ll get the gist of what this books is about. An Eschatological Laundry List A Partial Register of the 927 Eternal Truths 1. This is it. 2. There are no hidden meanings. 3. You can't get there from here, and besides there is no place to go. 4. We are already dying, and we'll be dead a long time. 5. Nothing lasts! 6. There is no way of getting all you want. 7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it. 8. You only get to keep what you give away. 9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things. 10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there's no compensation for misfortune. 11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless. 12. It's a random universe to which we bring meaning. 13. You really don't control anything. 14. You can't make anyone love you. 15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else. 16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable. 17. There are no great men. 18. If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some way. 19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends. (yes, you too, and most certainly myself.) 20. All evil is potentially vitality in need of transformation. 21. All of you is worth something if you will only own it. 22. Progress is an illusion. 23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems. 24. Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution. 25. Childhood is a nightmare. 26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up. 27. Each of us is ultimately alone. 28. The most important things each man must do for himself. 29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps. 30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that's all there is. 31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it. 32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge. 33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data. 34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do. 35. No excuses will be accepted. 36. You can run, but you can't hide. 37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats. 38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness. 39. The only victory lies is in surrender to oneself. 40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self. 41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences. 42. What do you know for sure...anyway? 43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I am one of the people to read this book because of it being mentioned in the TV series "The Fringe". It was recommended reading to understand the relationship between Peter and Walter. I have never read a book on Psychology (the voices in my head had up until now convinced me I didn't need to) and I didn't expect to enjoy this or understand what was going on. I actually did enjoy this, I think I even understand the reason it was mentioned in the TV series, the journey is not just for the patien I am one of the people to read this book because of it being mentioned in the TV series "The Fringe". It was recommended reading to understand the relationship between Peter and Walter. I have never read a book on Psychology (the voices in my head had up until now convinced me I didn't need to) and I didn't expect to enjoy this or understand what was going on. I actually did enjoy this, I think I even understand the reason it was mentioned in the TV series, the journey is not just for the patient it is for the psychologist too. If Sheldon B. Kopp had been born 10 years later he would have fit right in with the beat generation, his general outlook on life fits right in with them. He comes across in this book as very honest, He talks about a breakdown he had after an operation, he writes about his early patients and the journey had to being able to help them better. This book is about taking a journey/pilgrimage, doing something life changing, i would recommend this to anybody who has been on one or is planning too, it may give you a bit of insight. My favourite part of the book is the section where he is talking about literature which features some kind of journey, from the canterbury tales to Dante's inferno it gives you a look at a side of these stories you might never have considered before. My only wish (and this is why it only gets 4*) is that he never covered anything by Jack kerouac, the writer who has been on so many journeys, it would have been interesting to see what he thought of that. I really enjoyed this book and glad I gave it a chance. Blog post is here> https://felcherman.wordpress.com/2018...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fabrizio

    I rarely say it, but I think this is an absolute must-read. Some views are outdates, ok, but if you go beyond those few limits, this is the best thing you can read on the meaning (or rather on the lack of meaning) of life, and on the journey of the pilgrimage/human being trough it. The style is spontaneous and authentic, and the ideas expressed contain great wisdom. Do yourself a favor and read it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Psychotherapist Kopp wrote this book in 1972, but it still works today. This book is a wonderful read for anyone who wonders, worries or agonizes about the meaning of life, and whether they're doing it "right." Whether giving or receiving therapy, this book reminds us that we are all humans -- nobody has all the answers. The eschatological laundry list (which I've seen roaming around the web, but never attributed to Kopp) has become a classic. 1. This is it! 2. There are no hidden meanings 3. You Psychotherapist Kopp wrote this book in 1972, but it still works today. This book is a wonderful read for anyone who wonders, worries or agonizes about the meaning of life, and whether they're doing it "right." Whether giving or receiving therapy, this book reminds us that we are all humans -- nobody has all the answers. The eschatological laundry list (which I've seen roaming around the web, but never attributed to Kopp) has become a classic. 1. This is it! 2. There are no hidden meanings 3. You can't get there from here, and besides, there's no place else to go 4. We are all already dying and we'll be dead for a long time. 5. Nothing lasts! 6. There is no way of getting all you want. 7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it. 8. You only get to keep what you give away. 9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things. 10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune. 11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless. 12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning. 13. You don't really control anything. 14. You can't make someone love you. I'll stop there -- there's more in the book, and if you find the list discouraging, you need to read the book. If you find the words encouraging, you need to read the book. Add it to your list of books to give friends who are feeling glum and hopeless. Use it as a group discussion book! After reading this (at different stages in my life), I still find it centering and soothing. A good addition to the self-help library, along with The Road Less Traveled.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    2019: I think about this book all the time and was glad to find it held up beautifully upon a reread. Here are a few passages that stood out to me this time around: You cannot get out of a trap unless you first get into it. But he finds, as we all do, that you can't make anyone love you. You just have to reveal who you are and take your chances. It is enough if a man accepts his freedom, takes his best shot, does what he can, faces the consequences of his acts, and makes no excuses. It may not be fa 2019: I think about this book all the time and was glad to find it held up beautifully upon a reread. Here are a few passages that stood out to me this time around: You cannot get out of a trap unless you first get into it. But he finds, as we all do, that you can't make anyone love you. You just have to reveal who you are and take your chances. It is enough if a man accepts his freedom, takes his best shot, does what he can, faces the consequences of his acts, and makes no excuses. It may not be fair that a man gets to have total responsibility for his own life without total control over it, but it seems to me that, for good or for bad, that's just the way it is. 2014: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him surprised me by how delightful and relevant it still is. While the books is ostensibly about the journey of patients as they attend psychotherapy, it reads more like a mixture of memoir, mythology, and philosophy. Despite a little 1960s corniness, Kopp's way of approaching life's challenges is really practical and meaningful. Even though I heard about this book from the TV show Fringe, its overall message reminded me a lot another of my favorite shows, Angel: "As we all soon must die, in a way nothing matters. We might as well do what we can to bring our own meaning to our lives." Kopp's laundry list is also pretty great.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matt M.

