Act of Living
‘Tallis writes with clarity and wit’ Sebastian Faulks
Science, technology and western liberal democracy have all had a dramatic impact on our quality of life. Compared to previous generations, we have unprecedented access to information, increased personal freedom, more material comforts and more possessions. Yet, even before the shock of Covid-19, more people than ever before were reporting being depressed, anxious or unfulfilled. As our material circumstances become easier, life seems to get harder. Why should this be? Shelves sag under the weight of self-help manuals and the internet is awash with the advice of role-models and celebrity gurus; however, to what extent can these sources be expected to supply meaningful, practical answers – the kind of answers relevant to sceptical individuals living in a modern, technologically advanced culture?
For over a hundred years, psychotherapists have been developing and refining models of the human mind. They have endeavoured to alleviate distress and they have offered help to people who want to make better life choices. Although the clinical provenance of psychotherapy is important, the legacy of psychotherapy has much wider relevance. It can offer original perspectives on the big questions usually entrusted to philosophers and representative of faith: Who am I? Why am I here? How should I live?
In this compelling and important book, the principal contributions of the outstanding figures associated with the practice of psychotherapy are explained: from Freud to Ellis, Jung to Laing, Adler to Hayes. Viewed as a single, cohesive intellectual tradition, Frank Tallis argues that psychotherapeutic thinking is an immensely valuable and underexploited resource.