Reflections on The Schopenhauer Cure
by Irvin D. Yalom
The Schopenhauer Cure is a novel about the inner workings of a group therapy process. As the story begins to unfold, Julius Hertzfeld, a seasoned therapist, has received a diagnosis of terminal melanoma and is compelled to invite a former client named Philip to join his weekly group. It is a book rich with psychological and philosophical reflections about the circle of life, an appropriate theme for a novel about group therapy since group therapy mirrors life…the cycle of group, its dynamics, the termination of the group process, and the personal growth that can be multiplied through the members’ ongoing circles of influence when the group disbands.
I found it rather ironic that the theme of The Schopenhauer Cure was death and dying. For the past couple of years the subject of death has been weighing more heavily on my mind. Heading towards sixty is sobering in and of itself, for sure. Life no longer stretches ahead indefinitely. “Seen from the standpoint of youth, life is an endlessly long future; from that of old age it resembles a very brief past.” (Yalom, quoting Schopenhauer in Chapter 34.) Continue reading