    Fantastic book for anybody in therapy. Anybody that tells you they have all the answers is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The whole book is worth the axioms at the end. Enjoy! Fantastic book for anybody in therapy. Anybody that tells you they have all the answers is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The whole book is worth the axioms at the end. Enjoy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christina Vourcos

    I haven't read it yet, but I'm planning to because a character in the tv show Fringe said it was his favorite book. So I have to know what it's about. I haven't read it yet, but I'm planning to because a character in the tv show Fringe said it was his favorite book. So I have to know what it's about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Conor Maguire

    Kopp draws on world myths and literary classics to chart a metaphor of the psychotherapist-patient relation as a pilgrimage. Erudite, very self-conscious.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    I went into reading this book with an expectation that I knew what to expect. What I got out of the book was far more than I believed. Along with the realization that I had no idea what I was thinking, I found parts pissed me off, parts made me happy, parts made me introspective, and other parts made me cry. At no point did I feel I was wasting my time reading the book. While some of the material is definitely dated, and my copy had been updated to include both genders (at certain points), I fel I went into reading this book with an expectation that I knew what to expect. What I got out of the book was far more than I believed. Along with the realization that I had no idea what I was thinking, I found parts pissed me off, parts made me happy, parts made me introspective, and other parts made me cry. At no point did I feel I was wasting my time reading the book. While some of the material is definitely dated, and my copy had been updated to include both genders (at certain points), I felt that the lessons I learned and what I'm taking away from the book far outweigh the few slights. This is the kind of man I wish I could have known, even if only for a brief conversation standing in line to buy coffee someplace.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tg

    This is a very thoughtful book, well written, deep and profound--The title means don't search for truths entirely outside of yourself. The author's theme is to consider your life a Pilgrimage where there are no easy or certain answers. "Life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved" Scott Peck Mr. Kopp makes you dig deep within, and to wrestle with Paradoxes. He uses literature from the western and oriental classics to help guide you.. He is a Psychoanalyst and a Medical Doctor by back This is a very thoughtful book, well written, deep and profound--The title means don't search for truths entirely outside of yourself. The author's theme is to consider your life a Pilgrimage where there are no easy or certain answers. "Life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved" Scott Peck Mr. Kopp makes you dig deep within, and to wrestle with Paradoxes. He uses literature from the western and oriental classics to help guide you.. He is a Psychoanalyst and a Medical Doctor by background. I dip into this book yearly and find something deep and profound. I have dabbled with this book for 20 years. This is a powerful book with depth and meaning

  19. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu Inamdar

    The path of growth is fraught with obstacles, and the exploration of psychotherapy is a way to begin walking along the path. Dr. Sheldon Kopp combines his vast experience of psychotherapy with myths and works of fiction as well as the works of other psychologists to weave a compelling book that charts the beginning of the path. The practicality of the book, wherein Dr. Kopp recounts stories of various patients, is complemented by the honesty of the author, who freely shares his mistakes and perso The path of growth is fraught with obstacles, and the exploration of psychotherapy is a way to begin walking along the path. Dr. Sheldon Kopp combines his vast experience of psychotherapy with myths and works of fiction as well as the works of other psychologists to weave a compelling book that charts the beginning of the path. The practicality of the book, wherein Dr. Kopp recounts stories of various patients, is complemented by the honesty of the author, who freely shares his mistakes and personal failings along the way. The image of a psychotherapist as the perfected man is broken, and in the process, the possibility of anyone being perfect is broken as well. The book addresses the complexities of psychotherapy without pedantry, using a mix of fiction and real-life experience to delve into the topic. The book falls short in some aspects, particularly when it comes to some outdated principles of psychology. However, these can perhaps be excused for being a function of the time when the book was written. In summary, the book is one that tries its best to simplify complexities into digestible chunks with the aid of stories, providing a thought-provoking experience along the way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wiebke (1book1review)

