The Schopenhauer Cure Paper Beth Simpson-Cullor University of Tennessee at Knoxville
The Schopenhauer Cure Paper
The Schopenhauer Cure (2006), authored by Irvin Yalom, is a novel detailing the journey of a prominent psychotherapist, Julius Hertzfeld, after he discovers that he is slowly dying from a terminal illness. Faced with his own mortality, Julius begins to examine his life through his effectiveness as a therapist and his failures both in his personal and professional life. Julius also decides to make a brave decision: “live life to your fullest; and then, and only then, die” (p. 11). In his book, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (2005), Yalom details eleven therapeutic factors that he associates with group change. These therapeutic factors include: instillation of hope, universality, imparting of information, altruism, corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, development of socializing techniques, imitative behavior, interpersonal learning, group cohesiveness, catharsis and existential factors. These therapeutic factors also play a large role in the evolution of the therapeutic group in The Schopenhauer Cure. While all of the above therapeutic factors are utilized throughout the book, the use of some specific therapeutic factors drew more attention than others: universality, instillation of hope, imparting information, cohesiveness, and catharsis. An example of when the therapeutic factor universality is used in the novel is in chapters 17 and 19 during an outburst where Bonnie confronted Rebecca. Shortly after the confrontation, Bonnie and Rebecca both admit that they resent the group; Bonnie resents the group for feeling ignored and Rebecca resents the group for feeling as though she is being criticized. It is apparent, in the book that they both yearn for the same thing; that is, they both yearn for attention. Another example where the therapeutic factor, catharsis, is exhibited...