The unspoken yearning that brings people to therapy is often that of a desperate desire for happiness. Should therapists ignore this desire, interpret it or challenge it? And what does our preoccupation with happiness tell us about contemporary culture and the role of the therapist?

In this book, Emmy van Deurzen addresses the taboo subject of the moral role of psychotherapists and counselors. Asking when and why we decided that the aim of life is to be happy, she poses searching questions about the meaning of life. Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness seeks to define what a good life consists of and how therapists might help their clients to live well rather than just in search of happiness.

This text makes stimulating reading for all trainee and practicing counselors and psychotherapists, especially those interested in the existential approach.

Introduction: Happiness and Psychotherapy

Introduction: Happiness and psychotherapy

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Marcus Aurelius

Where are We Now?

We live in difficult times. Though we thought that civilization and culture would bring us ease, comfort and happiness it has turned out to be a little more complex than that. In the Northern hemisphere we are certainly more prosperous than ever before. We now have plenty of personal possessions and we consume many commodities. We can boast of a myriad of technological achievements. We know so much and we control even more. We have access to multiple and varied resources and exploit them to the hilt. Our economies are based on constant growth and expansion. Yet we ...

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