    This actually surprised me how much I liked it. It reads very easily despite being solely addressed to men. I liked the tone of the book as well as the eternal truths and tales of pilgrimage and how that all related to life and therapy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Milkchai

    All in all this was a decent, thought-provoking read. However it did leave me feeling the strong and rather conflicting presence of the author. At times he comes off as an arrogant know it all, who claims insights that are a least a bit contrived. He also clearly loves talking about himself, even when he is telling a story about someone else. He does, more toward the end of the book, show more vulnerability and honesty, perhaps enough to look past the otherwise somewhat negative vibe he creates. All in all this was a decent, thought-provoking read. However it did leave me feeling the strong and rather conflicting presence of the author. At times he comes off as an arrogant know it all, who claims insights that are a least a bit contrived. He also clearly loves talking about himself, even when he is telling a story about someone else. He does, more toward the end of the book, show more vulnerability and honesty, perhaps enough to look past the otherwise somewhat negative vibe he creates. His main complaint against therapy is that most people go into the situation expecting their therapist to fix them, and/or their problems. There is far more to be gained once one finally understands the fact that if there is work to be done, they have to do it themselves. One must be prepared to take a hard honest look at their own part in creating their life situations. The text often dates itself (the authors casual references to the merits of a good beating to correct a disruptive child for instance) and at times the author comes across as downright narcissistic. Still, Kopp does encourage a path of personal responsibility, and ownership of your part in creating your life as it is. If you can get past the author himself, there is a lot to be gained from the ideas he presents. Worth a read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This book is so full of 1970s buzzwords — 'groovy', 'cosmic', saying 'pilgrimage' when you mean just living your life — that it reads like a heavily timestamped artifact of the past, even though the message is basically timeless: an adult should be no man's disciple. This book should really be recommended to the Coelho fanbase — they'd recognise their favourite 'spiritual' language and the gist is something they should probably hear. One thing that I found seriously disturbing though was Kopp's n This book is so full of 1970s buzzwords — 'groovy', 'cosmic', saying 'pilgrimage' when you mean just living your life — that it reads like a heavily timestamped artifact of the past, even though the message is basically timeless: an adult should be no man's disciple. This book should really be recommended to the Coelho fanbase — they'd recognise their favourite 'spiritual' language and the gist is something they should probably hear. One thing that I found seriously disturbing though was Kopp's naivety about his patients at the sex offender facility. I wonder, was his thinking common in the 70s? Did people really believe that you could psychoanalyse pedophilia and sexual violence away? That as soon as a pedo realises that he's only looking for his absent father's love or for his ice-queen mother's hugs or something, he'll be cured and ready to go and pursue healthy relationships with consenting adults? It's not hard to see why convicts whose chances of parole depend entirely on a shrink giving them an all-clear would play this game, but why would he?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jigar Brahmbhatt

    Started off well, the tales from various literature along with the psychological interpretations are interesting. I really loved the tale of Gilgamesh - it can already make a great epic film! But somewhere down the line I felt that I got what it was trying to say, and it kept saying the same thing with various illustrations. Maybe, it did put forth different ideas; but I feel this is the reason I am not cut-out to read out and out non-fiction books. Be it physics, or psychology, or paranormal mu Started off well, the tales from various literature along with the psychological interpretations are interesting. I really loved the tale of Gilgamesh - it can already make a great epic film! But somewhere down the line I felt that I got what it was trying to say, and it kept saying the same thing with various illustrations. Maybe, it did put forth different ideas; but I feel this is the reason I am not cut-out to read out and out non-fiction books. Be it physics, or psychology, or paranormal mumbo-jumbo... midway through the book I am like "alright now! I've got it. I know what it all means!" Call it laziness to go further, or a saturation of my curiosity for the subject. Coz for me the experience is like watching The Empire States Building for eight hours straight in that Warhol film! And it's entirely my fault :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Saleris

