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The Schopenhauer Cure

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The Schopenhauer Cure
Alyssa K. Engblom
Winona State University

In the book The Schopenhauer Cure, Yalom portrays a group therapist, Julius, who uses a variety of group facilitation techniques in order for the group to be run effectively. The first technique Julius uses in the group is to switch the focus from content to process. “Julius intervened by using the group therapist’s most common and most effective tactic—he switched the focus from the content to the process, that is, away from the words being spoken to the nature of the relationship of the interacting parties” (Yalom, 2005, p. 132). During this scenario, Bonnie is feeling insecure about herself and confronts Rebecca about “preening” for the men in the group. Phillip is still new to the group, and the other members are not too sure what to think of him yet. In order for the group to be refocused, Julius tells everyone to “take a step back…and to try to understand what’s happening. Let me first put out this question to all of you: what do you see going on in the relationship between Bonnie and Rebecca?” (Yalom, 2005, p.132). Julius does not want everyone to focus solely on what Bonnie and Rebecca are saying to each other, but rather on their relationship with each other.

The second technique Julius uses is to have group members focus on the “Here and Now.” An off-shoot of the Here and Now technique is to have members of the group talk directly to each other, instead of talking about them. Julius “had done what the good group therapist should do: he had translated one of his patient’s central issues into the here-and-now, where it could be explored firsthand. It was always more productive to focus on the here-and-now than to work on the patient’s reconstructions of an event from the past or from current outside life” (Yalom, 2005, p. 158). During this group meeting, Julius is trying to get to the root of why Bonnie feels that everyone else is more valuable or more important to the group than...