What Am I Reading Now – February 2022

I often read a few things in parallel. Currently it is:

  • Irvin D. Yalom & Ginny Elkin: Every Day Gets a Little Closer: A Twice-Told Therapy – an interesting account of therapy sessions recollected both by the therapist and the client. I’m about 1/3 through with the book. Reads easy, but I have to make stops to process the process that is happening there. Yalom has been always associating first with the existential therapy for me.
  • Oliver Sacks: Awakenings – collection of cases of how people who were victims of the 1920s encephalitis lethargica epidemic were treated with the new drug at the time – L-DOPA. Gives an insight about the specifics of the perception of time among people with Parkinsonism and many other things.
  • Michel Foucault: Maladie mentale et personnalit√© – I’m reading it in Russian. But interestingly intersects with what Oliver Sacks writes about the influence of the institution on the personality. I’m half way through the book and made quite a few notes, and also noted quite a few other books that I would like to read. One of them has already arrived: R.D.Laing: The Divided Self.
  • M.I.Finley: The World of Odysseus – I’ve been always fascinated by the ancient history, but also the adventure novels – I’ve read Homer’s Odyssey, and then R.Halliburton’s The Glorious Adventure – an almost contemporary try to revisit all the places Odyssey went. Am curious to see what the historian will tell me about it

  • Henry H. Hart: Venetian Adventurer: Being an Account of the Life and Times and of the Book of Messer Marco Polo – reading it in Russian. Another interesting travelling around character and the world around him ūüôā

Books in my life

Depression: Notes on Life

Currently reading various materials on depression and EA (existential analysis) approach is very life affirming.

Depression is defined as a blockage on the level of Second Fundamental Motivation, when it becomes impossible to see and experience the value of life, or fundamental value.

Life is then considered as an ability to build and keep relationship with “being here”.

Depression the can be viewed as complicated relationships with life.

Life is young, vigorous, connected with nature and body.

When we consider ‘life’, then it is dynamic and strong images, filled with desire. Depression on the other hand, when a person can not plug into life, enter into life, then he/she misses it, is not part of it.

What is life for me? How are we part of our own lives? How do we enter it?

Life – means to relate to what is. Life – as a force, connection to movement and change. Life brings us to relation.

The inner experience of life strengthens the attitude “I like to enter life and be in relation with it”. It makes it possible to understand a deeper level of “the value of life as it is”  – the fundamental value, how it is showing up in own biography and biographies of other people.

A few questions to consider:

“Do I like to live?”

“How I am here? How this relatedness impacts me?”


These are notes based on the article:

Existential Analysis of Depression. Origin, understanding and phenomenological approach to treatment by Alfried Längle.

Published in Moskowskij psichoterapewtitscheskij zhurnal 48, 1, 2006, 53-82


Should you have complicated relationships with life and would like to strengthen your subjective “like to live” – get in touch – I have some availability currently.

Info on my approach.

Talk: Practising Existential Therapy by Ernesto Spinelli

As part of the Continuing Professional Development I have joined the talk by Ernesto Spinelli “Practising Existential Therapy”. Overall it was very refreshing to be referred to the roots – therapia:

“Therapy in its original meaning tries to express the idea of the attempt to stand beside the other”.


Some notes to myself:

  • “The client is somebody who both wants to change, and wants to remain the same… then the existential therapist needs to choose himself or herself themselves to both those positions to the client desire to be different, and the clients desire to remain the same, and treat them as having equal validity equal value”
  • “The client is always right. And the therapist has no way of knowing initially, what the client is expressing.”
  • To describe something is to change it.
  • “Every problem presented by the client is also an attempt at a solution”.
  • “Changing any part or any aspect of a person alters the whole person, and in ways that are entirely unpredictable”.

A very important part of therapy – endings, was touched upon as well in the seminar. I feel like this topic is rarely addressed somehow.

And the final note, an analogy between the therapist and Dr.Watson:

“My sense of existential therapy is that it seems to remind us as therapists tried to be the best kind of Watson, that you can possibly try to be that Watson who really excites and invigorates and illuminates so that the wonderful detecting work that Holmes can do will be done.”

Ernesto Spinelli