    I read this while a teenager at the request of my Father. I don't know why, since I wasn't into any "subversive" groups (at the worst, it was the Girl Scouts), but the content has really helped me as I grew up and developed an interest into alternative religion. The lack of "googly-eyes" in this field, where almost everyone who publishes a book gains an ego and expects fawning followers - they just don't impress me. I do make mistakes now and then, but I can't help but weed out "fluffy-bunny" ne I read this while a teenager at the request of my Father. I don't know why, since I wasn't into any "subversive" groups (at the worst, it was the Girl Scouts), but the content has really helped me as I grew up and developed an interest into alternative religion. The lack of "googly-eyes" in this field, where almost everyone who publishes a book gains an ego and expects fawning followers - they just don't impress me. I do make mistakes now and then, but I can't help but weed out "fluffy-bunny" new-age philosophies due to this book. Thank-you Mr. Kopp.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    Really enjoying the message, except for the author's struggle with the plight of the female. Ironically I think the stories that he adds in order to give examples or clarification are distracting from the meat of the book, I think they're just too archaic for me. --*after finishing*-- It's funny that I've had this sitting on my shelf for over three years, and I just now picked it up to read it and found so many parallels with what I'm thinking and going through presently. At times, synchronicity i Really enjoying the message, except for the author's struggle with the plight of the female. Ironically I think the stories that he adds in order to give examples or clarification are distracting from the meat of the book, I think they're just too archaic for me. --*after finishing*-- It's funny that I've had this sitting on my shelf for over three years, and I just now picked it up to read it and found so many parallels with what I'm thinking and going through presently. At times, synchronicity is glorious.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Made me not want to read any book related to therapy ever again. The last "How To:" Get on with it. I'll think I'll write a Daybook for Neurotics after this just to drive the point home... Day 1: Damn. Life Has No Meaning, Day 2 - 365: Stop Worrying About It. The following 370 pages will be filled with gibberish and illustrations by children in third world countries divorced from the explanations of the "Therapists" that seek to find meaning in the abyss. It is just 'the abyss.' You are not that Made me not want to read any book related to therapy ever again. The last "How To:" Get on with it. I'll think I'll write a Daybook for Neurotics after this just to drive the point home... Day 1: Damn. Life Has No Meaning, Day 2 - 365: Stop Worrying About It. The following 370 pages will be filled with gibberish and illustrations by children in third world countries divorced from the explanations of the "Therapists" that seek to find meaning in the abyss. It is just 'the abyss.' You are not that important. Go make yourself useful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Vest

    From the Eschatological Laundry List: some of the list that I like and believe: This is it! You only get to keep what you give away. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless You can't make anyone love you it is very hard to be an on-your-own,take-care-of -yourself...grown-up All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data And last but not the least Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again... This was a interesting read. Very glad to have had it recommend From the Eschatological Laundry List: some of the list that I like and believe: This is it! You only get to keep what you give away. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless You can't make anyone love you it is very hard to be an on-your-own,take-care-of -yourself...grown-up All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data And last but not the least Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again... This was a interesting read. Very glad to have had it recommended to me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    My professor for Intro to Counseling recommended this, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Stella Luna as his favorite books. Basically, the key to psychotherapy is that there is no key. Anyone claiming to be "the Buddha" is dangerous because one of the central points of Buddhism is that we're all buddhas, we're all seeking enlightenment. As a therapist, you can't cure anyone you can only help people cure themselves. My professor for Intro to Counseling recommended this, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Stella Luna as his favorite books. Basically, the key to psychotherapy is that there is no key. Anyone claiming to be "the Buddha" is dangerous because one of the central points of Buddhism is that we're all buddhas, we're all seeking enlightenment. As a therapist, you can't cure anyone you can only help people cure themselves.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    The first part was slow going, it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the book. I really liked part two where he uses epic tales to convey his message. Part three and four using his clinical and personal life experiences put it all together for me. Now I understand the title of the book and also need to try and remember "... our very efforts to catch hold of what we are seeking may prevent us from discovering what is already there." The first part was slow going, it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the book. I really liked part two where he uses epic tales to convey his message. Part three and four using his clinical and personal life experiences put it all together for me. Now I understand the title of the book and also need to try and remember "... our very efforts to catch hold of what we are seeking may prevent us from discovering what is already there."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ani

    I had to re-read this book, because the first time I was not paying as much attention as I should have when I was reading it. I'm so glad that I did! From this book you can learn so many things about life and how to deal with your own problems. It has helped me to overcome some of my own problems. I recommend it to anyone who feels like his/her life has lost any meaning and to people who are interested in psychology. I had to re-read this book, because the first time I was not paying as much attention as I should have when I was reading it. I'm so glad that I did! From this book you can learn so many things about life and how to deal with your own problems. It has helped me to overcome some of my own problems. I recommend it to anyone who feels like his/her life has lost any meaning and to people who are interested in psychology.

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